Opening the regular season at home in Earl K. Long Gym after 11 matches on the road, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Volleyball team trounced the competition en route to their fourth consecutive victory.
Hosting the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic the weekend before Sun Belt Conference play begins, the Ragin’ Cajuns looked as prepared as ever. Louisiana took nine of 11 sets across the whole weekend in what was an impressive tune up performance.
Thursday, Sept. 14, the Ragin’ Cajuns took the first match of the weekend three sets to one over the Nicholls Colonels.
After jumping ahead and taking the first two sets 25–17 and 25–19, Louisiana dropped a tightly contested third set 25–22 before claiming the final one 25–18.
The Ragin’ Cajuns set the tone early in the weekend with a .417 set one hitting percentage and .458 set two hitting percentage.
Setting a season high in total blocks, junior Cami Hicks paced the team with eight in the match.
Junior Shyia Richardson posted a team-leading 36 total attacks and matched freshman Kennedy Gustafson for the team lead in digs with 14 each.
Junior Siena DeCambra and freshman Maddie Fritz paced the conference-leading Ragin’ Cajuns in assists with 21 and 18 respectively. Through 51 sets to date, Louisiana is the only Sun Belt team to break 600 assists, as they lead the conference with 12.43 assists per set.
The Ragin’ Cajuns hosted the New Orleans Privateers in the second match of the weekend. Louisiana dropped a close first set to New Orleans 25–23 before dominating the next three sets 25–14, 25–13 and 25–13.
Sets three and four are what put the icing on the cake in this one, as the Ragin’ Cajuns posted hitting percentages of .452 and .486 respectively.
Richardson turned in an impressive performance, setting season highs in points (24.5), blocks (three) and kills (21) while tallying 51 total attacks. The junior’s 13 digs were also second on the team behind Gustafson’s 19.
Richardson’s 21 kills led the team by a wide margin. It added to Louisiana’s conference-leading kills total, as the Ragin’ Cajuns 13.29 average kills per set trails only the Arkansas State Red Wolves (13.4) in the Sun Belt. Richardson’s 3.8 average kills per set ranks fourth in the conference.
Backed by DeCambra’s 52 assists, not a typo, Louisiana outperformed the Privateers in that category 58 to 28. DeCambra is currently averaging 10.29 assists per set, which ranks third among all Sun Belt players this season.
In the final match of the weekend, the Ragin’ Cajuns swept the Prairie View A&M Panthers, taking all three sets 25–22, 25–13 and 25–22 respectively.
Across all three sets, Louisiana recorded a .333 hitting percentage as a team, more than doubling Prairie View A&M’s mark (.146).
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ .238 team hitting percentage puts them behind only the Georgia Southern Eagles, the South Alabama Jaguars and the Texas State Bobcats for the fourth best mark in the conference.
Hicks, a 2022 All-Sun Belt Second Team selection, paced all players in the match with a remarkable .500 hitting percentage. The junior currently ranks third in the Sun Belt with a .363 hitting percentage on the young season.
Richardson and junior Mio Yamamoto led the team with 16 and 13 digs respectively. Richardson also recorded 19 kills to lead the team while senior Celeste Darling followed with 13 kills of her own.
With Louisiana’s non-conference schedule now complete, the Ragin’ Cajuns appear well prepared for Sun Belt play as the competition will ramp up in the coming weeks.
Louisiana will be chasing the first volleyball conference championship in the program’s history.
The 9–5 Ragin’ Cajuns will take a four-match winning streak into their first conference matchup of the season in a two-match series against the Troy Trojans beginning Thursday, Sept. 21 inside Earl K. Long Gym at 6 p.m. CST.