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Dig the Lions kicks off homestand

The Southeastern Louisiana University volleyball team opens a two-match homestand Thursday with a Southland Conference contest against McNeese as part of the annual Dig the Lions promotion at the University Center.

First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The first 300 students through the doors of the arena will receive a free t-shirt. Admission is free to all home matches this season and fans are asked to enter the arena upstairs at Gate 3.

In addition to the McNeese (8-6, 2-1 SLC) contest, Southeastern (3-11, 2-1 SLC) will host HBU (12-5, 3-0 SLC) at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Huskies enter the week tied for first in the conference standings with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (7-7, 3-0 SLC). McNeese and SLU are currently tied for third.

Live stats are available for both matches while Thursday’s game against the Cowgirls will stream on ESPN+. Media links can be found on the volleyball schedule page at www.LionSports.net.

Southeastern is coming off a sweep of UIW in the final match of what turned out to be a 14-game road trip to open the 2021 regular season. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, three matches originally scheduled for the University Center were moved to either an opponent’s campus or a neutral site and yet another was canceled.

Lady Lion freshman Cicily Hidalgo, an outside hitter from Opelousas, Louisiana, leads the Southland in total kills (223), kills per set (3.91), points (239.0), points per set (4.19), total attacks (642) and attacks per set (11.26).

Other key personnel driving the SLU offensive attack are Karlee Wilkerson (2.54 k/set), a senior from Springfield, Louisiana, Crispin Adams (1.91 k/set), a preseason All-Conference selection from Brookshire, Texas, and Addie Vidrine (1.90 k/set), a junior from Lafayette, Louisiana.

Adams is eighth in attack percentage (.270) while Wilkerson ranks eighth in the conference in kills.

Gracie Duplechein (8.12 a/set), a freshman from St. Amant, Louisiana, has taken over as the primary setter and currently ranks second in the conference in total assists (463).

Ansley Tullis, a sophomore libero from Slidell, leads the team with 4.21 digs per set, ranking sixth in the Southland. Hannah Brewer, a freshman outside hitter from Benton, Arkansas, ranks ninth in the conference in blocks (0.86 b/set).

McNeese is coming off back-to-back conference wins over Nicholls and UNO.

The Cowgirls are led offensively by Aryn Johnson (2.85 k/set), Regan Stiawalt (2.24 k/set) and Ceci Harness (5.91 a/set). Lending a helping hand is former Lady Lions Baylee Laskoskie (3.89 a/set) and Lizzy Low (1.10 a/set).

Stiawalt ranks second in the conference with an average of 0.41 service aces per set.

Low leads the team in digs (3.44 d/set) while Bria Plante (0.91 b/set) and Jaylin Gordon (0.82 b/set) are McNeese’s top blocking threats.

HBU, which has won four straight overall, plays Thursday at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana before facing the Lady Lions.

A balanced offensive attack has propelled the Huskies to the top of the conference, with five players averaging at least two kills per set. Directing the offense is setter Ellie Wipf, the Southland leader in total assists (551) and assists per set (9.50 a/set).

The Huskies also feature the top three blocking threats in the conference. Ebonie Ballesteros leads the circuit in total blocks (70) and blocks per set (1.30 b/set).

UP NEXT

Following the homestand, SLU returns to the road for matches at Nicholls, UNO and Jackson State. The Lady Lions then play five of their final seven regular-season matches inside the friendly confines of the University Center.

DIGGIN’ IT CLUB / S CLUB
Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the Southeastern volleyball program are encouraged to join the Diggin’ It Club. Lion volleyball alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letter winners.

All membership fees and donations to both the Diggin’ It Club and S Club (volleyball) are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern volleyball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Lady Lions Volleyball, follow @LionUpVB or @JWhiteSLU on Twitter, @LionUpVB on Instagram, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.