Cards take second-straight 3-0 win

THIBODAUX, La. – A dominant offensive effort, led by Chelsea Grant’s 19 kills, surged the Lamar University volleyball squad to another straight-set (25-21, 25-11, 25-17) win, this time against Nicholls on Thursday night at Stopher Gymnasium in Southland Conference action.

The Cardinals (5-16, 5-4 Southland Conference) earned 62 points – 50 on kills - in the match, which smashed the next highest three-set match of 53 at Idaho State. The 20.7 points earned per set mark was also the highest of the season. Lamar hit .380 in the contest, which bested the season’s previous best of .317 at New Orleans.

Nicholls fell to 6-19 on the season, 1-8 in league play.

Grant notched the second 20-kill match of the year, on a .457 attack percentage. She had only three errors in 35 total attacks. The double-figure kill match was her ninth-straight, which is the longest run of the season.

The Cardinals started off the first set slow, a trend they have been trying to fix. They trailed 4-1 and later were down 12-7, which was the largest deficit they faced. Two kills from Ivette Dim and Grant along with a service ace from Amy Hollowell drew it to 12-10.

A service error ruined that run and a kill form Emily Weimer made it 14-10, Colonels, but a four-point run that featured a kill from Grant and three straight attack errors from Kaci Eaton – one was a block on a block Grant and Dannisha House – tied it at 14-14.

Nicholls was able to get the lead again, but never more than one point. Tied at 20-20, the Cardinals ran off five points to only one from the Colonels. Back-to-back kills from Grant and Dim made it 22-20 and another Hollowell service ace had it at 23-20.

Eaton put down a kill to pull it to 23-21, but Jade Piper put a serve in the net and Grant ended it with a kill.

The second set was no struggle for the Cardinals. Once they took a 2-1 lead, they never gave it up. The largest run of the set for Lamar was 6-0, which took a 6-3 lead and made it 12-3. Each point of that run was earned. It had kills from House, Tomar Thomas, and Hollowell. Then all three also had blocks and Stahlman finished the run with an ace.

Through the first two sets, the Cardinals earned 44 points and only allowed Nicholls to get 19, which averaged to 22 and 9.5 per set, respectively.

The second set was more of the same for the Cardinals, who jumped out to a 7-2 lead behind two kills from Thomas and another from Grant. Three errors from Nicholls also aided in the Lamar lead. The Cardinals eventually led 16-8, and the eight-point mark was the largest of the set.

Haley Morton returned to her double-double form, giving her the five in her last seven matches. The junior recorded 25 assists and 10 digs. She also earned a point on a kill.

Dim finished the match with nine kills and was followed by Hollowell at eight, House at 7 and Thomas with five. House put up a .700 attack percentage and Dim had a .571 mark. Including Morton’s 10, three Cardinals had 10-plus digs in the contest, libero Carlyn Stella at 13 and Hollowell with 10 – which gave her the third of her 2016 campaign.

Nicholls finished up with 28 points – 26 on kills – and a .149 attack mark. Kali Schwartz and Eaton tied to lead the Colonels with six kills, and Weimer and Stephanie Tobison had five.

Lamar will wrap up its week of three matches at McNeese on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., from Memorial Gym. In the first two matches of the week, LU won both in three sets. After the week is done, five of the final six matches of the campaign will be at McDonald Gym.