ULM Warhawks vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves Volleyball Match Preview: November 3-4, 2023

2023-11-02 15:26:33

MATCHES 27-28: ULM WARHAWKS (4-22, 0-12) vs. ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES (12-12, 2-10)
6 p.m., Friday, November 3, 2023 | 2 p.m., Saturday, November 4, 2023 | Fant-Ewing Coliseum| Monroe, Louisiana
TV/STREAM: ESPN+ Friday, ESPN+ Saturday | LIVE STATS: Friday, Saturday

MATCH NOTES

MONROE, La. – The ULM volleyball team returns to Fant-Ewing Coliseum for the final four matches of the regular season, starting at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday against Arkansas State. ULM has dropped 43 consecutive matches to the Red Wolves, dating back to 1989. The Warhawks are 4-22 overall and 0-12 in the Sun Belt Conference while A-State is 12-12 overall and 2-10 in the SBC.

FOLLOW THE WARHAWKS –

Links to live video and stats for all matches are available on ULMWarhawks.com. Navigate to the volleyball schedule page and select that day’s opponent.

JEFFUS LEADS THE ATTACK –

Middle blocker Logan Jeffus has been one of the most productive players for the Warhawks in 2023. Jeffus is second on the Warhawks with 221 kills with a .310 hitting percentage. She has 57 total blocks (19 solo, 38 assist) and 52 career solo blocked shots, which ranks fourth in the 25-point rally scoring era. She has reached double digit kills nine times in 2023 including a career-high 20 kills against App State last Saturday.

She has been named to two All-Tournament teams this season. She was named Most Valuable Player of the New Orleans Invitational (Sept. 8-9) after leading the team with nine kills and two blocks vs. Southern on Sept. 8 and added 16 kills with two blocks on Sept. 9 at UNO. She hit a career high .615 (9-1-13) against Southern before topping it against UNO at .652 (16-1-23). Her .652 hitting percentage against UNO broke her own school-record hitting percentage for a four-set match in the 25-point rally scoring era.

Jeffus was named to the All-Tournament Team at the EIU Panther Invitational to open the season on Aug. 25-26. She had 25 kills over three matches, including 16 in the five-set win against Akron on Aug. 25.

BOTKIN CONTINUES STRONG SOPHOMORE SEASON –

Sophomore setter Brynn Botkin leads ULM with 245 kills with a .205 hitting percentage. She has a team-best 33 serve aces and is third on the team in digs with 204. She has 15 double-figure kill matches including six-straight going into this weekend, nine double-figure digs matches, and seven double-doubles in 2023. She produced 20 kills and 14 digs against App State on Saturday, October 14.

For the second-straight season, Botkin was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Battle For The Boot from September 15-16. Botkin put up 13 kills with six digs, three service aces and one block against Southeastern on Sept. 15. She added nine kills, 11 digs, two aces and two blocks against Southern on Sept. 15. She capped the tournament with seven kills while hitting .313 with five digs and an ace at Northwestern State on Sept. 16.

In the month of September, Botkin led ULM with 148 kills with a team-best 27 aces and was tied for third on the team with 117 digs. She had nine double-figure kill matches, five double-figure dig matches and three double-doubles in September, posting 12 kills and a season-high 17 digs against Indiana State on Sept. 1, 13 kills and 16 digs at McNeese on Sept. 19, and 15 kills and 16 digs on Sept. 22 at Texas State.

Botkin also was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Lindenwood Invitational. Botkin totaled 30 kills (2.3 per set) and 29 digs (2.2 per set) in the three-match event. She opened the tournament with 12 kills and a season-high 17 digs against Indiana State on Sept. 1. She added seven kills and 11 digs against Lindenwood on Sept. 1 before capping the tournament with 11 kills and one dig against Austin Peay on Sept. 2.

ROBERSON TOPS 1,000 ASSISTS –

Sophomore setter Bailey Roberson made history at the New Orleans Invitational when she passed 1,000 career assists, becoming only the fifth Warhawk ever to do so in the 25-point rally scoring era (2008-present). She currently stands at 1,360 career assists (6.36 per set), which places her fourth all-time in the 25-point rally scoring era. She leads the Warhawks in 2023 with 425 assists (5.10 per set). She has surpassed 20 assists 15 times this season and has seven assist-dig double-doubles in 2023 with the latest one being against the Ragin’ Cajuns last Saturday (23 assists, 10 digs). The Decatur, Texas, native had 835 assists as a true freshman in 2022, the fourth most for ULM in a single season since the start of the 25-point rally scoring era.

Roberson also was named to the New Orleans Invitational All-Tournament Team with 40 assists over two matches against Southern and UNO.

