Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic
11 a.m. – Eastern Michigan vs. Florida A&M
1:30 p.m. – UL vs. McNeese
4 p.m. – Florida A&M vs. McNeese
6:30 p.m. – UL vs. Eastern Michigan
10 a.m. – Eastern Michigan vs. McNeese
12:30 p.m. – UL vs. Florida A&M
VOLLEYBALL: UL (0-3) vs. McNeese (2-2), Friday, 1:30 p.m., and vs. Eastern Michigan (1-2), Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Earl K. Long Gym, Lafayette
RADIO: none. LIVE STREAM: ragincajuns.com
Opening weekend wasn’t what UL volleyball coach Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot or her squad expected.
“If anyone had told me we’d go 0-3 last weekend, I would have said that’s crazy,” Mazeitis-Fontenot said after the Ragin’ Cajuns' DoubleTree I-10 Challenge tournament. “But it’s tough to win when you’re just error, error, error.”
The Cajuns will look to blot out the nightmares of the season’s opening losses to Incarnate Word, UTEP and Tulane when they host their second straight home weekend tournament. UL welcomes McNeese, Eastern Michigan and Florida A&M for the seventh Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic Friday and Saturday at historic Earl K. Long Gym.
UL faces McNeese (2-2) in its first tournament game at 1:30 p.m. Friday, after Eastern Michigan (1-2) and Florida A&M (1-4) open play at 11 a.m., and Mazeitis-Fontenot said she’s expecting her team to finish better than the previous weekend. The Cajuns did not win a set in the three matches, but led in all nine and had leads near the end in more than half (five) of those sets.
UL’s soccer team took a win and managed a draw in its two-match trek to Illinois last weekend, and that was cause for celebration.
“We just errored the other team back into the set,” she said. “We weren’t able to finish, hitting balls out of bounds. We were aced 10 times by UTEP, and I can’t remember the last time we had that.
“The good news is that everything we did is fixable. We out-dug our opponents all weekend long so we had opportunities. Our offense has always carried us before and I’m confident that will come. Our hitters just have to do a better job.”
The Cajuns had 98 kills but 62 kill errors in last weekend’s three matches, compiling an .099 percentage in a statistic where .200 is considered average. They also struggled with service return (19 opponent aces), but the biggest disparity was at the net where UL was out-blocked by a 28-16 margin.
“Incarnate Word had 13 blocks on us in three sets, that’s just insane,” Mazeitis-Fontenot said. “We’re not doing a good job of hitting it off hands, tooling the block. The hitter should have the advantage, but that’s how teams came back against us … block, block, block and they’re back in the set.”
The Cajuns will also face Eastern Michigan at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Florida A&M at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the tournament, which is held in memory of former Cajuns player Sawyer Camillo who passed away in 2012 between her freshman and sophomore seasons. There is no charge for admission to the tournament.
Returning All-Sun Belt Conference outside hitter Hali Wisnoskie had 19 kills and fellow returnees Desiree Johnson and Dree’Ana Abram and newcomer Celeste Darling all had 18 in the opening weekend. However, three of that foursome had double-figure kill errors.
Junior college transfer Hannah Ramirez had a solid debut weekend, sharing team-high dig totals (37) with returning defender Milayne Danna and earning all-tournament honors. Ramirez had her first start at the libero spot and recorded 19 digs in the three-set loss to Tulane last Saturday.
“The good news is we played pretty good defense,” Mazeitis-Fontenot said. “We used two different liberos and both did well. We put a ton of work into our defense in the preseason, so now it’s time for our offense to go to work.”