BEAUMONT – Megan Schwartz joined an elite company on Saturday, but unfortunately for the Lamar volleyball team, it happened in a loss as the Lady Cardinals fell 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-21) to visiting McNeese State at McDonald Gym.
Schwartz, a redshirt-junior out of Tomball, entered the match just two dig shy of 1,000 for her career, and it took until the third set for her to surpass the mark. The outside hitter/libero recorded all five of her digs in the frame, and she's now one of just 15 Lady Cards to earn a spot in the distinguished club.
However, Saturday's big defensive star was once again Chelsea Grant, who racked up six more blocks just two days after picking up 10 against Nicholls, and Erika Rojas posted the team high in digs with eight.
Offensively, Cortney Moore hit .500 for the second consecutive match en route to picking up 12 kills, and Sierra Whittaker, who was celebrating her final career match at McDonald Gym, had 12 as well.
The opening frame hinged on an impressive service run by McNeese's Kimberlyn Patterson. After two straight attack errors forced a Cowgirl timeout with LU leading 20-11, Rachel Cagnina hammered down a kill, and Patterson held serve for 11 straight points to put the Cowgirls ahead at 23-20. Cagnina was the standout offensive player, following up her opening kill with four more over the stretch, and McNeese held on for the 25-23 victory.
Patterson and Cagnina teamed up once more in the ensuing set as a Cagnina kill set up another run for Patterson, this time resulting in a 9-0 Cowgirl run to flip a 4-2 LU advantage into an 11-4 deficit. The Lady Cards fought back, eventually pulling within one at 23-22 on the heels of back-to-back Schwartz aces, but kills from Amber Fryer and Malina Sanchez sent the visitors from Lake Charles into the break with a 2-0 lead.
The third set was also a tight affair, featuring 11 ties and six lead changes. After battling for much of the frame, McNeese took a 22-20 edge on a pair of errors by Whittaker and Ashley Ellis, but Whittaker answered with a kill to pull LU within one. However, that would be all the senior could muster as the Cowgirls ran off three straight points to close out the match.
With the loss, LU (9-19) and McNeese (15-15) are now tied with 7-9 records in conference play, and the Cowgirls will hold the advantage if a tiebreaker was necessary. The two sides are currently battling with Stephen F. Austin and Houston Baptist for the last three spots in the conference tournament later this month. Lamar will play at Houston Baptist next week before hitting the road to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
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