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    SEC Volleyball Today: August 25

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    Tennessee 3, Cincinnati 1
    Tennessee 3, Iowa State 2
    Ole Miss 3, Samford 1
    Wofford 3, Ole Miss 2
    Auburn 3, Drake 0
    Auburn 3, Wisconsin-Green Bay 0
    San Diego 3, LSU 0
    LSU 3, Cal Poly 0
    Arkansas 3, Northwestern State 1
    Arkansas 3, Kansas 1
    Kentucky 3, Lipscomb 2
    Kentucky 3, Long Beach State 1
    Alabama 3, Sacred Heart 1
    Texas A&M 3, North Dakota 0
    South Carolina 3, East Tennessee State 2
    South Carolina 3, UNC-Asheville 0
    Florida 3, Florida A&M 0
    Florida 3, Florida Gulf Coast 0
    Georgia 3, Troy 0
    Missouri 3, Nicholls State 0
    Michigan 3, Missouri 0
    Mississippi State 3, Louisiana-Monroe 1
    Kennesaw State 3, Mississippi State 2

    #15 Lady Vols Down Cincinnati, 3-1

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Three Lady Vols recorded double-digit kills to lead the 15th-ranked Tennessee volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-19, 25-14) win over Cincinnati on Saturday morning on the second day of action at the Comcast Lady Vol Classic.

    Junior Kelsey Robinson posted her 28th career double-double to pace the Lady Vols (1-1). She led all players with 14 kills while hitting a solid .324 clip and recorded 12 digs for her first double-double of the season. Sophomore Tiffany Baker and senior Leslie Cikra both converted 10 kills. Baker hit .529 in the match with just one error and finished with seven digs.

    Junior libero Ellen Mullins topped the squad defensively with 14 digs and senior DeeDee Harrison posted a nine-kill, seven-block effort in the win.

    Baker recorded five kills in the opening set and hit a perfect 1.000 (6-of-6) to guide UT to a quick 25-12 win in the first frame. UT hit .588 as a team and out-dug the Bearcats (0-2), 10-2.

    Led by Megan Turner and Amelia Wegman, Cincinnati rebounded in a back-and-forth second set to level the match at one game apiece with a 25-23 victory. Turner and Wegman combined for 11 kills in the frame. Turner finished the match with a team-high 13 kills and .423 hitting percentage.

    Robinson had six kills in the third game as the Big Orange closed the set on a 4-0 run to take the game, 25-19, and go up 2-1 in the match. Setters Mary Pollmiller and Bianca Arellano dished out a combined 12 assists in the set.

    The Lady Vols jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth behind consecutive kills from Harrison and went on to hit a scorching .571 as a team to win the set by a 25-14 margin and clinch their first win of the season.

    The Bearcats return to tournament action against No. 12 Florida State at 5:30 p.m. and Tennessee concludes the Comcast Lady Vol Classic this evening when it hosts No. 10 Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. The Cyclones shutout Cincinnati on Friday.

    Robinson Leads #15 UT Past #10 ISU, 3-2

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Led by junior Kelsey Robinson, the No. 15 University of Tennessee volleyball team earned a 3-2 comeback victory over No. 10 Iowa State in the final match of the Comcast Lady Vol Classic in front of a crowd of 1,762 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

    The Vols (2-1) defeated the Cyclones 20-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-20, 15-4 picking up their first win over a top-10 team since a 3-2 victory over No. 6 Florida on Sept. 25, 2011.

    Robinson recorded her second-straight double-double with a career-best 29 kills and 14 digs. The Bartlett, Ill., native was also on fire behind the service line racking up five aces, tying a career best, including two to finish out the match.

    For her efforts Robinson was named to the Comcast Classic All-Tournament team, alongside teammate Ellen Mullins. Mullins finished the match with 19 digs.

    Senior Leslie Cikra put down 16 kills and hit a scorching .389. Sophomore setter Mary Pollmiller dished out 55 assists and picked up 10 digs to earn a double-double.

    The Cyclones (1-2) jumped out to an early 10-3 lead in the opening set and went on to win game one, 25-20.

    The Vols responded in game two. After falling behind 3-0 early in the frame, Robinson led the charge for the Lady Vols in the second set, connecting on eight kills and scooping six digs to lead the Orange & White to a 26-24 win. DeeDee Harrison and Cikra each added four kills in the set for the Lady Vols, while Pollmiller dished out 17 assists.

    Iowa State came out of the break to win the third set by a 25-19 margin and go up 2-1 in the match. But the Vols once again responded in the fourth set. UT broke the game open with a 10-2 run in the middle of the frame to take a 18-10 advantage, never looking back and earning the 25-20 win capped by a Robinson kill to end it.

    In the fifth set, it was all Robinson. The outside hitter tallied five kills on seven chances as well as three service aces to down the Cyclones 15-4 and earn the match victory. Robinson began the set with a kill and was a part of the final six points of the match, including three service aces, to solidify the win.

    With a perfect 3-0 record, No. 12 Florida State won the Classic, while the Vols took second with a 2-1 record. Iowa State finished third at 1-2 and Cincinnati finished fourth with an 0-3 mark.

    The Lady Vols are back in action on Friday, Aug. 31, when they take on Colorado State at 5 p.m. CT at the annual Shocker Volleyball Classic in Wichita, Kan. The tournament is hosted by Wichita State University. UT will also play BYU and tournament host Wichita State at the event.






    Rebels Volleyball Tops Samford In Four Sets
     
    CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Paced by a strong offensive attack, the Ole Miss volleyball team (1-1) grabbed its first victory of the season, defeating Samford (0-2) 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23) at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables, Fla.
     
    “After coming off a disappointing match last night, it’s good to see the energy that we brought back in with an early turn around,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “I thought we performed well and handled Samford’s push against us. I’m pleased with our performance today.”
     
    Competing in her first collegiate volleyball match, Ty Laporte turned in an impressive performance, registering seven kills on 11 attempts for a .636 clip, one solo block and one block assist, while playing in just over two sets.
     
    “Ty Laporte came off the bench and added a spark for us,” Getzin said. “In her first collegiate match she hit .636, so that’s a good number to start with.”
     