ROGERS REACHES 1,000 CAREER DIGS –

Junior defensive specialist/libero Cameron Rogers is the team leader in digs with 395 (3.91 per set). She has reached double-digit digs in 21 of the last 23 matches and reached 20 digs in five of those matches. She totaled a career-high 27 digs in ULM’s five-set win over Akron on Aug. 25 and matched that number on Sept. 15 vs. Southeastern. Rogers was named Libero of the Tournament at the New Orleans Invitational (Sept. 8-9) with 32 total digs across two matches.

Rogers has totaled 1,062 digs throughout two-plus seasons at ULM. Against South Alabama, she placed herself in ULM’s Top-5 digs list in the 25-point rally scoring era with two digs over Albany Schaffer’s 953 from 2016-19. Rogers became just the fourth Warhawk in the 25-point rally scoring era to reach 1,000 career digs on Saturday, which has only been achieved by Marcela Araya (1,896, 2011-14), Kacey LeBlanc (1,113, 2015-17) and Christy Tribble (1,025, 2008-10).

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Rogers surpassed Tribble for third place on the Top-5 list last weekend against Troy. She is 83 digs away from reaching second place on the list.

Rogers also entered ULM’s career service aces list. Her 68 career service aces is tied with Hope Pawlik for fourth place on the ULM all-time list in the 25-point rally scoring era.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? –

ULM freshman outside hitter Ariana Brown is third on the team with 214 kills (2.25 per set). She has reached double-digit kills in eleven matches, including a season-high 14 kills in the five-set win over Akron on Aug. 25 and against South Alabama on Sept. 29. She tallied 12 kills and a season-high eight digs at Grambling on Aug. 29 and added 13 kills and seven digs vs. Austin Peay on Sept. 2. She picked up 10 kills and a season-high three blocks on Sept. 19 at McNeese.

ROAD WARRIORS –

The 2023 season has involved a good amount of time on the team bus. The Warhawks traveled on the road for the first 16 games of the season, and after playing two home matches, went on the road for four more. The Warhawks played just their third and fourth home matches last Friday and Saturday vs. Troy. A similar scenario happened last season when ULM only played one home game in 14 non-conference games to open the season.

KEARNS TAKES CONTROL –

Head coach Matt Kearns is in the middle of his first season as a collegiate head coach at ULM. Kearns was a graduate assistant coach and assistant coach for six seasons for Northern Kentucky. While he was there, the Norse posted a 108-69 record. Before that, he was a student coach and technical advisor at Xavier from 2013-2017.

JEFFUS, THOMAS, ROBERSON, ROGERS HEADLINE RETURNERS –

Top returners for the Warhawks include middle blocker Logan Jeffus, outside hitter Taylor Thomas, setter Bailey Roberson and defensive specialist/libero Cameron Rogers.

Jeffus had 24 block solos in 2022, which ranks third-most in a single season for ULM in the 25-point rally scoring era (since 2008). Her 33 career block solos rank fifth in the same time span. She also finished third in single season hitting percentage last season at .284

Thomas recorded 186 kills, which ranked third on the team, and 278 assists, the second highest in the club in 2022.

Roberson racked up 835 assists in 2022, which ranks fourth in a single season in the 25-point rally scoring era for ULM.

Rogers tallied 442 digs as a sophomore in 2022, which is fifth-most in a single season for ULM in the 25-point rally scoring era.

DEPTH PROVIDED BY BIG RETURNING GROUP –

In addition to the four returners highlighted above, ULM has six more returners on the roster. Outside hitter Emily Adams returns after playing in 52 sets over 25 matches last season. Outside hitter/right side Brynn Botkin piled up 181 kills last year while playing in 106 sets over 31 matches. Defensive specialist Callie Humphrey saw time in 108 sets over 31 matches, picking up 210 digs. Outside hitter/right side Lydia Mesusan saw increased playing time late in the 2022 season, playing in 36 sets over 18 matches. Outside hitter/defensive specialist Sandlin Short saw limited action, playing in nine sets over six matches. Right side/middle blocker Madeline Villarreal returns after playing in 38 sets over 14 matches. Villarreal missed the last six weeks of the 2022 season with an injury.

TALL FRESHMEN GROUP LOOKS TO MAKE IMMEDIATE IMPACT –

Matt Kearns will work with eight freshmen newcomers in 2023. Seven of the eight players stand 6-0 or taller, including middle blocker Kenzie Behl (6-0), outside hitter Ariana Brown (6-0), right-side hitter Addison Chapman (6-3), setter Morgan Howard (6-0), outside hitter Maddie Peterson (6-0), middle blocker Hannah Redrow (6-2) and middle blocker Kylie Stehlin (6-2). Only defensive specialist/libero Olivia Sanchez (5-9) stands under 6-0. Six of the eight newcomers also come from Texas, while Peterson comes to ULM from Florida and Stehlin is from Missouri.

A LOOK AHEAD –

The Warhawks will stay home for the final series of the season when they host Georgia State. The series will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 9 and 2 p.m. Friday, November 10 at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

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