BATON ROUGE – Desiree Elliott turned in an all-around career-best performance with 11 kills on a .600 hitting percentage to go along with eight blocks to lift the No. 12 LSU volleyball team to a 3-1 victory over Arkansas [25-17, 17-25, 25-13, 25-17] Wednesday in-front of a national television audience at the Maravich Center.
Angela Bensend ripped a match-high 15 kills to run her streak to 12 straight matches with double digit kills, while Madie Jones and Michele Williams posted nine spikes apiece. Jones, the reigning SEC Offense Player of the Week, attacked at .471 ratio on her 17 swings.
“Desi is going to out-quick people, you have to make a choice on her,” head coach Fran Flory said. “For her to have 11 kills on 15 swings is a really, really nice performance. I would loved to have passed a little better to be able to create for her a few more opportunities. Madie is just on a high right now. She’s doing a great job, taking great swings, smart shots and she’s finishing. If we can continue that rhythm with her, she’s going to put up some nice numbers the second half of the season.”
Brittney Johnson passed out 38 assists and tacked on five kills as LSU (17-1, 8-1 SEC) notched its 34th consecutive win over a SEC Western Division opponent dating back to the 2006 season. Tania Schatow tacked on four blocks and a pair of kills.
The Tigers limited Arkansas (9-11, 3-6 SEC) to a .122 hitting percentage. Meghan Mannari sprawled out for a career-high 14 digs, while Lauren Waclawczyk garnered 12 scoops. Sam Delahoussaye chipped in nine digs of her own. During LSU’s three set victories, the Tigers sided out at a 76 percent clip.
“We’re excited about the win. We’re not very excited about the level we played at tonight,” head coach Fran Flory said. “It was a very uncharacteristic night for us. We were very high error in many areas. We didn’t really attack the ball very well. It was kind of a disappointing showing but a win is a win. We’re certainly happy with that.”
After seven ties and two early lead changes, LSU kicked it into high gear. Ahead 12-11, the Tigers exploded for nine of the next 12 points to put the frame out of reach. Bensend highlighted the run with three kills. LSU connected for a .385 hitting percentage and closed out the 25-17 win as Delahoussaye’s dig found a spot on the floor on the Arkansas side of the net.
The Razorbacks regrouped in set two and surged out to a 16-11 edge taking advantage of five LSU hitting miscues along with four service errors. The Tigers charged back to 16-14 after Bensend and Williams powered home back-to-back kills. After an Arkansas timeout, the Razorbacks used a 9-3 finishing kick for the 25-17 victory to even the match at a set apiece.
LSU fired back with a 15-4 charge out of the locker room. At one point, the Tigers reeled off eight consecutive points on Williams serve and never looked back in the 25-13 triumph. Jones cracked five kills on her seven swings to fuel the offense, while LSU’s defense stifled Arkansas to seven kills on seven errors in 29 attempts.
“Madie [Jones] is really taking control right now,” Waclawczyk said. “When she wants to get something going, she’s going to get it done and she’s proven that. It’s so good to have that in a player, that fire and that desire. All her hard work is really starting to pay off, I’m so happy for her.”
LSU also led wire-to-wire in the fourth set. Elliott rolled to six spikes on seven swings during the frame as the Tigers secured 12 of the final 17 points for the 25-17 win. LSU also belted five of its 10 aces in the set as Delahoussaye, Waclawczyk and Williams recorded multiple aces for the match.
“I think when our passing is really good and when we pass threes and twos right on Brittney Johnson it’s really easy to get a good offense going,” Jones said. “I’m glad we’ve been working on that at practice because when it comes through in games it helps us win.”
LSU hits the road Friday to face Ole Miss to conclude a stretch of four matches in eight days. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Network.