*From Troy Media Relations*
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Troy volleyball team continued an outstanding season on Thursday with a Sun Belt Championship quarterfinal win over Louisiana-Lafayette, 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21). The win is the first ever in a Sun Belt tournament game for Troy.
Troy will now play either North Texas or Middle Tennessee in a semifinal on Friday that is set to get underway at 4 p.m. from E.A. Diddle Arena.
The second-seeded Trojans (21-11) were led by freshman Blair Winston who posted 19 kills in her first career conference tournament game. Kayla Pickart added 14 kills. All-Sun Belt selection Alexandra Alexander recorded 52 assists and 10 digs for her 21st double-double of the season.
Courtney Cohen posted a match-high 22 digs, her 11th 20-dig performance of the season. Breanna Cullity and Devin Von Pingel each had three blocks for the Trojans who posted eight as a team.
The defense keyed the Trojans as they held Louisiana-Lafayette to a .167 attack percentage and just three service aces, despite the Cajuns entering as the league’s top serving team.
“I’m really proud of our team for getting our first Sun Belt tournament win,” Troy head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick said. “When we made the commitment to play this kind of defense earlier this season, that’s when it turn around for us.
“I think we attacked at high level. Louisiana-Lafayette gave us problems with their block, but we figured some things out and got it going. We look forward to competing tomorrow.”
The win for Troy over the Ragin’ Cajuns avenged a loss at home earlier this season.
Louisiana-Lafayette (16-16), the tournament’s seven seed, was led by Lavinia Tataran who posted 12 kills. Mandi Gavin had 36 assists and 11 digs.
Troy was cold in the opening frame, hitting a match-low .125, but still held a slim lead late at 17-16. The Cajuns then used a three-point run to take a 19-17 lead that held the rest of the way as Troy dropped the first set 25-23.
The Trojans used a run of their own in the second set to swing momentum as Louisiana-Lafayette led 15-12. On the strength of Cohen’s serve, Troy scored six straight to pull ahead 18-15, and the Trojans never looked back in a 25-20 win.
The Cajuns hit .212 in the third set, but a three-point swing by Troy turned a 14-12 scored into a 17-12 advantage that Troy held for a 25-22 third set win.
With the match in their reach, the Trojans hit a match-high .244 in the fourth set. They turned a slim 14-12 advantage into a 19-13 lead on their way to a 25-21 win in the clinching set.
Complete schedules, results and brackets can be found on the Championship Central page on SunBeltSports.org. For more information on Troy Athletics, be sure to check back with TroyTrojans.com.
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