NATCHITOCHES – Looking for a bounce-back win following a tough weekend at Texas A&M, the Northwestern State volleyball team held off a scrappy Prairie View A&M on Wednesday afternoon.
The Lady Demons were pushed for the first time on their home floor but came away with the 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 28-26) win to move to 2-0 at Prather Coliseum and 7-5 overall this season.
“They (Prairie View A&M) have been taking a ton of teams to five sets,” coach Sean Kiracofe said. “It was hard from a scouting standpoint to pinpoint exactly what it was, other than you knew that they were scrappy and they played hard.
“They came out and fought for every single point and kept the ball alive and did smart things with it. At least in set two we turned around and gave them free points. When we were able to compose ourselves in one, three, and four we did good stuff with the ball and got out with wins.”
With nearly 250 elementary students in attendance, the Lady Demons put on an early show for the young crowd. Tied at 10 in the first set, NSU took control of the match with a 6-1 thanks to a pair of kills each from Hannah Brister and Darria Williams.
PVAMU fought back within three, but another 6-1 run by the Lady Demons, capped with a Reagan Lee and Skylar Besch block, gave NSU the first set 25-17.
In a close from the start second set, the Lady Demons would be their own worst enemy, especially late in the frame. Two service errors, an attack error and a reception error in the final stretch allowed the Lady Panthers to steal the second set 25-20 and even the match at one.
Down 11-9 in the third, NSU made its first big push to seize the momentum. A 9-1 run gave the Lady Demons a commanding 18-12 lead. During Cayman Sutton’s service rotation, NSU scored six straight points, all on kills from Lee, and Williams, Alexis Warren.
In her groove, Warren hammered down three of the final four kills that put NSU ahead 2-1 in the match.
“I felt really comfortable,” Warren said. “I know my position out there. We didn’t have Hannah but we know everyone on the team can do everything. Charli (Fouts) really stepped up and took her place and I think we did a great job moving the ball around. They were scrappy but just knowing the different shots that we have.”
The Lady Demons held a comfortable lead until a PVAMU run made the fourth sets much more interesting. A 15-5 stretch by the Lady Panthers put them ahead 22-20, poised to force the match to a decisive fifth set.
With the pressure on, PVAMU began to lose its edge, giving the Lady Demons eight of their last nine points on various errors. Warren’s kill making it 27-26 was the only point scored via a kill for NSU, leading to the match-point PVAMU attack error.
Warren recorded her fourth kill-dig double-double of the season, with a season-best 19 kills. Cayman Sutton and Megan Lohmiller each set season-bests with 27 assists and 20 digs respectively.
The Lady Demons travel to Atlanta, Georgia this weekend for a pair of matches in the Georgia State Tournament. Stay connected to NSU volleyball by following @NSUDemonsVB on Twitter and Instagram or by liking Northwestern State volleyball on Facebook.