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Seniors carry Lamar volleyball in finale

Photo By: Jeff Kellum, Lamar Athletics

(Lamar Athletics) BEAUMONT, Texas - Tomar Thomas, Ivette Dim, Zahria Scott, Monica Strohschein, and Murielle Hlavac concluded their Lamar University volleyball careers the right way Saturday with a 3-0 sweep of Southeastern Louisiana. The outgoing student-athletes left it all out on the court after providing roughly half of the day's offense and a signifcant presence on defense.

"It was a really great match for the seniors, getting to conclude their Cardinal careers on a good note and leave with a good reflection on the program," said head coach Michelle Kuester. "We made a lot of progress throughout the year, and I think we're on the upward climb towards an even more positive year next season. I'm looking foward to what the returning classes and the incoming recruits will bring to this program in 2019. We'll have to put in a lot of hard work in the spring to eliminate errors and increase our volleyball IQ, but the future definitely looks bright."

Thomas led in kills with 10, hitting on a .227 attack percentage, and Dim was incredibly efficient in her eight kills - spiking at a .889 clip - while collecting two solo blocks in the middle. Scott, Hlavac, and Strohschein played through all three sets, accounting for a handful of service aces and several digs as well. Lamar also showed promise for the future - Abigale Nash recorded eight kills at a .333 percentage in her final freshman match, and Bre'Ala Box had eight kills and four blocks as a sophomore. Setter Alyssa Legette had 33 assists, a service ace, three digs, and a kill in her final rookie match as well.Southeastern kept it close in the first set with nine ties and six lead changes - but the final swing in momentum broke Lamar's way. The Lady Lions led the Cards 12-11 before a 6-1 run by the Cards gave Lamar a 17-13 advantage that forced a timeout for SLU. Southeastern recovered slightly out of the stoppage but didn't have nearly enough firepower to overcome that gap completely and LU went on to win 25-21.

A quick burst of offense at the start of the second set put Southeastern briefly ahead by five points, 6-1, but Lamar recouped and struck back with a 12-3 scoring blitz, taking a 13-10 lead that again forced a Lady Lion timeout. SLU pulled within two twice before Lamar's offensive firepower fully buckled down - Big Red captured 11 of the final 16 points to win the game 25-17.

An early deficit again plagued Lamar out of the halftime locker room, but kills by Nina Pevic and Nash fueled a Cardinal comeback. Lamar closed out the final set with several scoring bursts, answering each Lady Lion point with two or three for the Cards. The set quickly reached match point at 24-18, and fittingly the 2018 season came to a close with a service ace from Nash, winning the set 25-18 and the match 3-0.

The Cardinals conclude their 2018 season with a 7-20 overall record and a 4-12 mark in conference play, both drastic improvements over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. 10 of the 15 Cardinals currently on the roster have a potential to return for the 2019 campaign.

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