    Junior outside hitter Kara Morgan led Ole Miss with a team-high 10 kills, followed by nine each from senior right side hitter Allegra Wells and senior setter Amanda Philpot, who also passed out 36 assists. Senior outside hitter Whitney Craven had eight kills for the Rebels and five digs.
     
    Ole Miss took the first set thanks, in part, to a strong offensive performance from Morgan, who recorded five kills in the match’s opening game. Tied 8-8, the Rebels began to click with an 8-3 run to prompt a Samford timeout with Ole Miss leading 16-11. Philpot finished the opening set with 11 assists as the Rebels hit at a 41.9 percent clip as a team.
     
    The Rebels made a strong comeback bid in the second set, but couldn’t close the deal. Trailing 24-22, Ole Miss staved off two set points to tie the match at 24-24. Samford held on, however, to take the second set and even the match at one-game apiece with a 26-24 second set victory.
     
    Ole Miss bounced back in the third set, using a few strong runs to take a stranglehold of the set they wouldn’t relinquish. Tied 9-9, Ole Miss went on a 5-1 run to force Samford into a timeout. After taking a 20-14 lead, Samford rebounded with two straight points before a pair of back-to-back emphatic kills from Laporte and Wells made it 22-16. Laporte capped off the 3-0 Ole Miss run with an impressive solo block to give the Rebels a 23-16 lead.
     
    After opening in a 7-4 hole in the fourth set, Ole Miss rallied to score eight of the next 10 points and take a 12-9 lead they would never relinquish. Philpot recorded four kills in the final set, while Laporte hammered down three of her own.
     
    Ole Miss will compete again at 3:00 p.m. CT against Wofford, which played a doubleheader Friday, losing to Miami (3-0) and Rutgers (3-2).
     
    For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including recaps and updates from each of Saturday’s two matches, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.

    Ole Miss Falls In Heartbreaker to Wofford
     
    CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Despite a pair of double-doubles from senior setter Amanda Philpot and junior outside hitter Kara Morgan, the Ole Miss volleyball team could not overcome a scrappy Wofford (1-2) team at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables, Fla., as part of the Hurricane Invitational.
     
    Ole Miss (1-2) got strong performances from Philpot, Morgan and senior right side hitter Allegra Wells, but couldn’t put away the Terriers after taking a 2-sets-to-1 lead in the match.
     
    Philpot passed out 38 assists in the match and dug 15 balls. Morgan recorded a match-high 15 kills to go along with 11 digs, and Wells put down 13 kills on 27 attempts for a .407 clip.
     
    It took a few different runs for the Rebels to finally dispatch Wofford in the first set. After each team exchanged points for much of the first half of the set, Ole Miss took a comfortable lead only to see Wofford storm all the way back to tie it at 18 points apiece and prompt a timeout by Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin.
     
    It was all Rebels following the timeout, as Ole Miss scored seven of the set’s final eight points to take the set 25-19. Wells had a very strong opening set, registering four kills on five attempts.
     
    Wofford took set two 25-21 after falling behind early in the set by a count of 6-1. The Terriers responded with an 8-1 run of their own to take a 9-7 lead they would never relinquish. The Rebels made several rallies at the deficit, but could never overcome it.
     
    Ole Miss took the third set 25-15 with strong performances from Morgan and senior outside hitter Ashley Anderson, each registering four kills. Philpot also had a strong third set, passing out 10 assists.
     
    The Terriers rebounded in the fourth set, taking control of the game from the first serve. Down by eight points at 15-7, the Rebels regrouped and pulled within three thanks to a 6-1 run. Ole Miss could not get over the hump though, as Wofford scored nine of the set’s final 13 points to push the match to a fifth and deciding set.
     
    Wofford led throughout much of the fifth set, but never by more than three points. Down by two points at 12-10, Ole Miss took advantage of back-to-back errors to tie the set at 12 points apiece and force a timeout by the Terriers. Wofford would score the next three points though and take the final set 15-12.
     
    After the match, Philpot was named to the Hurricane Invitational All-Tournament team. A co-captain on the team, Philpot averaged 37.0 assists, 12.0 digs and 7.0 kills per match in Ole Miss' three matches in Coral Gables, Fla.
     
    Ole Miss will compete again Friday, Aug. 31 at 9:00 a.m. CT against Marquette to open play in the Xavier Tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rebels will play again later that day at 6:00 p.m. CT against host-school Xavier. Ole Miss will finish the tournament Saturday, Sept. 1 with a matchup against Tennessee Tech at 1:00 p.m. CT.
     
    For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including recaps and updates from each of Saturday’s two matches, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.






    Auburn Volleyball Earns 3-0 Sweep of Drake

    GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Auburn volleyball team made quick work of Drake on Saturday morning, sweeping the Bulldogs 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-19) at the Kress Events Center in the Tigers' second match of the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites Tournament.

    Auburn (2-0) took advantage of a poor-hitting Drake squad (0-2) as the Bulldogs hit just .045 in the match, compared to Auburn's .267 mark. The Tigers had 43 kills to Drake's 30 and out-dug the Bulldogs 51-42.

    Junior Katherine Culwell earned Auburn's first double-double of the season with 10 kills and 12 digs; she also contributed three blocks and an assist to the winning effort. Senior Sarah Bullock matched Culwell with 10 kills and fell just shy of a double-double with eight digs. Bullock also had a team-best three service aces - all coming in a four-point stretch in the third set - matching a career-high.

    Chelsea Wintzinger led the Tiger setters with 25 assists; she also had eight digs and a kill. Camila Jersonsky contributed six kills and five blocks, and Chloe Rowand had eight kills.

    The first set was all Auburn as the Tigers sprinted to a 25-16 win. Auburn led 10-3 after six straight attack errors from the Bulldogs and never looked back as Drake would get no closer than five points the rest of the way. Auburn out-hit Drake in the set .353 to .000 as the Bulldogs had nine kills and nine errors; Auburn recorded 14 kills against just two errors.

    Auburn pushed their lead to 2-0 with a 25-21 win in set two despite hitting just .179 with seven errors. The Tigers never trailed, jumping out to a 14-9 lead, but Drake would get as close as two points at 16-14 to force an Auburn timeout. From there, though, Auburn would roll off four straight points, courtesy of three straight Drake errors, to make it 20-14. Drake would fight off three set point attempts, but a kill from Rowand would finally put the set away at 25-21.

