NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State closes the 2021 regular season on Saturday looking to bounce back in a couple of different ways.
After a frustrating loss on Thursday and one just over a month ago in Thibodaux, the Lady Demons (10-18, 4-9) are looking to flip the page when they host Nicholls (10-15, 3-10) at 1 p.m. in Prather Coliseum, the first contest of a triple-header with men’s and women’s basketball on campus.
Admission is free for all NSU home volleyball matches but fans are required to adhere to the university’s clear bag policy. Live video links for the match are available at http://www.nsudemons.com or on the NSU Athletics mobile app, a free download in either the Apple or Google stores.
Uncharacteristic struggles in serve receive cost the Lady Demons in Thursday’s 3-0 road loss to Southeastern. The Lady Lions set the tone early in the match with six aces in the first set. Their aggressive serves forced the Lady Demons out of system several times throughout the night, not allowing them to find a consistent offensive footing.
In a closely contested match a month ago at Nicholls, the key points NSU needed late in sets went the other way and too much “passivity” according to head coach Sean Kiracofe allowed the Colonels to take the 3-1 win.
Playing at home in the final Southland Conference regular season match of the season, and getting back to its regular steady service receptions, the Lady Demons hope to have a repeat performance like it did against UIW a week ago.
“I’d like to believe this one (Nicholls) will be just like when we played UIW the second time,” Kiracofe said. “In a lot of cases we felt like we were right there in San Antonio but couldn’t get a hold on anything and get on a roll and it was the same thing in Thibodaux.
“Maybe that comfort level of being at home will help. I feel like we match up with them well, like we did some good things down there and now it’s just a matter of tying it together on a regular basis. Hoping for that same kind of result to bounce back, take care of those tight situations and turn it into a win.”
The first time around Symone Wesley and Haley Hoang had career nights, despite the loss. Wesley pounded home 17 kills and Hoang collected 27 digs. Wesley’s total is her best of the season and Hoang needed just one more dig to match a career best.
The answer however on the other side of the net came from senior Emily Gauthreaux’s 24 kills and two 20-dig performances on the back line.
A win would give the Lady Demons some needed momentum heading into Thursday’s SLC Tournament first round. It would also give them the six seed and set up a second straight matchup with the Colonels. A Nicholls win gives them the six seed and bumps NSU to seven. The winner of Saturday’s match ultimately determines what color jersey they wear in Houston and who has the momentum.