LAFAYETTE, La. – University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros volleyball head coach Todd Lowery won his program record of 110e career win Friday as the Vaqueros beat the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17) to end a 2-0 day at the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic in Earl K Long Gym.

Lowery is tied with David Thorn (1998-2006) as the winningest head coach in program history. The Vaqueros (5-1) have a chance to put Lowery only first overall when they face North Dakota State on Saturday at 9 a.m. to close out the Classic.

Senior outside hitter Sarah Cruz led the UTRGV to their fifth straight victory with a game-high 21 kills on a .264 hitting percentage, nine digs and three blocks. The Vaqueros totaled 12 blocks as a team. Junior Medium Blocker Luisa Silva Dos Santos and second grade intermediate blocker Marguerite Giani recorded six and five blocks respectively, and each had six kills. Second-year outside hitter Ingridy Fotran had nine victims. Second year passer Luanna Emiliano delivered 38 assists and tabbed 15 digs. junior libero red shirt Regina Tijerina had 27 game-leading recoveries.

The Ragin’ Cajuns were led offensively by Kelsey Bennet (19 victims) and Coco Gillet (13 killed). They had 10 blocks in total, led by Kara Barnes’ four. Reka Kotorman and Siena Decambra recorded 23 and 21 assists, and Bennett had a team-high 22 digs.

Five of Louisiana’s blocks came in the first set, helping them to a 25-22 win. The Vaqueros had a 15-7 lead, but the big block thwarted their offensive efficiency and held them to a .094 hit percentage.

The Ragin’ Cajuns took an 8-4 lead in the second set, but Cruz and the Vaqueros rallied to tie the game at 1-1 with a 25-19 set win. A solo block from Santos gave the UTRGV their first lead at 12-11, then back-to-back wins from Foltran and the second-year outside hitter Ada Bulgour put the Vaqueros up 15-13. Giani and Co. threw the block into the frame to force a plethora of unforced errors from Louisiana.

UTRGV dominated the third set and opened an early 7-0 lead. Cruz recorded the first three points of the frame on a kill, a block and another kill. Louisiana responded with a four-run run to cut the deficit to 14-9, but the UTRGV block quickly turned the tide in their favor as Giani and Cruz took control over the net. The Vaqueros trailed by no less than eight points in the frame, won 25-17.

UTRGV continued to roll in the fourth. Santos ace and junior outside hitter Ioanna Charitonidi put the Vaqueros ahead by four, then a series of blocks slowed Louisiana and allowed them to open a 19-11 advantage. Santos and Bulgur held off an attack from Bennett to secure the 25-17 victory in the fourth.

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