    After Drake jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third set, Auburn ran off eight straight points - led by three aces from Bullock - and never looked back en route to a 25-19 win to clinch the match. Drake once again made things interesting, pulling within three points at 18-15, but five kills in six rallies - two from Bullock and one each from Kearney, Culwell and McDonald - gave Auburn a 23-16 lead. Two more kills from Bullock and Jersonsky put the Bulldogs away for good.

    The Tigers will wrap up their stay at the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites Tournament later tonight as they face host UW-Green Bay at 7 p.m. Live stats and live video are available at GreenBayPhoenix.com, and @AUVolleyball on Twitter will have live updates during the match.

    Auburn Wins Green Bay Tournament with 3-0 Victory Over UWGB
     
    GREEN BAY, Wis. – Auburn’s volleyball team captured the Green Bay/Country Inn & Suites Tournament title, defeating host UW-Green Bay 3-0 (32-30, 28-26, 25-21) in a hard-fought match Saturday night at the Kress Events Center.
     
    The Tigers (3-0) got strong play from the middle of the floor with a combined 30 kills from tournament MVP Camila Jersonsky and junior Courtney McDonald and were able to withstand their toughest fight yet from Green Bay (1-2).
     
    “It was a battle tonight,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. “I thought Green Bay played outstanding, great defense, very aggressive. In both the first and second games we were behind, and we battled back. We had talked about it before the game, what we wanted to see in terms of our intensity, and I thought that really showed at the end.”
     
    Jersonsky recorded a career-high 18 kills on 34 attacks with just two errors for a .471 hitting percentage, giving her 33 kills for the weekend. Her previous high was  Nold said that he knew Jersonsky would have plenty of opportunities in the middle after watching Green Bay play its earlier matches this weekend.
     
    “They had pretty much been blocking one-on-one in the middle the whole tournament, and we wanted to take advantage of that,” Nold said. “Cam’s a great hitter – same with Courtney – and it kept working, so we kept going to it.”
     
    Senior Sarah Bullock was named to the All-Tournament team with nine kills in tonight’s match to give her 28 for the tournament; she also had 10 digs in tonight’s match. Junior libero Sarah Wroblicky earned an All-Tournament nod with 25 digs in tonight’s match; she had a total of 61 in the tournament.
     
    McDonald finished one kill shy of a career-high with 12 tonight. Chelsea Wintzinger posted her first double-double of the year with 18 assists and 17 digs, and Katherine Culwell recorded seven kills along with 14 digs.
     
    Auburn out-hit Green Bay .231 to .182 and had 56 kills to their opponents’ 43. Auburn also won the digs battle by one, 76-75, but Green Bay had nine blocks to Auburn’s three.
     
    Auburn rallied from a seven-point deficit in a wild first set and fought off three set point attempts from Green Bay to outlast the Phoenix and take a 32-30 win. After falling behind early with five attack errors against just two kills, giving Green Bay a 12-5 lead, the Tigers would record 15 kills and just two errors the rest of the way. Auburn would finally tie the score at 21-all then take its first lead at 22-21 on a Kearney kill. Green Bay would have its first chance at set point at 24-23, but an error brought it back even. Another chance at 25-24 would go awry with a kill from McDonald, and Auburn got set point tries at 28-27, 29-28, and 30-29. All three times, Green Bay came through with a kill to even the score. Finally, at 31-30, Chloe Rowand and McDonald came through with a huge block to give Auburn the opening-set win.
     
    The second set was more of the same. Auburn fell behind early, trailing by as many as six points at 20-14, before fighting back to eventually tie the score at 23-23 on the strength of big swings from Jersonsky, Culwell and Halle Kearney. Another Culwell kill gave Auburn a set point try at 24-23, and a McDonald kill gave them another chance at 25-24, but both times Green Bay’s outside hitters came through with game-saving kills. A kill from Bullock gave the Tigers their fourth set point chance of the frame, and Jersonsky put down her 13th of the night to give Auburn a 28-26 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
     
    Set three saw Auburn jump out to an early lead, but Green Bay would not go away quietly. The lead changed hands five times and the score was tied on nine occasions in the third set, but Auburn would finally gain an advantage off two Phoenix errors, making it 17-15. Auburn ran off three more in a row to take a 20-15 lead, and the Tigers fought off a mini-rally by the Phoenix to have match point at 24-19. Green Bay would stave off match point twice, but not a third time as Jersonsky put down her 18th kill of the night to seal the deal and earn Auburn a tournament title.
     
    Green Bay was led by Carmen Leitermann with 13 kills while Brittany Groth had 29 digs and Leah Poel recorded 31 assists. Katie Mroczenski was a force up front for the Phoenix with seven blocks.
     
    Earlier Saturday, the Tigers claimed a three-set victory over Drake (25-16, 25-21, 25-19) to improve to 2-0 on the year. Culwell had a double-double for the Tigers with 10 kills and 12 digs, and Sarah Bullock added 10 kills to the Auburn effort as they held Drake to a .046 hitting percentage.
     
    The Tigers are 3-0 for the first time since the 2010 season when they opened with four straight wins. The tournament victory also marked the first preseason tournament title away from home for Auburn since the 2009 Georgia Southern tournament.
     
    Auburn will play its next four matches in the state of Alabama. The Tigers will travel to Troy on Tuesday, Aug. 28, for a single match against the Troy Trojans, set for a 7 p.m. start. Starting Friday, the Tigers will host the two-day War Eagle Invitational, featuring matches against Georgia Southern, High Point and Jacksonville State. The Student Activities Center will play host to four matches Friday and two Saturday; visit AuburnTigers.com for full details.






    LSU Volleyball Swept by No. 19 San Diego
     
    AUSTIN, Texas – The LSU volleyball team posted 11 blocks, but No. 19 San Diego emerged with a 25-19, 25-14, 25-22 sweep to open day two of the 26 West Longhorns Classic Saturday at Gregory Gym on the University of Texas campus.
     
    The Tigers (0-2) dropped back-to-back decisions to start a season for the first time since the 1986 SEC championship team fell to No. 9 Arizona State and No. 13 Arizona.
     
