Women’s volleyball team to compete in conference tournament

Stefano Rivera/Contributing Writer

Panthers clinch tournament seed with win over LA Tech

Panthers to compete in conference tournament

The University’s women’s volleyball team (14-12, 8-7 in Conference USA) faced off against Louisiana Tech University (10-19, 3-12 in C-USA) on Thursday, Nov. 12. With the regular season winding down and having lost four-straight games, the Panthers found themselves in dire need of a victory in order to clinch a spot in the conference tournament.

The team responded with a dominant effort, defeating LA Tech in straight sets with final scores of 25-14, 25-17 and 25-15. The Panthers controlled the game and with their win, punched their ticket into the C-USA tournament.

In the first set, the Panthers came out with an early 8-2 lead and never slowed down. The team finished the set hitting .429 and held the Lady Techsters to a hitting percentage of .129. Junior middle blocker, Katie Hogan, led the Panthers with three kills, as six different players had at least one kill.

The Panthers didn’t look back in the second set as they took the 2-0 lead. Sophomore middle blocker, Jennifer Ene, controlled the pace for the Panthers as she tallied four kills.

In the final set, the Panthers hit at an impressive rate once again. They finished the set with a hitting percentage of .364 and sealed the deal, winning the match and clinching a spot in the conference tournament. Senior outside hitter, Lucia Castro, accounted for four kills and five digs in the set.

The team had one of its most efficient games offensively. It finished with 41 kills with only eight errors, for a final hitting percentage of .308. Defensively, the Panthers held the Lady Techsters to a hitting percentage of .109, only allowing 29 kills and forcing 17 errors.

Ene finished the match with 12 kills and three blocks while senior middle blocker, Gloria Levorin, added 9 kills, as she surpassed the 750 kill mark for her career. Castro and Hogan combined for 13 kills as this Panther attack showed balance for one of the few times this season. Freshman setter, Katie Friesen, led the team with 18 assists.

The Panthers have clinched at least a seventh seed in the C-USA tournament. They can move up to sixth with a win against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a loss by Florida Atlantic University against LA Tech on Saturday, Nov. 14. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m ET.

Earlier this season, the Panthers defeated the 49ers of Charlotte in straight sets at home and will look to do the same for a chance at a higher seed in the upcoming tournament next week.

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