Northwestern State volleyball ended one Stephen F. Austin streak on Saturday but were not able to make it two like they wanted.
The Lady Demons (16-8, 8-2 SLC) took the opening frame 25-23, giving the Ladyjacks (22-1, 10-0 SLC) their first set loss in 12 plus matches, and the first Southland Conference team take a set this season. After a close second that SFA won 25-22, the Ladyjacks found their groove finishing the match with the 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-13, 25-14) win.
“The first two sets definitely lived up to the hype,” coach Sean Kiracofe said. “In the third we had a little bit of a letdown. But in the fourth I think we bounced back well, and that didn’t necessarily show on the scoreboard, but I think the effort was there and how we played improved from the third.”
The battle between the top two teams in the SLC standings was certainly that through the opening sets, a battle. The teams went back and forth to start the match until the Lady Demons took control with a 6-1 run that gave them some breathing room.
Four straight kills, from three different player, during the serve rotation of Megan Lohmiller put NSU ahead 15-11, a lead that would swell to six points moments later on a kill from Kourtney Seaton and a solo block from Hannah Brister.
SFA didn’t go down quietly, pulling within a point at 23-22, but a clutch kill from Darria Williams out of a timeout gave NSU set point. Skylar Besch put away the final point that gave the Lady Demons the set win, just two serves later.
The second was neck-and-neck the entire set, until SFA took a late three-point advantage at 23-20 following a quick 4-1 swing. The teams traded points the rest of the set and the Ladyjacks evened the match at one set each.
The third and fourth sets played out much differently that the first two. After the extended break between, SFA came out with momentum to spare following the second set win.
The Ladyjacks blitzed to a 16-4 lead in the third and an 11-4 lead in the fourth. The Lady Demons had their two lowest attack percentage set of the day, hitting below .070 in each set as SFA continued to play stout defense to accompany their relentless and varied attack.
“They showed cracks,” Kiracofe said. “We made them make adjustments they had not made, at least in conference. They had to do a lot of different things that they did not want to do because of what we were doing.
“It just comes down to their consistency and we knew that coming in. If you have a let done, which we had in the third, they’re going to keep rolling and keep scoring points. I feel pretty good about how things turned out in this match because we’ll see them again in the tournament and I’m looking forward to it.”
Brister turned in her second 20-kill match of the week, and seventh of the season, while earning her 11thkill-dig double-double, and fourth in a row. Seaton had her third straight match with 10 or more kills and Lohmiller set a new career best with 28 digs.
The Lady Demons hit the road for the next four matches, beginning with a trip to New Orleans on Halloween night.
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