    Desiree Elliott recorded a team-high eight kills to go along with three blocks, while Madie Jones and Cati Leak chipped in an identical seven kills and three blocks. Khourti Fears garnered six stuffs of her own as LSU tallied an 11-3 blocking advantage.
     
    On the back row, Meghan Mannari sprawled out for a match-best 16 digs. LSU converted 51 percent of its sideout opportunities, while San Diego (2-0) registered a 69 percent ratio.
     
    USD received a strong effort from its middle blockers as Alaysia Brown cranked a career-high 10 kills on 17 swings with two errors to compile a .471 hitting percentage. Katie Hoekman added nine kills for the Toreros.
     
    Rachel Alvey and Jianna Bonomi distributed 22 and 14 assists, respectively, to steer the USD offense to a .231 to .075 hitting percentage edge.
     
    The Toreros charged out to a 15-6 lead in the first set behind three Hoekman kills and five LSU hitting miscues. The Tigers drew back within four points on two occasions, the latest at 23-19 on a Leak kill. However, USD received consecutive kills from Brown to close out the frame by a 25-19 margin.
     
    After splitting the first eight points of set two, San Diego reeled off a 14-5 spurt to seize control of the stanza. Chloe Ferrari and Shelby Staab combined for five kills to fuel the run as the Toreros didn’t look back en route to a 25-14 triumph.
     
    The third set featured nine ties and four lead changes. A Jones kill put LSU ahead by a 15-13 margin, but San Diego surged ahead for good with three straight points capped by a Bonomi ace. Trailing 23-19, the Tigers strung together three quick points via an Elliott-Jones block, an Elliott ace and a Jones kill to move back within a point. After a Torero timeout, USD responded with back-to-back kills for the 25-22 win.
     
    LSU returns to action later this afternoon against Cal Poly. First serve is slated for 4 p.m. with live audio and live stats available for free inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net.
     
    For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter.
     
    Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center are free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program.

    LSU Volleyball Tops Cal Poly for First Win of 2012
     
    AUSTIN, Texas – Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones ripped 12 kills apiece to catapult the LSU volleyball team to its first victory of the 2012 season and a 3-0 sweep [25-19, 25-21, 25-15] over Cal Poly Saturday at Gregory Gym during the final day of the 26 West Longhorns Classic on the University of Texas campus.
     
    LSU (1-2) also received a double-double from Cati Leak. She posted career-highs with 11 kills to go along with 15 digs. Malorie Pardo passed out 35 assists coupled with six digs and three blocks. The Tigers connected for a .239 hitting percentage compared to a .124 clip for Cal Poly (0-3).   
     
    “I thought our change in the lineup to what our kids were a little more comfortable with from a systematic standpoint was a huge part of our success,” head coach Fran Flory said. “The stats don’t show it, but Marissa Maas did a nice job of stabilizing a couple of spots for us.”
     
    Defensively, LSU won both the blocking and digging battles. The Tigers garnered an 8-4 blocking edge and a 50-39 digging advantage. Meghan Mannari secured 13 digs, while Khourti Fears chipped in four kills and three blocks. Jaclynn Gerig tacked on one kills, one assist and one dig in her LSU debut.
     
    The Mustangs were led by Molly Pon’s eight kills, Kate Walters’ 22 assists and Nicole Kessler’s 11 digs.
     
    “We’ve worked very hard on our blocking,” Flory said. “I’m proud of our effort, but I’m not satisfied. I thought we could have been better and left some blocks on the court. There were scenarios where if we would have taken one more step or been more discipline, we could have been out of this match earlier. We have to learn how to play together behind our new blocking scheme, but this weekend was a step in the right direction.”
     
    LSU erased an early 5-3 deficit and turned the tables on Cal Poly during the first set. Up 13-12, the Tigers used an 8-2 spurt behind a pair of kills from Elliott and Jones. LSU also collected a 75 percent sideout efficiency in the opening stanza and Leak hammered the clinching spike for the 25-19 win.
     
    “Cati weathered the storm extremely well,” Flory said. “Everybody served at her, and I thought she passed fairly well being a freshman in her first weekend. For her to have 11 kills and hit .233 today is a really nice match for her. If we can get those types of numbers on a consistent basis, she’s going to be solid player for us.”
     
    Set two was showcased by eight ties, the latest coming at 21-21. LSU rode Jones to pair of kills sandwiched between a Cal Poly attack error. Fears provided the finishing touches on the 25-21 triumph to give the Tigers a two-set edge.
     
    LSU controlled the third set from start-to-finish. Ahead 6-5, the Tigers ran off 11 of the next 12 points and won going away 25-15 to wrap up the sweep. Elliott smacked four kills, while Jones added two kills and a block to spark the run.
     
    “Madie and Desiree are going to have to lead the way for us especially in early going,” Flory said. “They’ve carried the load for us in the past and been successful in the past for us in those roles. We’ve been trying to move Madie around and create more offensive opportunities for her in different spots. You can’t find out if you’re ready for those types of things until you try them in a match situation.”
     
    LSU continues its challenging non-conference slate and plays host to the Tiger Classic as No. 9 Purdue, No. 14 Washington and Rice visit the Maravich Center. Live video and live stats for every tournament match will be available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net.
     
    For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter.
     
    Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center are free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program.
     
     



    Razorbacks battle past Northwestern State in four
     
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Roslandy Acosta had a career-high 15 kills and Jasmine Norton posted  a double-double performance as the University of Arkansas volleyball team beat Northwestern State in four sets (25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 25-20) Saturday at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks finished the match with 13.5 total blocks, including a match-high eight blocks from Janeliss Torres-Lopez. She also added 11 kills for Arkansas.
                
    “I think we came out ready for an early match,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We started out ready to play ball but then we got a little too relaxed. We knew Northwestern State was going to dig a ton of balls and not give the match away. After they won the second set, we were able to get back into a groove and were really tough down the stretch, which was nice to see. Then we did some good things in the fourth. We just have to keep working at being consistent.”
                
    After an even start to the first set, Arkansas (2-0) used a four-point spurt to take a 14-10 lead after back-to-back kills from Norton and Liz Fortado, respectively. Out of a Northwestern State (0-2) timeout, the home team started to pull away. Consecutive blocks—both featuring Torres-Lopez—gave the Razorbacks a 23-15 lead and on the team’s second set point, Norton found the floor with her fifth kill of the day to close out the opener in Arkansas’ favor, 25-17. The Razorback senior finished the match with 13 kills and 16 digs.
                
