Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns volleyball team (3-1) returns to action on Wednesday as they head to Nacogdoches, Texas, to face Stephen F. Austin (2-2).

University of Louisiana VolleyballThe Cajuns opened the 2009 season last weekend in Huntsville, Texas, where they went 3-1 at the Comfort Suites/SHSU Invitational, knocking off Texas-Pan American, Delaware State and Southern Utah in straight sets. UL lost to Sam Houston State 3-2 in the championship match.

"We were four points from being 4-0," UL head coach Heather Mazeitis remarked. "You never know how you're going to be until you put yourself against another opponent. I didn't know where we'd be, but we knew after the first match that things would go well.

"We were solid everywhere. I think we're starting to put together a complete game."

The Ragin' Cajuns nearly came away with a championship, even though they were playing four freshmen.

"The match that we lost (SHSU) could have gone either way, being up 14-10 in each of the first two sets," Mazeitis said. "We were up and in control, but started making mistakes which happens with inexperience."

Leading the way offensively for the Cajuns is the freshmen duo of Ariel Krolikowski and Bethany Fogler. Krolikowski recorded 44 kills over 14 sets last weekend, an average of 3.14 kills per set. Fogler, meanwhile, recorded a UL season-high 18 kills against Sam Houston State and finished the weekend with 39 kills (2.79 per set) and a .360 hitting percentage.

Libero Lindsay Brown earned Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts at Sam Houston. Brown collected 70 digs including a career high 25 digs in the championship match against Sam Houston. She leads the Sun Belt Conference with an average of 5.00 digs per set.

"We're playing at a much higher level," Mazeitis said. "I think they surprised themselves with how well they were flowing and playing with consistency."

Stephen F. Austin boasts a player of the week of their own in Madison Hanlan who was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career. Hanlan averaged 4.23 digs per set in SFA's opening weekend at Northern Illinois.

The Ladyjacks went 2-2 in the tournament at Northern Illinois last weekend, defeating UIC and Western Illinois, but losing to Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois in straight sets.

Amber Williams-Roberts leads the team in kills with 46, while Kelsey Owens isn't far behind her with 39. Mary Caitlin Bottles leads the team in blocks with 14.

"They've always run their attack well and this year they have some dynamic athletic outside hitters," Mazeitis said. "They're a good defensive team and good serving team so they kind of get you all around.

"We're going to have to play solid serve-receive. If our blockers do their job it's going to be a great match."

The Cajuns will be the first team to play in SFA's Johnson Coliseum this season. UL will seek to become the first team since 2004 to knock off the Ladyjacks in their home opener.

Following Wednesday's match at SFA the Ragin' Cajuns will participate in the LSU Tiger Classic Friday-Saturday, Sept. 4-5 in Baton Rouge at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Cajuns will face national powerhouse Nebraska, Tulane and host-LSU.

-- Ragin' Cajuns --


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