MONROE, La. – The LSU sand volleyball team (5-9) fell, 4-1, to UL-Monroe (5-9) Wednesday at the ULM Sand Volleyball Courts.
“We knew coming in this was going to be a tall task,” associate head coach Russell Brock said. “ULM is a strong team and playing them at their place is tough. Our teams really played hard and for the most part were battling in each and every matchup. We just didn’t have enough to really finish. We have to give ULM a ton of credit, because they played better today.”
The fifth and sixth seeds kicked off competition against UL-Monroe. Katarina Raicevic and Emma Hiller took on the Warhawks’ Celine Flores and Kaitlyn Shearer in the No. 5 spot. After falling 21-11 in the first set, the pair fought back for a 21-15 second-set victory. Unable to hold on, the duo fell 15-9 in set three and gave UL-Monroe its first point of the day.
Sixth-seeds Haley Smith and Laura Whalen took on UL-Monroe’s Kayla Kane and Iren Marinova in an exhibition match and recorded a dominating 21-9 first-set win. After falling 23-21 in set two, LSU’s pair retaliated and took the third set 15-10.
The No. 3 pair of Victoria Boraski and Khourtni Fears took the court next and fell 21-15, 21-14 against the Warhawks’ Hope Pawlik and Hadley Swartz.
Fourth-seeded Briana Holman and Mimi Eugene faced UL-Monroe’s Rachel Arnason and Alannah Cullum and tallied a 21-14 first-set victory. The Warhawks took set two 21-19, and LSU retaliated to snatch up set three 15-6 to record LSU’s lone point of the day.
“Briana and Mimi were a definite bright spot,” Brock said. “They easily played their best sand volleyball of the year today. Everything worked for them in the first game. In the second game, ULM made some adjustments and got us off our game plan. Game three got refocused and really controlled the final game and won easily. It was great to watch.”
The top-spot pairs finished the day’s competition. No. 2 Kaitlin Hatcher and Helen Boyle took on the Warhawks’ Blanca Ocana and Michelle McNamee and took a 21-18, 21-16 loss.
No. 1 Meghan Mannari and Katie Lindelow fell 21-14 in the first set to UL-Monroe’s Marcela Araya and Zuzana Markova. The pair maintained a tight second set but ultimately fell 21-18 to give the Warhawks their final point of the day.
The Tigers wrap up the regular season Saturday as they host Tulane and UAB in the Battle on the Bayou at Mango’s Beach Volleyball. LSU will face Tulane at 10 a.m. and UAB at 4 p.m.
For the latest information on LSU sand volleyball, follow the Tigers on Twitter and Instagram @LSUsandVB and @RussLSUsand and at www.Facebook.com/LSUsandVB.
UL-Monroe 4, LSU 1
1. Araya/Markova (ULM) def. Mannari/Lindelow (LSU) 21-14, 21-18
2. Ocana/McNamee (ULM) def. Boyle/Hatcher (LSU) 21-18, 21-16
3. Swartz/Pawlik (ULM) def. Boraski/Fears (LSU) 21-15, 21-14
4. Holman/Eugene (LSU) def. Arnason/Cullum (ULM) 21-14, 19-21, 15-6
5. Flores/Shearer (ULM) def. Hiller/Raicevic (LSU) def. 21-11, 15-21, 15-9
6 Exhibition. Smith/Whalen (LSU) def. Kane/Marinova (ULM) 21-9, 21-23, 15-10