The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

3rd-straight win extends Sun Belt streak

Beau Benoit

ULM volleyball won both matches against Georgia State to obtain a winning streak and a 3-win conference season for the first time since 2018. More importantly, this marks the first season in ULM volleyball history to record 3-straight conference match wins.

With the regular season complete, all eyes rest upon the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Middle blocker Logan Jeffus said that rather than fearing the tournament, the team has been eager to remain competitive.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to keep playing,” Jeffus said. “We keep calling [the tournament] ‘the party’, so we’re gonna take it to the party and hopefully keep running on the streak we have.”

Thursday’s sets one and two against the Panthers (5-22; 2-14 Sun Belt Conference) remained tied until Georgia State took early leads. The Warhawks (7-23; 3-13 SBC) responded in both sets with defensive lockdowns and offensive clinics. 

The third set had the potential to be the first 3-0 sweep since 2018. Tied at 20-20, the idea of 3-0 seemed quite possible. Unfortunately for ULM, a 5-point run by Georgia State meant a fourth set was inevitable.

Set four remained deadlocked for much of its duration, that is until service aces and attacking errors for the Warhawks gave the Panthers a close 25-21 win.

A 10-9 Panthers lead in set five seemed daunting, but the Warhawks persevered and came out on top, winning 15-13.

After the Panthers took set one, set two began with a 4-point run with the help of libero Cameron Rodgers. Outside hitters Madeline Peterson and Ariana Brown and right side/middle blocker Madeline Villarreal helped ignite the offense and take the set 25-13.

Georgia State started set three strongly, however frequent errors stole any chance of winning away from the Panthers. ULM took the set 25-19.

In set four, the Panthers again led early, however unlike last time, Georgia State’s lead lasted as the Panthers took the set 25-21.

The Warhawks made winning set five seem easy, rapidly leading 11-4. Georgia State attempted a comeback, trailing only 14-11. A kill by outside hitter Brynn Botkin gave ULM 15 points and the win.

Botkin recorded five of the 10 service aces in the second match, and she says making those plays are some of the most important parts of the game.

“I’ve focused a lot more on serve-receive instead of just the hitting aspect of my position,” Botkin said. “Last year, I didn’t focus as much on that, but that’s really the most important touch of the game. It gets the play started.”

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