The 10 Most Memorable UL Games of 2010
And while that may have some merit, there were plenty of games that gave Cajuns' fans reasons to smile. Here is my top 10 of Cajuns' games to remember.
While the average fan may not choose a couple of these (the masses aren't big soccer and volleyball fans) those teams had some milestone wins that deserve to be on this list.
10. Soccer: Cajuns clinch tourney berth with clutch win over FIU: Louisiana 2, FIU 1: 10/24/10
There was no question that Scott Wieland's soccer team was much improved in 2010. But to prove that, it would be necessary to win at the end of the season against a quality opponent in order to clinch the Cajuns' first tourney berth since 2007. The Cajuns responded with a big win over Florida International at the Cajun soccer complex to get their ninth win of the year. The Cajuns fell behind early when the Panthers got a goal in the fifth minute, but UL got the equalizer two minutes later on a goal by Chelsea Balestra. The game remained knotted until the 86th minute when Cayla Chatman scored for the Cajuns. Amanda Moorfield pitched a shutout after the early goal against FIU, who came into the match with a 6-3 conference mark. The Cajuns would go on to record 10 wins, the best ever for the program. ANnd, their 28 goals allowed for the season tied the all time mark as well.
9. Football: Hot enough for ya? Cajuns hold on to beat ASU Louisiana 31, Arkansas State 24: 9/11/10
Fans will remember this one for the stifling heat. The temperature on the field reached 119 degrees for the regionally televised game on the Sun Belt Network. The Cajuns had good balance offensively, with 456 yards total offense. A Kevis Streeter run on the Cajuns' first offensive play set the tone and gave the Cajuns an early 7-0 lead. After ASU made the score 10-7, the Cajuns struck back on a Chris Masson pass to LaDarius Green, then got a touchdown pass from Javone Lawson to Rico Joseph to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room. A Chris Masson 60 yard run in the third quarter made the score 31-7 before ASU scored 17 unanswered points to cut the lead to 31-24. A Maurice Rolle interception late in the game sealed the win for the Cajuns, who evened their record at 1-1 for the year.
8. Women's Basketball--Bell's career-high snaps long losing streak: Louisiana 80, North Texas 78 1/6/10
The streak was 21. That's how many Sun Belt games in a row that Louisiana's womens' basketball team had lost entering their game against North Texas at EK Long gym. But the Cajuns used 58% shooting in the second half to overcome a double digit deficit in the 999th game in program history. The Cajuns grabbed the lead at the midway point of the second half and made enough free throws down the stretch to get the long-awaited win. Lyndra Bell had a career high 18 points to lead the Cajuns. Jasmine Barnes had one of her best games to date, with 18 points, seven assists and five boards. Mercedes Johnson and Nicole Morris also scored in double digits.
7. Volleyball: Cajuns close out home schedule with huge win: Louisiana 3, Arkansas St. 1: 10/30/10
The 2010 season was going to be a huge question mark for the Cajuns' Volleyball team. Attrition and accusations led to a shakeup of the squad in the offseason and not much was expected with nine newcomers on the squad. But coach Heather Mazeitis' squad roared to life in 2010, with their most wins in a decade. None was bigger than the home finale against Arkansas State. The Cajuns hadn't beaten the Red Wolves since 2002. But on an emotional Senior Day, the Cajuns got that huge win by a 3-1 margin. Junior Leslie Mirarchi, who would go on to achieve All-Sun Belt honors, had 17 kills and five blocks to lead the Cajuns to the big win. The Cajuns would go on to secure the #7 seed in the Conference Tournament, the first appearance for the Cajuns in eight years.
6. Men's basketball: Cajuns close out perfect SBC home slate: Louisiana 73, ULM 71 2/20/10
Although the Cajuns struggled to a 13-17 record in 2009-10, Robert Lee's squad had a couple of things on which to hang their hats. Tyren Johnson raised his game to previously unforseen heights, garnering Player of the Year honors in the Sun Belt. And, the Cajuns did not lose a conference game at home. The icing was on Senior Night as the Cajuns made it 9-0 in the 'Dome with a 73-71 win over ULM. Johnson capped off his home dominance with 26 points and the Cajuns hit 11-19 three pointers in the contest. They'd need every one of them. Raymone Andrews hit two free throws with 1:27 left, and Colby Batiste blocked three shots in the final minute to cap off the perfect season.
