Volleyball off to hot start

The ULM volleyball team started their season by competing in the Katrinka Crawford Invitational at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

ULM started the 2021 season without six of their starters from 2020, but 10 new Warhawks made their collegiate debut.

After last week’s loss in an exhibition matchup, the direction of this team felt uncertain. While this team is an overhaul of last year’s roster, it lacks collegiate experience.

“We saw a lot of growth from our scrimmage last weekend,” said head coach Charlie Olson. “Our goal is to get one percent better each day and we did that”.

ULM looked to wipe the slate clean after going 1-22 last season. The Warhawks couldn’t end their losing streak immediately as they fell to Oral Roberts 3-2. Their fate changed over their next two meetings. They swept Prairie View A&M 3-0 and won a tightly contested matchup versus Lamar 3-2.

“All props to Lamar,” said Olson. “They are one of the best defensive teams we will face this year—they dug everything.”

Against Lamar, ULM won in the second, third and fifth set. Senior Cali Assaley came away with a career-high 19 kills and freshman Avery Cole tallied 15 kills. Junior Mariana Volponi e Giordan backed the team up with 25 assists. Sophomore Emma McWorther had seven aces, four of which were consecutive. ULM has bested Lamar two years in a row and they have won five of the last six meetings.

Due to their excellent performance, Assaley and Cole earned their spots on the all-tournament team.

“Kudos to our attackers for remaining patient and taking the big swing when we had the chance,” Olson said.

The first two games were on Friday, Aug. 27. In the match against Oral Roberts, ULM succeeded in leading the second and fourth set with a 26-28 win and a 20-25 win, respectively. Oral Roberts was able to pull away late in the fifth set with a final set score of 15-13.

Senior Cali Assaley and Freshman Logan Jeffus both lead their team with 11 kills. On the winning end, Oral Roberts’ Kaia Dunford came in with 20 kills and Sakira Lacour with 15 kills. 

Prairie View A&M led twice and tied four times with ULM in the first set but the Warhawks found their groove early on to take the first two sets with little resistance. Prairie View did not take the lead in the third set and ULM completed the sweep.

Juniors Kathryn Raschilla aided in providing the Warhawks with 10 kills and Darby Fisher with 31 assists.

ULM still has a daunting road schedule before their home opener. Their next opponent is the Northwestern State Demons. They will play three games in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup hosted by the University of Houston. They have a matchup in Lake Charles against McNeese State. Lastly, they take part in Missouri State’s  Mary Jo Wynn Invitational. 

The Warhawks return home on Sept. 14 to face Interstate 20 rival Louisiana Tech.