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VOLLEYBALL: Cardinals nearly sweep Classic

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT — Fighting to the final point, Lamar came within a hair of a clean sweep of the Cardinal Classic, forcing extras in the fourth and final set against Howard on Friday night. The Cards ulimately fell 30-28 in the set and 3-1 in the second match of the day, which followed a momentous 3-1 win over Southern at noon.
“I thought we fought incredibly hard tonight,” said head coach Michelle Kuester. “We had some really big swings late in game 4 from freshman Kinsy Haschke and Mercedes Danrich that show the future is bright. We have to work to consistently keep our composure in pressure situations and trust each other to do their jobs. Overall, I really feel like we are on the right track and I’m excited to get back in the gym.”

Trailing early, Lamar bounced back with a big run, first tying the game at 10-10 and then taking seven of the next 10 points to lead 17-13. Service errors by both teams swung momentum back and forth briefly, but Lamar buckled down, taking the set 25-17 capped by a 7-2 run.
Parallel to the first set, Lamar took the early led in the second set before Southern fought back to tie the game at 6-6 and then overtake the lead on the next point. LU would tie it again at 7-7 before the Jags started to pull away, winning the second set 25-15.
The momentum pendulum again swung between the two teams in the third set with a tie at 8-8, but Southern mental errors proved the Jags’ undoing. LU capitalized, jumping out to a 14-9 lead and holding Southern at arms’ length the rest of the set. Big Red won the game 25-20 and took a 2-1 advantage into the fourth.
The Jaguars led four times in the fourth set and tied the game at 17-17, but LU was determined to notch its second win of the Kuester era. Kills by Tomar Thomas and Murielle Hlavac and an ace from Hlavac gave LU a three-point lead, 20-17, which gave LU enough breathing room to pull away. Lamar took the final set 25-21 and the match 3-1.
Freshman Mercedes Danrich impressed throughout the match, totaling 11 kills with a .348 hitting percentage and five total blocks. Not to be outdone, Thomas racked up 14 kills, six digs, three total blocks, and an ace. Zahria Scott also played a pivotal role with 20 digs and an ace.

Heart and determination were again evident in the first set of Lamar’s Cardinal Classic finale; LU trailed by as much as seven points, 15-8, but kept fighting, retaking the lead 21-20 for the first time since the opening serve. Howard tied the set at 21 points apiece on a service error, but three straight errors from the Bison paved the way for Thomas to win the set 25-21 with a demonstrative kill.
LU carried its momentum from the first set into the opening points of the second, but several big runs by Howard put the game out of reach. The Bison took the second set 25-19 to put the game even at one set apiece heading into the break.
Tied at 5-5, Howard strung together a 12-2 run to jump out in front, 17-7, over LU in the third. The Bison would win nine of the final 11 points to take a 25-10 victory in the third game.
Big Red again attempted to overcome adversity in the fourth and final set. The Cards trailed by seven points, 22-15, and were just three points away from losing the match when they fought back with a 6-0 run. Howard snapped the streak with a kill, but LU would take the next three points to overtake HU and force set point at 24-23 Lamar. The two teams traded points several times before Howard took two in a row to force its first match point of the evening at 28-27. Again LU held its ground with a kill from freshman Kinsy Haschke, tying the game at 28-28, before consecutive Bison kills ended the set. Howard escaped McDonald Gym with a 3-1 “overtime” victory over Lamar.

The Cards return to action next Friday in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup, hosted by the University of Houston. Lamar will face Cornell first at 2 p.m. on Friday followed by Houston at 12 p.m. Saturday and UTSA at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Big Red will be on the road until Sept. 25 when it returns to McDonald Gym to host Incarnate Word.


On Friday, Memorial defeated Bob Hope 25-9, 25-10, 25-13; and Nederland defeated Hamshire-Fannett 25-20, 25-18, 25-22.

For Nederland, Jenna Jarrett dished 21 assists, Destyn Miguez had 19 digs and an ace, Hannah Hickey made 12 kills and five blocks, Meg Sheppard killed nine and dug six and Karley McGill had eight kills and nine digs.