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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Volleyball hits historic highs at home

photo courtesy of ULM Athletics
photo by Destiny Atwell
                 photo by Destiny Atwell

ULM Volleyball defeated Georgia Southern and Georgia State this past weekend, winning six out of seven total sets in both matches combined.

In the two games, head coach Patrick Hiltz recognized the difference in the morale of his team. “They’ve taken it among themselves to have fun, to support each other.” While the offense has been on fire, it’s the defense that has brought the team through. “Defensively it’s just about attitude. It’s about heart and desire.”

The Warhawks first swept Georgia Southern 3-0 Friday night. After a tough schedule to start the year, the team looked to start the conference season well. Hiltz stressed the importance of starting with a home win.

“When you only get to play a team once in conference, you’ve got to take advantage of that one time,” Hiltz said.

ULM did just that, led by senior Hope Pawlik’s double-double of 16 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore Tara Jenkins also paced the offense with 32 total assists.

The Warhawks battled early in an offensive showcase of power and precision. After taking a timeout with the tie even at 17, senior Kaitlyn Shearer capped an 8-2 run with the final kill. “In set one, our block was a little bit late,” Hiltz added, but was able to make the difference late in the first.

The Eagles started the second set on a 7-1 run before the Warhawks fought back. A quick surge from ULM decreased the deficit to two. Another intense battle followed as the score would soon be even at 21. This time, Pawlik and Catherine Griffith finished off the Eagles with the final two kills of the set.

Senior middle blocker Ana Ribeiro was the spark off of the bench that helped propel her team by providing energy on offense and defense.

Hiltz said he was “most proud of the way we closed out the match. We came out of the break and really stayed on the gas.”

ULM simply dominated in the third set. Both offense and defense shined as the they took command with a 12-6 advantage. Georgia Southern never could get back into the set or the match as the Warhawks executed late and finished the match and final set (25-14).

This marks only the second time in program history ULM has defeated a Sun Belt team in only three sets.

The following night, the team faced a Georgia State program they have never beaten.

Both teams found themselves in a dog fight in the first set. While the score was neck and neck throughout, the Panthers edged the Warhawks (25-23).

In the second, the ULM offense was on fire as they raced out to a 7-2 lead. They maintained a steady lead as a Georgia State service error clinched the set (25-18).

Much like the second, the Warhawks started strong, scoring the first six points of the third. A furious effort from the visitors forced a ULM timeout with the home team holding on to a 23-20 lead late. An attack error clinched it for the Warhawks, with the final score at (25-21).

ULM again attacked with one set to go as they built a 11-5 lead. A 9-0 run proved to be fatal as the Warhawks ran away (25-11).

Senior outside hitter Pawlik also became the fifth player to ever reach 1000 career kills in program history. When asked about her feat, Coach Hiltz said “we knew she was going to be one of the best ones we’ve ever had here; she stepped up and persevered.”

Tara Jenkins finished one kill shy of a triple-double with 10 digs and 33 assists. Libero Kacey LeBlanc also got 20 digs.

The team will continue their conference schedule and travel north to take on Arkansas State and the University of Arkansas Little Rock next weekend. The Warhawks will return home to host UALR on Friday, October 14 at 6:30 p.m.

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