The Louisiana volleyball team closed out a successful season at 17-16 and 7-9 in the Sun Belt, with a 3-0 loss (16-25, 24-26, 21-25) to Western Kentucky (26-7, 14-2 Sun Belt) on Thursday afternoon at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.  Louisiana completed its first winning season and first Sun Belt Tournament appearance since 2002, and increased its winning percentage by 25% after finishing last year at 9-24 and 3-15 in the Sun Belt.  UL's 10 wins at Earl K. Long Gym were also the most for the program since 1988.

At the tournament, held on the campus at Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro TN, no. 7 seed UL fell behind early in set one, dropping the first point 25-16. Despite reaching set-point, UL dropped set two, 26-24. No. 2 seed WKU finished the match with a 25-21 set three victory to advance to the Sun Belt Semifinals on Friday. The Cajuns hit .242 in the match, while Western Kentucky had a .398 attacking percentage.

Closing out her career as one of the best defensive players in school history was Lindsay Brown. The Yorba, Linda CA, native inked nine digs against WKU, moving her into first for most digs in a single season. Her 605 digs this season passed Jennifer Autry's mark of 599 digs set in 1990.

"I think my kids gave everything they had," said Louisiana head coach Heather Mazeitis. "This season was a turning point for our program, and it's what we've been working toward for the last three seasons. We are sending our seniors out after having changed for the better. Hopefully, this is the first of many opportunities to try and win this tournament."

Brown became only the second player in school history to reach 500 digs in back-to-back seasons and the first to ever touch the 600 plateau. She became the school's all-time rally era leader in digs earlier this year against Troy on Sept. 24. The senior finished with 1,865 digs in her career.

Sophomore Mandi Gavin led the Cajuns with eight kills against the Hilltoppers. She hit a career-best .571 against WKU, while also notching 26 assists in the match. Gavin scooped six digs with two blocks and a service ace. Gavin finished the season with 1,164 assists, earning the most assists since Kendra Hall in 2007.

Senior Caroline Dufrene had seven kills with two digs and two block assists. The Lake Charles native completed her best season in her career with 274 kills (2.28 kills per set).

All-Conference selection Lesley Mirarchi had a solid offensive day, posting a .386 attacking percentage. Mirarchi, a native of Plano, Texas, inked six kills with three block assists, a dig and one assist. Mirarchi was the first Sun Belt All-Conference selection for the Cajuns since 2002. She totaled 364 kills (2.98 per set) this season, the most of any UL player since 2002. Mirarchi also led UL with 106 blocks (0.87 per set).

Taylor Meade had six kills for an attacking average of .305. Defensively, the freshman had four digs with a service ace and a block assist. She finished the year with a league-best 48 service aces, ranking 28th in the country and first in the Sun Belt.

Kerrilyn Lazare had five kills, while teammate Lavinia Tatran recorded two kills on Thursday. Senior Brooke Niland scooped three digs against WKU.

UL trailed 9-to-8, but Western Kentucky used a 10-1 run to take a comfortable lead. WKU hit .333 in the set to secure the point 25-16. Brown set the school's single-season record for digs in a season, scooping up seven in the set. Dufrene led the Cajuns with three kills.

The Ragin' Cajuns kept the match in a back-and-forth contest in set two, as evidenced by 14 ties. WKU staved off set point at 24-23 and won two out of the next three points to win their second point, 26-24. Freshman Tonice White led Louisiana with four kills as the Cajuns hit .314 in the set. White finished the match with four kills and one block.

In the final set, Western Kentucky went on 5-2 run midway through the set to take the lead and never look back. The Hilltoppers clinched the match with a 25-21 victory. Louisiana had 14 kills in the set, hitting .458 during that frame. Mirarchi inked a team-best four kills.


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