NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion’s opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The Ragin’ Cajuns volleyball team is currently 4-3 this season. Aside from an exhibition match on Aug. 21, the team started off strong. So what went wrong?
In their first real game of the season, Louisiana competed in the Southern Miss Classic from Aug. 27-28. The squad dominated three games in a row. An easy 3-0 win over Southern Illinois was followed by a 3-1 win over USC Upstate and another dominating 3-0 win over Mississippi Valley.
Their only loss in the tournament came from the host team Southern Miss. Still the loss was only 2-3, meaning the game could have gone either way.
Sadly, after this loss, things would not go Louisiana’s way. The whole SFA tournament that was scheduled for Sept. 3-4 was canceled. That means after Aug. 28, the team wouldn’t play again until Sept. 9.
That’s almost two weeks of not playing a volleyball game. On top of it all, the state had just experienced a devastating hurricane and things were already crazy.
When it was time for the Cajuns to come back and play on Sept. 9, they competed in the UTRGV Tournament. Louisiana played three games from Sept. 9-11, but only won one.
Their first matchup was against host team UTRGV. I truly believe home-court advantage is a thing because just like their loss against Southern Miss, it was another close 2-3 defeat.
Thankfully after that match, the Ragin’ Cajuns got a 3-1 win over Texas Southern. Sadly, this dub celebration was short-lived.
Louisiana lost 2-3 against Incarnate Word in the next game. Again it was a 2-3 loss. This leads me to believe there is something not clicking in the final set for Louisiana. I’m not sure what that something is, but the last set is gut-check time when you’re supposed to give your all whether you’re winning or losing. This is something major that may need to be fixed in practice with scrimmages or conditioning.
They will have their first home game of the season on Sept. 21 against Lamar. That will be followed right by two more home games against Georgia State and Georgia Southern.
I think having support from their home community could be exactly what this Cajun squad needs. That along with consistency and never giving up even if it’s the last set or last match will be key to Louisiana turning things around.
Hopefully, the season doesn’t get interrupted again and we can see Louisiana thrive very soon. Conference play doesn’t start until Sept. 24, which gives them time to prepare. And it is still early in the season, so the team has time to come back from their recent losses. Be sure to come out to Earl K. Long Gym on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. to support Louisiana in their home opener.
Story: Madelyn Myer