NEW ORLEANS – The University of New Orleans volleyball opened up a three-match homestand on Tuesday evening, dropping a competitive five-set contest to Nicholls (16-25, 25-21, 27-25, 20-25, 15-10). The Privateers put together one of their best outings of the season, setting a plethora of season-highs.
New Orleans (4-17, 1-7 Southland) boasted 69 kills, 65 assists and 14 service aces, all team-highs, while posting double-digit blocks for the third time this season with 10 total.
“It’s tough to lose a close match, especially when you do so many things right,” head coach Millicent Van Norden explained. “Nicholls had a game plan that they stuck too all five sets and we did not.”
Individually, freshman outside hitter Jordan Yauch (Biological Science) boasted 21 kills, the most by a Privateers player this season, with 13 digs for a double-double while also chipping in four service aces. Freshman setter Sarah Thomas (Accounting & Finance) also set her personal-best with 61 assists with a pair of assisted blocks in the match.
Defensively, sophomore defensive specialist Samantha Uline (Exercise Physiology) anchored the Privateers with 22 digs while paces UNO’s potent attack from the service line with five aces. Senior middle blocker Keke Richards (Business Management) led UNO at the net with two solo blocks and four assisted blocks while junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Grice (Biology), Rondolyn Bryant (Exercise Physiology) and Thomas all logged multiple blocks in the match.
UNO used a match-best 16 kills off a .448 hitting percentage to muscle out a 25-16 opening set victory. Nicholls (6-18, 1-7 Southland) kept the frame tied until a 6-0 run by the hosts with two service aces from junior outside hitter Cara Sanders (Marketing) to put the Privateers ahead 19-13.
Nicholls responded with a 25-21 victory where the Colonels never trailed. The third set never saw a team lead by more than three in a competitive back-and-fourth match, but the Privateers could not survive 27-25. UNO got the first set point of the frame after a kill from sophomore outside hitter Blessing Dunn (Business Management) put UNO ahead 24-23 but Nicholls ended the frame with four of the final five points to take the 2-1 overall lead.
Facing elimination, the Privateers held Nicholls to a .073 hitting percentage to force a fifth set with a 25-20 fourth set triumph. The hosts created the early five-point advantage at 12-7 and kept a three-point separation for the remainder of the frame.
In the tiebreaker set, the Privateers scored the opening two points before a 3-0 response put Nicholls ahead. UNO kept it within one until a 5-0 run by the visitors put them ahead 10-5.
The Privateers’ homestand continues on Thursday, Oct. 20 when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the reigning Southland Conference champions, venture to the HPC with first serve slated for 7 p.m.