    The visitors won four of the first five points to establish control early in the second set. The Lady Demons eventually led, 13-9, after an Arkansas attack error to force a timeout from Pulliza. Trailing by three, the Razorbacks scored four points in a row to take their first lead of the match, 17-16. However, with the score tied at 20-all, Northwestern State won five of the last seven point to win the set, 25-22.
                
    With Ashley Vazquez at the service line early in the third set, the Razorbacks reeled off four points in a row to take a 13-6 lead. Vazquez capped the run with a service ace. Northwestern State responded by winning the next six points to get back into the set. With the score tied at 20-all, the visitors won three of the next four points and arrived at set point after a kill from Stacey DiFrancesco. With its back to the wall, Arkansas won the last three points of the set including the game winner by Acosta, her seventh of the set.
                
    The Lady Demons jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the fourth set but Arkansas recovered to even the score at nine-all after consecutive kills from Torres-Lopez. Vazquez served up her second ace to put the Razorbacks ahead by four, 19-15. Down the stretch, Northwestern State pulled to within a point twice but the home team maintained their lead. On the team’s first match point, Fortado and Amanda Anderson combined for a block to close out the match with a 25-20 set win.
                
    “I feel like this match will really help us tonight,” Norton said. “(Northwestern State) dug everything and made us step up with our defensive effort. So when we play Kansas later, we know we can get in there and really dig a lot of balls. That will give us a push when we go back out there against Kansas.”
                
    The Razorbacks return to the court Saturday evening for the tournament finale against Kansas. First serve of the matchup is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. The Jayhawks play UT-Martin in the second match of Saturday’s schedule at the Arkansas Invitational.
                
    General admission at Barnhill Arena is $4 with fans 17 and younger getting in free. University of Arkansas students attending volleyball matches this season are asked to use the street-level entrance on Stadium Drive to enter Barnhill Arena. Those students who have their cards swiped will receive 1,500 RazorReward points. Students attending the Kansas match Saturday will also have the opportunity to win an iPod Touch.
                
    For match coverage of this weekend’s Arkansas Invitational, including interactive blog, live stats and video stream, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Tonight’s match against KU will be broadcast on KXUA 88.3 FM in Fayetteville. New to the 2012 season, fans can also keep up with Razorback volleyball with its sport-specific RazorbackVB Twitter and Facebook accounts.

    Razorbacks Win Arkansas Invitational
            
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Down a set down and facing set points in the second and third sets, the University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied past Kansas in four sets (18-25, 27-25, 26-24, 25-21) Saturday evening to win the 2012 Arkansas Invitational. Senior Roslandy Acosta was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior Jasmine Norton and junior Raymariely Santos.
                
    Acosta finished the match with 16 kills and nine digs. Norton completed a double-double performance with 16 digs and registered a .308 hitting percentage against the Jayhawks. From her setter position, Santos tallied 48 assists, six kills and six digs. Junior libero Emily Helm had a team-high 19 digs wearing the Cardinal jersey.
                
    “It was a great match tonight,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “Kansas is a very good team. I’m a true believer that they will be an NCAA Tournament team. I’m really proud of our kids and the way they fought. I’m really proud of them for the way they kept their poise and finished the match. Once we found our fight, they were relentless whether in front or from behind.”
                
    During the second set, Norton moved into sole possession of fifth place on Arkansas’ all-time kills list. She moved past Denise Baez (1994-96) and now trails Libby Windell (1,409 kills, 1999-2002) for fourth place on the list. Norton finished the match with a match-high 20 kills and now has 1,390 kills in her career.
                
    Arkansas (3-0) won three of the first four points to start the match, capped by consecutive kills from Liz Fortado and Norton, respectively. The opening set was tied seven tied through the first half of play with neither team gaining more than a two-point lead. However, the Jayhawks scored four points in a row late in the set to take a 21-16 lead. Kansas (2-1) maintained the advantage and closed out the first set, 25-18, on a tandem block by Chelsea Albers and Caroline Jarmoc.
                
    The visitors carried the momentum over into the second set and took an early 4-1 lead. Arkansas trailed by as much as four through the early stages of the set but fought back to tie the score at 18-all after back-to-back kills from Norton and Acosta. The Razorbacks grabbed their first lead of the set—22-21—after an attack error from Jarmoc.

    Kansas recovered and had set point at 24-23 but Acosta found the floor with a kill to keep the Razorbacks alive. The teams traded the next two points to remain even but Arkansas turned to its outside hitters to win the set. Norton had a kill out of the back row to give the home team set point and Acosta finished it off with a kill of her own to send the Razorbacks into the locker room with a 27-25 win.

    The fourth set played out almost identical to the third. The Jayhawks took an early 10-6 lead to force Pulliza into a timeout. Their lead held steady and grew to five at 21-16 after a block by Albers and Tayler Tolefree. Arkansas responded by winning seven of the next nine points to pull even at 23-23. The Jayhawks were a point away from winning the set but wasted the opportunity with a service error. On Arkansas’ first set point, Acosta closed things out again, 26-24, with a kill.

    “Before the game, we talked about being ready because Kansas is a really good team,” Acosta said. “We had to fight all day long. Even with the scores so close, we just kept fighting and got the win. I just want to help my team win. That’s the first thing on my mind. Win, win, win and help my team.”

    Riding the momentum of their third-set comeback, the Razorbacks went out to a 6-2 lead and never trailed in the fourth game. Kills from Acosta and Janeliss Torres-Lopez forced an early timeout from Kansas with Arkansas ahead, 9-5. The Jayhawks pulled to within two later in the set but consecutive points in favor of the home team pushed the lead back to 19-15. On the team’s second set point, Norton posted her 20th and final kill of the night to secure the game, 25-21, and clinch the four-set win.
                
    The Razorbacks return to their home court Tuesday, Aug. 28 for a midweek matchup with Tulsa. First serve of the match is schedule for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. Arkansas holds a 6-1 advantage in the all-time series with Tulsa, including a 3-1 edge in matches played in Fayetteville. The two teams last met in 2009, a five-set road victory for the Razorbacks.
     




