Volleyball sweeps matches at Big Easy Blastoff

The volleyball team swept all three games in the Big Easy Blastoff this weekend. They defeated Mississippi University for Women (MUW) 3-0 and Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) 3-2 and 3-0.

vs. MUW – Feb. 5

History

This is the first matchup against MUW.

Basics

The Saints played one of their best matches of the season against the Owls. The Saints totaled 40 kills and limited MUW to nine. OLLU tallied nine service aces and 56 digs. They limited the Owls to single-digit scoring in every set.

Scoring overview against MUW

Set One – OLLU 25 – MUW 8
Set Two – OLLU 25 – MUW 7
Set Three – OLLU 25 – MUW 8

Standout

Tijana Kruta (JR/Bar, Montenegro) tallied eight kills and recorded three service aces. She had a killing percentage of .700.

Set review

In the first set, OLLU recorded 16 kills and five errors on 37 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .297.

The Saints had 12 kills in the second set and one error on 28 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .393.

In the third set, OLLU had 12 kills and one error on 29 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .379.

On the offense

Overall, the Saints had 40 kills for a hitting percentage of .351. MUW had nine kills for a hitting percentage of -.133.

Leading the way for the Saints was Kruta and Kalani Ketchens (SR/San Antonio, Texas) with eight kills apiece. Lauren Woitena (FR/New Braunfels, Texas) followed with nine kills.

Iyana Canada and Jadelyn Trice led the Owls with three kills apiece.

Defensive standouts

OLLU had a total of 56 digs, led by Alyssa Marquez (JR/Albuquerque, N.M.) with 12. MUW had a total of 42 digs, led by Briana Huerta-Ramirez with nine.

Serving it up

The Saints tallied nine service aces while the Owls failed to record a service ace.

Comments from Coach Mattera

Head Coach Scott Mattera commented, “We played a pretty solid match overall. Both Anissa Tamez (SR/San Antonio, Texas) and Madelynn Strzelczyk (FR/San Antonio, Texas) ran the offense well and Alyssa Marquez really directed traffic in the back row. Tijana welcomed herself back with an awesome match at the net and from the service line.”


vs. Xavier University of Louisiana – Feb. 5

History

The Saints are 1-0 against Xavier with the lone win coming in 2016.

Basics

It didn’t look good for the Saints early on against 2019 national tournament qualifier and host Xavier University of New Orleans. While OLLU held a lead in much of game 1, some key mistakes at the end of the game allowed XULA to steal the opener. Game 2 looked even more bleak as the Saints struggled to find consistency and energy. “The whole vibe was just off. It was an awkward environment in a big beautiful facility with no fans and I think it got to us a bit. Xavier was also playing really well – they were passing nails in serve receive and put up a really big block” commented Coach Mattera.

But just towards the end of game 2, OLLU started showing signs of life and while no enough to turn the tide of the game, it did offer a glimpse of what was to come. “We just kept talking in the huddle about playing free and having fun going all out.” The Saint did just that gutting it out games 3, 4, and 5 to shock the host school who had the 2-0 lead. After the match, Coach Mattera observed, “This was a really important win for us because we finally embraced the challenge. We kind of figured out a lot of stuff this match as it went on both strategically and emotionally.”

In the fifth and deciding set, the Saints took a 13-6 lead. Xavier made a comeback to cut the lead to 14-10 and a kill by Mia Soto (JR/San Antonio, Texas) won the match for the Saints.

Scoring overview against XULA

Set One – XULA 29 – OLLU 27
Set Two – XULA 25 – OLLU 17
Set Three – OLLU 25 – XULA 19
Set Four – OLLU 25 – XULA 18
Set Five – OLLU 15 – XULA 10

Standout

Woitena shined with 15 kills and seven digs. She also had 49 total attacks.

Set review

In the first set, OLLU recorded 11 kills and nine errors on 48 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .420.

The Saints had eight kills in the second set and eight errors on 34 total attacks.

In the third set, OLLU had 16 kills and six errors on 46 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .217.

The Saints had 10 kills in the fourth set and six errors on 32 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .125.

In the fifth set, OLLU had eight kills and two errors on 25 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .240.

On the offense

Overall, the Saints had 53 kills for a hitting percentage of .119. XULA had 47 kills for a hitting percentage of .109.

Leading the way for the Saints was Woitena with 15 kills. Ketchens followed with 14 kills.

Kennedy Wade led the Gold with 14 kills.

Defensive standouts

OLLU had a total of 94 digs, led by Marquez with 18. XULA had a total of 85 digs, led by Semira Blair with 21.

Serving it up

Both teams finished with 10 service aces.


vs. Xavier University of Louisiana – Feb. 6

History

The Saints are 2-0 against Xavier following the win on Friday night.

Basics

In a rematch of the previous night’s 5 game thriller, the Our Lady of the Lake University Saints left no doubt this time. Taking on 2019 NAIA national tournament qualifier Xavier University of Louisiana on their home floor on back to back days presented the Saints with a test of their metal, but after finding their confidence during Friday night’s comeback, the ladies from San Antonio looked like a brand new team on Saturday. Head coach Scott Mattera reflected after the match; “I really think we learned so much about ourselves and what it takes to compete at a national level last night. We really carried that momentum into today and just consistently took apart a very good Xavier team.”

The Saints were led offensively by freshman Cassidy Haller who came off the bench on fire in game two. The left handed opposite product of Steele High School went for 10 kills in just two games and hit .500 overall. “Cass really came out with awesome energy. Mia was playing great too in the opposite position. We love having the both of them back there able to keep each other fresh and they are each other’s biggest fans even though they play the same position” said coach Mattera. While the offense was solid all day, it was the defense that had coach flying high; “we’ve been working on a new defensive system and it really came together today. It’s a fairly complicated system that requires constant reading and communicating as we adjust on the fly. Our DS’s really owned it today led by Alyssa.” 

Scoring overview against XULA

Set One – OLLU 25 – XULA 21
Set Two – OLLU 25 – XULA 8
Set Three – OLLU 25 – XULA 17

Standout

Ketchens totaled 11 kills on 22 total attacks. She had a hitting percentage of .409.

Set review

In the first set, OLLU recorded 14 kills and four errors on 38 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .184.

The Saints had 13 kills in the second set and one error on 24 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .500.

In the third set, OLLU had 15 kills and seven errors on 44 total attacks for a hitting percentage of .182.

On the offense

Overall, the Saints had 42 kills for a hitting percentage of .255. XULA had 24 kills for a hitting percentage of .041.

Leading the way for the Saints was Ketchens with 11 kills. Cassidy Haller (FR/Cibolo, Texas) followed with 10 kills.

Kayla Black led the Gold with seven kills.

Defensive standouts

OLLU had a total of 49 digs, led by Marquez and Tamez with 11 apiece. XULA had a total of 43 digs, led by Linda Mungai with 11.

Serving it up

The Saints tallied six service aces while the Gold had three.


What’s next

The Saints travel to Laredo, Texas, to face Texas A&M International University on Feb. 13.