LAKE CHARLES, La. - Defense has been the calling card of the rv SFA volleyball team throughout most of the 2019 season thus far, but Saturday afternoon the Ladyjacks showed folks just how potent their offense can be when operating at a high level.
Hitting .327 - the best mark in a Southland Conference regular season match in one year - the Ladyjacks received 11 kills from senior Corin Evans and five or more from four other players en route to a 3-0 victory at McNeese.
Set one | rv SFA 25, McNeese 15
• Three of the four points of the opening set went to the Cowgirls, but the Ladyjacks took control shortly thereafter.
• Leading a 3-0 run that put SFA in front for good, Daron contributed a solo rejection and her first kill of the afternoon to make matters 7-5.
• Another sizable SFA run - this one of the 9-3 variety - featured service aces from Daron and Margaret Dean as well as three of the Ladyjacks' five blocks in the set. Thanks to their strong combination of service and defense, SFA's lead increased to 16-10.
• Evans powered another SFA run - this one a 7-1 one - with two terminations while Maddie Miller added yet another service ace which made matters 23-13.
• Defense helped SFA get the job done in the opening frame as the Ladyjacks held the Cowgirls to an attacking clip of only .057.
Set two | rv SFA 25, McNeese 15
• Much like what happened Thursday night in Beaumont, Texas, SFA took control of the middle frame early on.
• Coming out and showing no mercy, the Ladyjacks hit the Cowgirls with a 16-5 run to open the set. Six players generated terminations through that surge with Daron and Evans posting three each through that span.
• McNeese managed to make things interesting by outscoring SFA 8-4 to cut the Ladyjacks' once-sizable lead down to 20-13. Alexis Lambert and Keegan Nelms hammered home two kills apiece during that stretch before the Ladyjacks put the home team away.
• Daron, Evans and Hollas pounded down terminations through SFA's 5-2 run to end the set.
• SFA's efficiency on offense increased by a substantial margin as the Ladyjacks hit .310 in the set.
Set three | rv SFA 25, McNeese 16
• More offense - kills by Evans, Hollas and Mitchell, to be precise - powered SFA's 5-2 run to begin the final set.
• McNeese never led in the frame as the Ladyjacks increased their lead to 13-7 with an 8-3 scoring surge. SFA's offense operated at its most efficient in the final frame and the last seven points of SFA's run were kills. Ariana Pagan and Xariah Williams posted two apiece through that surge.
• The Ladyjacks' lead increased to double-digits after Dean finished a 3-1 run with her final kill of the match which made the score 23-13.
• Though the Cowgirls exceeded the .100 attack percentage mark in the set by hitting .125, they couldn't touch SFA's level of efficiency. The Ladyjacks hit .389, posting 18 kills against just four errors to complete the sweep.
Key performers/statistics of note
• Fueling the Ladyjacks' potent offense was Evans and her match-best 11 kills. The senior put the finishing touches on her seventh double-double of the season by scooping up a match-high 13 digs.
• Dean matched Evans for match-high dig honors and completed a double-double of her own with 14 assists.
• Hollas neared triple-double territory once again, posting eight kills, 20 assists and nine digs to go along with a trio of blocks.
• Daron also added eight kills and hit a match-best .700 to go along with a trio of rejections.
• Mitchell continued to be a force in the front row, turning in a match-high six blocks to lead the Ladyjacks' nine-block afternoon.
• For McNeese, Allison Lippert produced eight of the team's 32 kills.
• The sweep was SFA's seventh in a row - a nation-leading streak - and the Ladyjacks have now win their last 22 sets which is tied with top-ranked Baylor for the longest streak in all of NCAA Division I volleyball.
• SFA has now won 21 consecutive Southland Conference regular season matches dating back to the 2017.
Coming up next
• Just two more matches in the state of Louisiana remain on the Ladyjacks' schedule and the first of those showdowns will take place Wednesday night in the Big Easy. At 6:30 p.m., SFA heads to New Orleans to face off against the Privateers at the Health & Human Performance Center in another Southland Conference bout.
Hear it from Humphreys
SFA head coach Debbie Humphreys on the win | "We were sharper with our game plan than we were Thursday night in Beaumont. We did some good things in that match Thursday night but we just weren't real sharp with it. That's what we spent yesterday at practice doing - making a commitment to do everything at a higher level. Once we hit the court this morning, we were in a good place mentally and we played a very good match as a result."
On the play of Danae Daron | "Certainly Danae has the experience and the knowledge of what it takes to get the job done. She's a very high energy player and she has a lot of things going for her on both offense and defense. This week has been a great one for her and she draws so much attention from our opponent that our other players are really able to take advantage."
On Saturday's game plan | "What it boiled down to was us playing at a high level. We did that and McNeese had no answer. We knew Keegan Nelms was going to get a lot of balls, so if McNeese was going to give us a run for our money we we wanted to have someone else have come out and try to beat us. We knew their right sides were going to be very involved and I thought we did a good job defending what they were doing. Eventually they went to their bench to try and get something rolling, but we had just been executing at such a high level that it did not matter."
On SFA's blocking numbers | "It's funny - we blocked three balls per set and I didn't think really think we blocked all that many in the moment. We averaged three blocks per set in this one, and that says something about how solid our blocking has been to produce numbers like that and think, 'we can do more.'"