From SFA Athletics
MONROE, La. - Prior to the start of their road match at Louisiana-Monroe Wednesday evening, Stephen F. Austin head volleyball coach Debbie Humphreys informed her team that all she wanted for her birthday - which also happened to be on Wednesday - was a win.
Behind a strong, multi-pronged offensive attack, the Ladyjacks were able to make sure Humphreys got her wish.
Haley Coleman racked up a match-best 13 kills and completed her bid for a double-double by diving for a team-high 13 as the Ladyjacks secured their first three-set victory of 2017 by hammering ULM 3-0 at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
In all, three Ladyjacks totaled six or more kills including junior Makenzee Hanna who added three block assists while continuing her torrid start from the service line by adding two of the team's seven service aces. Service pressure from every Ladyjack on the court was an added element of the team's success as sophomore Ann Hollas racked up three aces to go along with her team-best 16 assists.
Thanks to a great defensive effort by SFA, Louisiana-Monroe hit only .034 during the match and remains winless in 2017. With the sweep, the Ladyjacks also kept the Warhawks from winning a set for the first time in the season.
An aggressive service game allowed SFA to set the tone right from the opening serve. Hollas launched two of her three aces while Hanna added a pair of terminations as part of a 6-1 Ladyjack run to lead things off. That initial scoring spree allowed SFA to maintain a lead as high as four points before ULM rattled off three consecutive points culminating with a kill from Tara Caruthers that trimmed the Ladyjacks' edge to 17-14.
From there, however, Corin Evans dropped in a kill and Hanna followed with a service ace to push SFA's lead back to five. The Ladyjacks' lead never dipped below four points the rest of the way.
SFA drilled the Warhawks with another sizable run - this one of the 12-4 variety - to start the penultimate frame. Through that run, six SFA players drove down kills and senior Lexus Cain contributed her lone service aces of the night.
A kill from Evans made matters 19-8, pushing the Ladyjacks' already sizable edge into double-digits before the one-sided frame came to an end.
Louisiana-Monroe threatened for the only time in the match with a 4-0 run that erased SFA's 3-0 lead to begin the final frame. Trailing the Warhawks by one, SFA watched Louisiana-Monroe commit back-to-back attack errors which started a 5-0 Ladyjack run that culminated with one of Peyton Redmond's two kills on the night.
That surge ensured the Ladyjacks would never trail again. Although the Warhawks did manage to reel off four points to knot matters at eight points each, SFA broke the tie with a 4-0 run to stay ahead the rest of the way.
Evans joined Coleman in double-digit dig territory by scooping up 11 while junior McKenzie Brewer dished out 14 assists while splitting time in the set-up department with Hollas.
With their short stay in Louisiana now in the books, SFA maintains an eastward trajectory as it heads to Starkville, Miss., for a four-match weekend. One of five participants in the Mississippi State Bulldog Invitational, SFA is set to take on South Florida (10:00 a.m.) and Grambling State (5:00 p.m.) on Friday during the tournament's first day.