Panthers defeat Ragin’ Cajuns

The annual Breast Cancer Awareness game ended in auspicious fashion for Georgia State volleyball, as the Panthers defeated the Louisiana˗Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in four sets on Friday at the Sports Arena.

It is the Panthers’ sixth victory overall, third at home, and their fourth in Sun Belt play.

“It’s very difficult to contain us when we have all 14 players contributing,” head coach Sally Polhamus said. “It’s also great that we have five more home matches coming up and the crowd and the environment we have definitely helps.”

Set 1

The Panthers jumped out to a fast start to begin the first set. Sydney Mauer began the match with an ace. A service error from the Cajuns’ Keely Hayes and a pair of kills from Eliza Zachary contributed to an early 6˗2 Georgia State advantage. Louisiana˗Lafayette rallied to tally six consecutive points to assume an 8˗6 lead.

Georgia State called timeout in hopes of slowing the Cajuns’ momentum and scored on the ensuing ball with Kitan Ajanaku’s first kill of the match. The Cajuns lead grew to three at 11˗8 prior to the Panthers tying the score at 11 apiece. Louisiana˗Lafayette and Georgia State exchanged 3˗0 runs to make the match 14˗14.

A Cajuns lane violation on a play that would have otherwise been an attack error charged to Zachary plus kills from Deidra Bohannon and Natalia Nieto allowed the Panthers to go back in front by two at 17˗15. Louisiana˗Lafayette then asked for time.

Later in the match, the Cajuns tied it up again at 20˗20. Louisiana˗Lafayette called for time again after a kill credited to Kristina Stinson made the match 22˗21 in favor of Georgia State. Two consecutive Panthers points made the score 24˗21. Louisiana˗Lafayette would score one more point before Zachary’s sixth kill of the match clinched set one, 25˗22 for Georgia State.

Stinson, Bohannon, and Ajanaku also notched three kills apiece. Stinson also finished the first set with a .600 hitting percentage. For the Ragin’ Cajuns, sophomore middle blocker Chanelle Gardner finished with five kills and .714 hitting. Senior outside hitter Kaylee Nemeth aided the Louisiana˗Lafayette cause with three kills.

Set 2

The second frame began with a 4˗0 Panthers run that included two blocks, a kill from Zachary, and an ace from Molly Shonk. Louisiana˗Lafayette would come back to tie the match at seven apiece. The score would continue to be tied at 9˗9 before a pair of Cajuns points, including an attack error charged to Andrea Book allowed Louisiana˗Lafayette to grab an 11˗9 lead.

That would not last long as Georgia State engineered a 3˗0 run that included another ace from Mauer and Stinson’s fourth kill of the match.

The 12˗11 lead for the Panthers would become a 17˗14 advantage for the Cajuns. At 19˗15 for Louisiana˗Lafayette, Polhamus asked for time.

Georgia State would score a pair of points after the timeout before a kill from senior setter Andrea Hole made the tally 20˗17 in favor of the Cajuns. Sara Mossakowski and Chanelle Gardner would find kills to widen their lead to five before kills from Ajanaku, Zachary, and Book trimmed the Panthers’ deficit to 22˗20. Louisiana˗Lafayette would score three of the set’s last four points to win it 25˗21 entering the intermission period.

Intermission Stats

Zachary led the way for the Panthers with nine kills and a .643 hitting percentage. Ajanaku was second in the kills category for Georgia State with six. Bohannon and Stinson had five and four kills apiece.

For the Cajuns, Gardner had 12 kills, twice as many as the next person on the Cajuns’ team. She also had a .556 hitting percentage. Nemeth also contributed six kills on .385 hitting.

Set 3

Kaylee Nemeth and Eliza Zachary exchanged kills to start the third period. The set began with service errors from both sides, but Louisiana˗Lafayette would eventually take a lead at 9˗5.

The Cajuns’ lead would stay at four later in the match as the tally became 11˗7. Georgia State would later tie the match at 13 with kills from Bohannon and Ajanaku. The Panthers would then earn a 15˗14 lead, prompting a timeout from Louisiana˗Lafayette head coach Heather Mazeitis˗Fontenot.

As the set progressed, the lead for the Panthers would grow to three at 19˗16 with Mauer’s third ace of the match. Three consecutive plays from both teams resulted in service or attack errors, but two of the miscues were courtesy of the Cajuns, producing a 23˗20 lead for Georgia State and a Louisiana˗Lafayette timeout.

The Panthers would get Book’s fifth kill of the match to force set point. Two plays later, Bohannon’s eigth kill of the match would end set number three with a 25˗21 Georgia State win.

Set 4

Kills from Zachary and Bohannon gave the Panthers an early 2˗0 lead in the fourth frame. The advantage for Georgia State would remain two at 3˗1. An attack error from Stacey Reilly made the score 4˗2 Panthers before a Mossakowski kill, Bohannon attack error, and Gardner block gave the Cajuns their first lead of the set at 5˗4.

The set would then be tied at seven apiece before a pair Book’s sixth and seventh kills of the match gave Georgia State a 9˗7 lead, prompting a Louisiana˗Lafayette timeout.

The Panthers’ lead would grow to three at 11˗8 after a sequence of events that included a Zachary kill and an attack error from the Cajuns. It would remain at three later as the Georgia State lead was 16˗13. Later in the set, kills from Gardner and junior middle blocker Kae Kae Lockhart would tie the tally again at 18 apiece.

Set number four would see another tie at 22˗22. The Cajuns would take the lead at 24˗23, leading to a Panthers timeout with Louisiana˗Lafayette forcing set point. A Mossakowski service error tied it up again at 24. Stinson and the Cajuns’ Caitlyn Auxilien exchanged points to tie it up again at 25, but Zachary’s fifteenth kill and an ensuing ace from Shonk ended the set and match with a 27˗25 victory.

“This game was about solidifying our defense and putting emphasis on team chemistry,” Zachary said. “We went into this game wanting to win two in a row coming off the Texas State victory, now pulling off this win over Louisiana˗Lafayette.”

Georgia State stats

  • Bohannon: 17 kills, seven digs
  • Zachary, 15 kills, .520 hitting percentage
  • Stinson, Ajanaku, and Book: nine kills each

“Kristina Stinson and Andrea Book are two players I really want to credit. Their attacking and blocking was both great,” Polhamus said.


Louisiana˗Lafayette stats

  • Gardner: 17 kills, .483 hitting percentage
  • Mossakowski: eight kills, nine digs

Polhamus said after the match that after three consecutive home victories that it would be about proving that the team can perform as well on the road as it has lately at home.