    Wildcats Claw Back for Five-Set Win over Lipscomb

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 13th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team needed a comeback effort to prevail 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 21-25, 25-13, 15-10) over visiting Lipscomb, Saturday on the second day of competition at the Kentucky Classic. Junior Whitney Billings (15 kills, 11 digs) and senior Christine Hartmann (44 assists, 14 digs) posted a pair of double-doubles to lead the Wildcats to the win.

    With the victory the Blue and White improve to 2-0 on the young season while Lipscomb drops to 0-2. Kentucky will face Long Beach State (1-1) at 8 p.m. ET this evening to cap off the weekend. North Carolina (1-1) and Lipscomb will face off at 6 p.m. ET for the final session of the Classic. UNC captured a five-set win over Long Beach State in the second half of the morning session.

    Billings led the offensive effort with 15 kills to accompany five blocks and 11 digs on the afternoon. Hartmann passed out 44 assists and found five players for six or more kills in the win. The senior floor general added four kills of her own and chipped in four blocks. Sophomore Lauren O’Conner reached double-figures for the second consecutive outing with 11 kills to pair with a trio of blocks. Sophomore Alexandra Morgan totaled eight hammers on a team-best .400 hitting clip and posted six blocks.

    Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder led the defensive effort with a team-high eight rejections to go along with seven kills. Senior Ashley Frazier had a career-high five blocks and added six kills in the winning effort.

    Senior Stephanie Klefot led the back line effort with 19 digs. Sophomore Jackie Napper chipped in with nine and junior Jessi Greenberg contributed seven. Freshman Shelby Workman added a kill and three scoops for the Blue and White.

    UK claimed the opening set by a 25-20 margin with the Cats benefiting from four service aces and a trio of kills from the hands of both Billings and O’Conner.

    Lipscomb fired back with set victories in both frames one and two. The Lady Bisons earned a 25-23 win to knot the score into the break. The visitors responded with a 25-21 win in the third stanza to place the Wildcats in their first hole of the season.

    Kentucky responded in stylish fashion with a dominating 25-14 fourth set win. O’Conner ignited the rally with five kills on .455 hitting and Klefot added a steadying 10 digs in the set to force the decisive fifth frame.

    In the final set, Kentucky claimed a 15-10 win for the match. UK had eight kills on a match-high .353 hitting. Greenberg sparked the defensive effort with four scoops in the set. Billings led the offensive effort with three kills on .400 hitting to finish the set in style.

    UK Claims Kentucky Classic Behind 3-1 win over Long Beach

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Led by sophomore Lauren O’Conner the 13th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team claimed the Kentucky Classic following a 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-19) win over Long Beach State on Saturday evening capping off a flawless weekend to start the 2012 season.

    O’Conner was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after posting double-figure kill efforts in all three of UK’s victories including a season-best 16 in the tournament-clinching match. She led the team with 3.25 kills per set while also adding 10 blocks for the weekend.

    Senior setter Christine Hartmann and junior Alexandra Morgan joined O’Conner on the All-Tournament team. Hartmann notched 10.4 assists per set while ranking second on the squad with 13 blocks for a 1.08 average. Morgan was stellar as well with 25 kills on a team-best .388 hitting percentage. She also topped the team with 16 blocks for a staggering 1.33 blocks per frame average.

    “We want to be better defensively early and try and catch up offensively,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “If we can serve and block like that in matches we’ve got a great chance to win. Long Beach is a very good team and they’ll win a lot of matches this year; and I appreciate them coming across the country to play us.”

    The Wildcats (3-0) will now hit the road for seven consecutive matches to close out the non-conference schedule. Up first for the Blue and White is the annual showdown with instate rival Louisville on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. UK will travel west on I-64 and take the floor at the site of the 2012 Final Four inside the KFC Yum! Center.

    O’Conner led all scorers with 16 kills and a pair of solo blocks. Junior Whitney Billings notched her second-consecutive double-double effort with 13 kills and 10 digs. Senior Ashley Frazier was the third Wildcat to reach double-figures in the kills’ column with 13 kills while adding four rejections. Hartmann dished out 44 assists and led the team with six blocks in the win. Morgan chipped in with nine kills and four blocks. Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder added five hammers and a trio of roofs.

    Senior libero Stephanie Klefot notched her third consecutive double-figure match with 14 digs. Junior Jessi Greenberg added eight scoops and sophomore Jackie Napper contributed four.

    After the 49ers captured the opening set by a 25-19 margin, it was all Kentucky from there as the Blue and White totaled 25-18, 25-20 and 25-19 set wins to claim the tournament.

    Morgan sparked the comeback effort to knot the score into the locker room with five kills on a blazing .833 hitting percentage in the second stanza. UK totaled 15 kills in the frame while limiting the visitors to 10 on .114 hitting.

    Frazier and O’Conner formed a dynamic duo combing for 11 kills in the third frame to give the Wildcats the lead. Hartmann dished out 11 assists leading UK to a total of 16 kills in the set. Kentucky also tallied four blocks in the stanza including two solo rejections from Frazier to rally the Blue and White to the win.

    “It’s good to see (Frazier and O’Conner’s performance in the third set),” Skinner said. “Against great teams you need outside hitters to terminate the ball. It’s another thing we’ve worked on a lot in preseason and it paid off. It took us a while to get it going, but they did a great job. They didn’t get flustered by errors and made changes and got kills in the end.”

    UK teamed up for 4.5 blocks and rattled Long Beach State into a negative .027 hitting clip in the final frame to cap the match. O’Conner posted five kills to aid the offensive effort in a 25-19 win.
     




    Alabama Volleyball Wraps up Beanpot Classic with 3-1 Win over Sacred Heart
     
    Boston, Mass. – The Alabama volleyball team wrapped up the Beanpot Classic with a 3-1 (15-25, 25-14, 25-19, and 25-12) victory over the Sacred Heart Pioneers from Soloman Court on the Northeastern University campus. With the victory, the Crimson Tide is now 2-1 on the season, after posting a 3-0 win over Holy Cross and suffering a 3-2 loss to Northeastern yesterday in the tournament.  
     
