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Late HBU rally hands SLU heartbreaking loss

The Southeastern Louisiana University volleyball team fell in heartbreaking fashion Saturday as HBU rallied from a four-point deficit in the fifth set for a Southland Conference win over the Lady Lions, 26-24, 23-25, 14-25, 25-18, 15-13, at the University Center.

With the loss, SLU (4-12, 3-2 SLC) drops into a third-place tie with McNeese (9-7, 3-2 SLC) in the conference standings. The second-place Huskies (13-6, 4-1 SLC) keep pace with Southland-leading Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (9-7, 5-0 SLC) after its Saturday sweep at UNO.

Falling behind by as much as seven points in the opening set, 19-12, the Lady Lions rallied to score 11 of the next 15 to tie up the score. HBU bounced back with three of the next four points to win a set dominated by offense. Cicily Hidalgo recorded 10 of her 24 kills in the first set as Southeastern out-hit the Huskies .368 to .298 in the opener.

Defense dominated the second set with neither team recording an attack percentage over .100, instead combining for 8.0 total blocks. The Lady Lions then cruised in the third set as the defense continued to lock down the HBU attack, with Southeastern picking up more than half of their points on errors (10 attack errors, one ball-handling error, one service error and one receiving error/service ace).

The Huskies righted the ship in the fourth, bouncing back to hit a team-high .353 as Southeastern never recovered from an early 9-2 deficit.

SLU started strong in the fifth and final set, building up a 12-7 advantage, but the Huskies rallied to score six consecutive and eight of the last nine points overall to pull off the comeback victory.

Hidalgo, a freshman from Opelousas, Louisiana, led all players with 24 kills, marking the sixth time this season she has tallied at least 20 in a single match. She also picked up 12 digs, posting her sixth double-double of the season.

Karlee Wilkerson, a senior from Springfield, Louisiana, added 17 kills for the Lady Lions, her second-highest total of the season. Preseason All-Conference selection Crispin Adams combined for seven kills and four total blocks while freshman Hannah Haerer combined for three kills and five total blocks.

Gracie Duplechein, a freshman from St. Amant, Louisiana, turned in her ninth double-double of the season, dishing out 46 assists and recording 15 digs. Ansley Tullis, a sophomore from Slidell, Louisiana, led SLU with 19 digs, joining Duplechein, Hidalgo, Calli Collins (11) and Jolie Hidalgo (11) in reaching double figures.

HBU posted 13.0 total blocks in the match, with conference-leader Ebonie Ballesteros having a hand in nine.

UP NEXT

Following the homestand, SLU returns to the road for three consecutive matches, 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Nicholls (7-9, 0-4 SLC), Oct. 16 at UNO (1-12, 1-4 SLC) and Oct. 19 at Jackson State (4-10). 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.