(AGENPARL) – MONROE (LOUISIANA), gio 19 novembre 2020
FOLEY, Ala. – Playing its first conference tournament match in 15 years, the ULM volleyball team fell to the top seed from the Sun Belt Conference West Division, Texas State, 3-0 in the first match of Pool C play at the Foley Sports Complex.
The Bobcats won 25-18, 25-14, 25-17 to move to 1-0 in Pool C. ULM must defeat South Alabama at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to have any chance of advancing out of pool play to the Sun Belt Conference Championship semifinals.
“Today, the ULM volleyball program embarked into new territories: post-season play,” ULM head volleyball coach Charlie Olson said. “There were moments of spark and greatness, yet moments of melancholy. We’re a team who won’t back down to any challenge, yet we will still claw our way to stay in the match.”
The Warhawks are playing without senior Ina Gosen, who is second on the team in kills and points and lost senior Haley Coulter early in the first set against Texas State due to injury. Coulter leads the team in kills and points and is second on the team in digs.
Texas State took control early in the first set. The Bobcats used a 5-1 spurt to claim a 5-3 lead. The Warhawks kept it close for a little bit, keeping the gap at two at 8-6 on a kill by senior Alix Christie and at 9-7 on a kill by junior Cali Assaley. Texas State gained separation with a 6-0 run to go up 15-7. ULM pulled as close as five down the stretch of the set at 23-18 on a kill by Assaley, but the Bobcats secured the final two points of the set to win 25-18.
In the second set, ULM scored the first three points off kills by Assaley and sophomore Kathryn Raschilla and an ace by Assaley. The Warhawks led 5-2 before Texas State used a 5-0 run to take the lead at 7-5. A service error brought ULM back within a point, but the Bobcats rattled off four straight points for an 11-6 lead, forcing a Warhawk timeout. Out of the timeout, Assaley’s kill cut the gap to four at 11-7. Texas State led by as much as six before back-to-back points on a kill by Assaley and an error brought ULM back within four at 15-11. ULM trailed 18-13 when the Bobcats took control, scoring the next five points and seven of the next eight points to take the set, 25-14.
Texas State capped off the match in the third set. ULM again built an early lead, using a 4-0 run to lead 6-3 on another kill by Assaley. The Bobcats roared back, scoring eight of the next nine points to take an 11-7 edge. The Warhawks pulled within two at 11-9 on back-to-back kills by Assaley, but Texas State added four straight points to push the lead to 15-9. ULM drew back within four at 16-12 on a kill by Raschilla, but again Texas State had an answer with three straight points for the 19-12 lead. The Warhawks cut the deficit to as little as five at 20-15, but Texas State scored five of the next seven points to close the set, 25-17, and take the match, 3-0.
“Despite losing the match today, we are forced to play tomorrow down a few of our key leaders, both on and off the court,” Olson said. “This adversity provides the opportunity for others to step up, just as Cali Assaley and Karson Davis did today. Tomorrow we play a team we haven’t faced yet this season. We have the opportunity to end the season with a win, same as how we started. This team will fight until the end, no matter what.”
ULM faces South Alabama at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. A win keeps ULM’s hopes of advancing in the tournament alive, but a loss will bring the season to an end.
Links to ESPN+ coverage and live stats are available at ULMWarhawks.com.