    After hitting .073 and dropping the opening set 25-15, Alabama dominated the match over the final three sets, and finished the match with a .257 hitting mark. UA hit .464 during the second set, before hitting .297 in the third and .267 in the fourth set. The defense also stepped up for the Tide, as they held the Pioneers to a .153 hitting mark for the match, after Sacred Heart hit .394 in the opening frame. UA held SHU to a .000 hitting mark in the second and fourth sets and a .186 mark in the third.
     
    Alabama had three players reach double digits in kills, as Pricilla Duke-Ezeji paced the squad with 13 kills. After posting one kill and four errors in the opening frame, Duke-Ezeji had 12 kills and two errors in the last three sets. Joining Duke-Ezeji in double figure kills were Andrea McQuaid and Laura Steiner with 12 and 10 respectively.
     
    McQuaid hit over .400 for the second straight match, as the junior from Ovilla, Texas hit .417 with just two errors on 24 swings. Steiner had one kill and two errors in the first set, then in the final two sets she recorded nine kills with three errors to finish the match with a .200 hitting mark.
     
    Sierra Wilson put together another solid match as she recorded 48 assists, two kills and two aces in the match. Kryssi Daniels had three of the seven Crimson Tide aces, bringing her team-leading total for the season to eight. Daniels also finished the match with 10 digs. Yukie Futami led the squad with 20 digs and Cristina Arenas added 12 digs.
     
    Kayla Fitterer finished the day with nine kills on 25 attempts with two errors for a .280 hitting percentage. Fitterer also struggled in the opening set, posting just one kill with two errors on seven attempts to open the match.
    UA tallied eight total blocks in the match, as Katherine White led the squad with six block assists. McQuaid chipped in with five assisted blocks and Kanesha Burch added to assisted blocks late in the match.
     
    Alabama got off to a slow start in the opening set as SHU took a 13-5 lead, before opening the advantage to 21-10 following a pair of hitting errors by Steiner. Sacred Heart closed out the set with a .384 hitting mark en route to a 25-15 victory to open the match.
     
    The Tide responded with a dominant performance the rest of the way, and it started with a .464 hitting mark in the second frame behind 11 kills from McQuaid and Fitterer, who had six and five respectively in the second set. After SHU tied the score at 11-11, Alabama went on a 14-3 run to close out the set.
     
    Like the second set, the score was close at the midway point, as the Tide led 13-11. From there, a Fitterer kills sparked a 6-2 run that gave Alabama the breathing room it needed before going onto the 25-19 victory in the set.
     
    In the fourth, Alabama jumped out to a 5-0 with Wilson serving to open the set, and the Tide cruised to a 25-12 victory in the set to close out the match. Steiner recorded six of her 10 kills in the final frame.
     
    Alabama returns to action on Tuesday night with the 2012 home opener against Alabama A&M, with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m., from Foster Auditorium. The live webcast that includes both audio and video will be available through TIDETV on RollTide.com.






    Aggies Sweep UND, 3-0, in Tournament Finale
     
    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M middle blocker Lindsey Miller had another error-free match on offense to lead the Aggies to a 25-21, 25-14, 25-15 victory over North Dakota in the final match of the Texas A&M Invitational today at Reed Arena.
     
    The senior captain recorded a career-high .667 hitting percentage, posting a match-high 10 kills and no errors in 15 attempts against UND and was awarded all-tournament honors after hitting .525 and averaging 3.50 kills and 1.3 blocks throughout the three-match tournament. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo also represented Texas A&M on the all-tournament team as the Aggies clinched second place.
     
    “The team did a great job of serving, receiving, and passing today,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “We didn’t even really get in trouble with it, so that was really enjoyable to watch. I thought with Lindsey Miller’s amazing attacking with very few errors -- she’s hard to stop with her speed -- really kept our offense alive and opened up our other attackers.”
     
    The Aggies used a 7-point run to forge to a 13-9 lead in the opening set and led the remainder of the frame. UND stayed within striking distance, getting within a point at 19-18. The teams then began to exchange points and the Aggies were up 22-21 before A&M’s Heather Reynolds caromed an attack off the block for a kill. It was the start of set-ending 3-point rally for the Aggies, as UND committed an error and then Miller posted her fifth kill of the set.
     
    A&M surged to a 7-2 lead to open the second set after reeling off six unanswered points. The Aggies would continue to widen the gap, hitting .281 while holding UND to a .000 hitting efficiency in the frame. Leading 20-12, Aggie freshman middle blocker Shelby Sullivan notched one of her three kills in the stanza to mark the beginning of a 4-point run, capped by a block by Reynolds and Miller to put A&M at set point. UND got a kill before Aggie freshman Shelbi Vaughan, making the first appearance of her young career, posted the set-winning kill.
     
    A&M immediately took command of the final set, opening with eight consecutive points, including three aces by Kastmo. The Aggies continued to be on the attack, led by Reynolds who had five kills in five attempts in the set. A kill by setter Allie Sawatzky put the Aggies at match point, 24-12, but UND staved off four match points before an attack error clinched the winning point for A&M.
     
    “I was really pleased with our strong start,” Corbelli said. “I knew North Dakota returned a lot of good players and they have a great offense. I knew that we had to have a group that was ready for what people do to try to get us out of our system.”
     
    Thirteen players saw action for the Aggies in the match, including four freshmen -- Sullivan, Vaughan, Angela Lowak and Sierra Patrick – and sophomore Hannah Hood.
     
    “That’s something we’re really going to try to do this preseason, get our young ones on the court,” Corbelli emphasized. “They are really talented. I just need that depth to have as much experience as possible.”
     
    A&M (2-1) outhit UND, .282 to .104 for the match, posting 44 kills to UND’s 30. Reynolds finished with a career-high nine kills while hitting at a .571 clip. Libero Megan Pendergast led the Aggies in digs with 10, and Miller led in blocks with four. Sawatzky posted 28 assists.
     
    All-tournament selection Ronni Munkeby had nine kills to lead UND, which finished third in the tournament with a 1-2 record.
     
    No. 5 Southern California swept Texas State (0-3) earlier in the day to finish 3-0 and capture the tournament title.
     
    Corbelli summarized the season-opening tournament by saying, “There were a lot of glimpses of good things. However, it was the opening weekend and I certainly saw moments where it was really shaky. It was great competition, what we needed to see.
     
