Freshman leads team in Privateers first home match of the season
NEW ORLEANS – The University of New Orleans volleyball team opened up the home schedule on Thursday afternoon, hosting Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-17) setback at the Human Performance Center.
The Privateers (3-11, 0-1 Southland Conference) saw steady improvements throughout the match, increasing the team’s hitting percentage in each set. As a unit, the Privateers posted 7.0 total blocks, besting Houston Baptist’s (9-7, 1-0 Southland Conference) 5.0 blocks.
“It was very exciting to be playing back on our home court,” head coach Millicent Van Norden explained. “Our fans were great tonight, they got into the match from the beginning and it helped us start each set strong which was a problem for us in our previous matches.”
Freshman outside hitter Jordan Yauch (Biological Science) led the Privateers on offense and defense with 13 digs and seven kills, both team highs. Sarah Thomas (Accounting & Finance) dished out the ball for the royal blue and silver with a team-best 22 assists in the contest while Cara Sanders (Marketing) scored three points from the service line. Middle Blocker Rondolyn Bryant (Exercise Physiology) posted multiple blocks for the second-consecutive matches with four, tied with Thomas for the team-high, while posting six kills. Takierra Boughton (Interdisciplinary Studies) and Kaitlyn Grice (Biology) both chipped in a pair of blocks.
UNO’s best set came in the finale, where the Privateers posted a game-high 12 kills off a .194 hitting percentage. The Privateers held tight against the Huskies, until a costly 4-0 spurt by the visitors made it a six-point frame at 16-10. The Privateers brought the deficit to within three at 17-14, but an 8-4 run by HBU ended the contest.
New Orleans managed to take its first lead of the match in the opening frame, after a kill from Yauch sparked a 3-0 spree to put the Privateers ahead 5-4. UNO held onto the advantage until a 5-1 run by Houston Baptist made it 11-8 in their favor. Back-to-back points for UNO made it a two-point contest at 12-10, but five-consecutive points by HBU make it 17-10. In similar fashion to the opener, HBU used an early 5-0 run to take the advantage. UNO fought back from an early deficit to knot up the score 8-all before the rally put the visitors up 13-8. In the final plays of the second stanza HBU had another run, this one for six, to push their advantage to nine at 24-15.
“Compared to how we played last week, our play has improved,” Van Norden concluded. “We are only one match into conference play and still have a lot of time this season to continue improving.”
UNO is back in action on Saturday, Sept. 24, when they welcomes Lamar to the HPC in a Southland Conference match. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m. and admission is free.