5. Baseball: The turnaround begins: Louisiana 6, Troy 0 4/9/10
The Cajuns were 15-14 after a midweek win at Northwestern State. But Louisiana was stuck at 4-8 in conference play and with Troy coming to town, many felt that if the Cajuns couldn't win the series, even a conference tournament appearance might be a long shot. But on this Friday night, senior righthander Zach Osborne set the tone for the rest of the season with a one hit shutout as the Cajuns continued their Friday domination over the Trojans with a 6-0 win. Osborne, who had beaten Troy with a four hitter a year before, faced just four batters over the minimum. The Cajuns got two run homers from Chad Keefer, who extended his hitting streak to 22 games, and Jordan Porrier to grab a 6-0 lead after three innings. Osborne did the rest, allowing one walk and striking out seven. The Cajuns went on to sweep the series and started a streak where they won 17 of their last 18 Sun Belt games to grab a share of the league championship.
4. Softball: Back to the Supers. Louisiana 6, Texas A&M 1 5/23/10
This one was over early. The Cajuns pounded out 14 hits to win the Baton Rouge regional, hammering the Aggies 6-1. Gabby Bridges, who was named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player, launched a three run homer to make this one a no-doubter. It turned a 1-0 game into a 4-0 game and the Cajuns turned it over to Brittany Cuevas. The senior notched her 22nd win of the season, scattering four hits and getting 12 ground ball outs. It was the second time in three seasons that the Cajuns left Tiger Park with a regional title.
3. Football: No Soup for You...no Bowl, either. Louisiana 23, ULM 22 11/27/10
One team played for the postseason. The other played for pride. Pride won. In Rickey Bustle's last game as Louisiana's head coach, the Cajuns blocked an extra point late in the game and came away a 23-22 winner over Louisiana-Monroe to deny the Warhawks a possible bowl bid. The Cajuns trailed 10-0 and 13-3 before mounting a comeback which began with a Chris Masson 73 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Spikes. A Brett Baer field goal early in the third quarter tied the score, and the Cajun took the lead on another Baer field goal, 16-13. The Cajuns made it 23-13 toward the end of the third quarter before the Warhawks came back in the fourth stanza. A ten yard Kolton Browning run cut the lead to one point with just under five minutes remaining, but Cooper Gerami blocked the PAT to keep the lead at one point. The Cajuns drove the length of the field, but an interception deep in ULM territory gave the Warhawks one last chance. But the Cajun defense forced four incompletions to seal the win and send Bustle and the seniors out with a win. Masson threw for a career high 330 yards and senior linebacker Grant Fleming had 17 tackles to lead the Cajuns.
2. Softball--Cajuns beat Tigers for the third straight time: Louisiana 1, LSU 0 5/22/10
If it was atmosphere you wanted, Tiger Park was the place to be. A capacity crowd, half dressed in purple and gold, half dressed in Vermilion and White, were on the edge of their seats on every pitch in a classic nailbiter. It turned out to be Narissa Meyers' two out RBI single in the fourth that gave the Cajuns the heart-stopping 1-0 victory over #17 LSU. It was Donna Bourgeois' day in the circle as the Lafayette junior stymied LSU on just five hits. LSU got three runners in scoring position in the game, but each time Bourgeois worked out of trouble. She struck out five and won her 23rd game of the year, along with notching her 10th shutout of the season. Surprisingly, the Cajuns would face Texas A&M, not LSU for the championship the next day, which almost made the championship anti-climactic.
1. Baseball: The Wizard saves the best for last: UL 1, Rice 0 6/4/10
Louisiana was named the #3 seed in the Austin Regional for the NCAA Tournament. This, after the Cajuns slipped in the Sun Belt Tournament, going two and out. That might have cost the Cajuns a #2 seed and the field in Austin was a tough one. And, by virtue of their #3 seed, the Cajuns drew a very good hitting Rice club in game one.
They shouldn't have worried.
Zach Osborne, who had as good a senior season on the mound as any Cajun has ever had, scattered five hits and Chad Keefer's bloop single in the eighth inning scored the game's only run as Louisiana advanced with a 1-0 win. Osborne held the potent Rice offense to 1-10 with runners in scoring position as the Cajuns advanced. It was only the second complete game shutout ever for a Cajuns pitcher in the NCAA Tournament (Andy Gros vs. LSU in 2002). Osborne struck out only four, but made big pitch after big pitch as he closed his Cajuns' career with his ninth win of the season. The Cajuns would fall the next day to Texas and then were eliminated by Rice, but Osborne's performance was the talk of the regional.