Bobcats sweep Louisiana to secure Sun Belt west title

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Volleyball

Karen Chisum might not have believed if you told her that Texas State would sweep Louisiana to lock up the Sun Belt west division before the season began.

Chisum made it clear she didn’t have high expectations for the Bobcats before the 2017 campaign began. It’s easy to see why the 38th-year head coach wouldn’t know what to expect from her team: She’d lost seven seniors, had only two seniors returning, and possessed a youthful team.

The Bobcats (22-8. 13-2 Sun Belt), however, defeated the Ragin’ Cajuns, 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-22), to secure the west division title Friday in front of an electrifying crowd of 3,021 inside Strahan Coliseum.

“They have surpassed everything I ever expected,” Chisum said.

Texas State dropped a five-set thriller to Louisiana (19-10, 12-3) on Oct. 28. So handing the Ragin’ Cajuns their first 3-0 Sun-Belt loss of the season was redeeming.

“It’s kind of validating, the fact that we knew we could beat the first time but we just couldn’t pull it together,” said senior middle blocker Jaliyah Bolden, who tallied seven kills and seven digs against Louisiana.

All three sets began in back-and-forth fashion, but each time Texas State found a way to seize momentum. In the opening set, the Bobcats pulled away from the Ragin’ Cajuns after the frame was tied at 15. The Bobcats grabbed an 18-15 lead. Although The Ragin’ Cajuns sliced the Bobcat advantage down to 21-20, Texas State pulled away to take the first set, 25-22.

In the second set, the Bobcats opened up a 13-10 advantage following a 10-all tie. Texas State eased to a 25-18 win.

Louisiana kept the third frame close at 22-19 but the Bobcats closed out the match with a 25-22 victory.

“I think we came out more focused this time around playing them this time, and we really took care of the ball,” said senior Erin Hoppe, who recorded a match-high 48 assists. “When we had the first opportunity to score we didn’t want to let the rallies go any longer than they needed to. We definitely picked up our serving that helped a lot.”

Middle blockers Madison Daigle and Tyeranne Scott led Texas State with 12 kills each. Sophomore Megan Porter and Amy Pflughaupt both added nine kills. Sophomore libero Micah Dinwiddie amassed a match-high 25 digs.

The Bobcats conclude the regular season against Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday at 12 p.m. inside Strahan Coliseum. Chisum is confident in her team as it heads into the finale.

“They’re hungry,” Chisum said. “They are hungry for the ring. We’ll say it, we’ll take care of (ULM). It’s one of those things, they’re the bottom of the barrell, and I hope the seniors do a great job and then we’re able to get a lot of kids in and hopefully everybody can play. But we’ll take care of that match then we’re going to be ready. We’ve been talking about this conference tournament for a long time. That’s our goal now is take care of that.”

San Marcos Daily Record

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