    “I thought the 12th Man just made it. Our crowds are so fun to play for. I was really proud to show our visitors from North Dakota and California what Aggie spirit is all about. I think it was a great tournament and we look forward to heading out to Yale next weekend.”
     
    A&M continues non-conference play next weekend as the Aggies travel to New Haven, Conn., to compete in the Yale Classic, which includes two teams that reached the NCAA last year: Yale and American. A&M opens against the host Bulldogs Friday at 6 p.m. (CT), and then plays a split doubleheader on Saturday, taking on American at 10 a.m. and Stony Brook at 4 p.m.






    Gamecocks Outlast ETSU in Five-Set Nailbiter
                    
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind a bevy of standout performances, including a career-best 13-kill performance from junior middle blocker Megan Kent, South Carolina (3-0) fought past a tough East Tennessee State squad in five sets, 25-19, 25-14, 22-25, 24-26, 15-9, in front of 533 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility on Saturday afternoon.

    Kent hit .600 but fell five swings shy of qualifying for the single-match record book at South Carolina in her best match in the Garnet and Black. She added four blocks, tying with three other Gamecocks for the team high. Outside hitters Juliette Thévenin and Bethanie Thomas both had double-doubles, with Thévein posting 15 kills and 11 digs to go with Thomas’s 10 kills and 14 digs. Thomas added three solo blocks as a part of her four-block outing, tying for second in South Carolina history in five-set matches. Redshirt sophomore Cara Howley added 12 kills and four block assists, while redshirt freshman Christina Vereb tallied 11 kills and four block assists. Junior libero Paige Wheeler added 20 digs.

    The Buccaneers were led by Megan Devine’s 16 kills, while Meredith Hardy added 13. Jamie Rutledge posted 47 assists and 10 digs, and Ivey Rice contributed 11 kills and 14 digs. Katie Muey added 18 digs. Khadijah Wiely had nine kills and eight block assists in the contest.

    South Carolina took a 16-8 lead in the first behind a big six-point run that included two kills from both Kent and Vereb. The Buccaneers fought back, posting a 7-2 stand that included three blocks to close it to five at 23-18. But the Gamecocks bounced back, with Thomas ending the frame at 25-19 with her shot down the line. She posted five kills in the frame, while freshman outside hitter Jenna Allen and Kent both had four.

    The Gamecocks blew open the second set toward the end, claiming it 25-14. With a 12-10 lead, the Gamecocks posted the first of three four-point skeins that helped end the frame. The last run that closed the frame started with a Vereb kill, a block from Vereb and Howley, a solo stuff by Thomas and a Howley quick-set smash. South Carolina hit .444 in the set, led by three kills each from Thomas and Thévenin.

    ETSU took advantage of two early five-point stands to take the third 25-22. The Bucs’ Hardy posted six kills in the frame, including two on overpasses in the initial skein that made it 5-2. Two kills and a block assist from Devine powered the second stretch for ETSU, making it 11-6. The Gamecocks drew within two twice, the final time on Thomas’s solo block at 22-21. But the Buccaneers closed it out, with Hardy landing a tip to stop the set at 25-22. Vereb had four kills on five swings in the third.

    The Buccaneers came back to take the fourth set 26-24. South Carolina fought back to take an 18-14 lead on a 6-1 run capped by two Thomas kills. ETSU responded, tying the set at 19-19 when Ivey Rice’s shot rolled over the net cord and fell on South Carolina’s side. The Gamecocks fought back, getting to set point after Kent polished off an overpass and Howley and Thomas rejected a Buccaneer shot. But Devine posted a kill off a block and combined with Wiley to block one as well. On the Bucs’ first set point, Wiley tapped over a ball that found the hardwood, ending the frame at 26-24. Devine posted seven kills and Rice five in the set for ETSU, while Kent went 4-for-4 on swings.

    The Gamecocks raced out to a 6-2 lead in the fifth behind two kills and a block assist by Kent. ETSU closed the gap to 9-8 after a 4-1 run that started with two Brittany Gesell kills. South Carolina bounced back with its own 4-1 run, started by two Thévenin kills, forcing the Bucs to call timeout at 13-9. Another Buc error made it Gamecock match point, and Thévenin wrapped it there with a back-row smash that found the darker playing surface at the VCF.

    The squads tied in aces and blocks, but South Carolina won the rest, including a .297-.207 lead in hitting percentage.

    South Carolina closes the 2012 Gamecock Invitational, presented by Courtyard Marriott, at 8 p.m. against UNC Asheville.

    Gamecocks Clinch Invitational Title with Sweep of UNC Asheville
                    
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gamecock outside hitters Juliette Thévenin and Bethanie Thomas had a huge night, leading South Carolina (4-0) to a 25-16, 25-22, 25-16 win over UNC Asheville (0-4) in front of 667 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility to cap a perfect opening weekend for the Gamecocks.

    Thévenin posted 14 kills and eight digs in the win, hitting .440 in the process, while Thomas had a .474 percentage with 10 kills and eight digs. Those two helped the team post a .419 hitting percentage, the best of the weekend. Senior setter Taylor Bruns had 22 assists and 10 digs, leading the way in both categories. Three Gamecocks, redshirt sophomore Cara Howley, redshirt freshman Christina Vereb and freshman Darian Dozier, tied for top honors with three block assists. Junior libero Paige Wheeler had eight digs and three aces.

    Christine Lakatos led the Bulldogs with eight kills. Rachel Wells added eight digs.

    The Gamecocks posted a 25-16 win in the first set behind a .593 hitting percentage for the team. A four-point run bookended by a Megan Kent kill and block assist made it 12-8, and South Carolina never looked back. The other four-point run featured Dozier, as he had a block assist and her first career kill in the stand that made it 22-12. Thévenin led the way with seven kills in the frame. Joining Dozier on the court was freshman Litsa Darby, who posted her first two career assists.

    South Carolina used a seven-point streak to take a 15-8 lead in the second. The Bulldogs fought back, getting to within one on a couple of occasions, but the sophomore Thomas ended the second set like she did the first, with a kill. Thévenin had five kills to lead the way again. The Gamecocks played five freshmen in the frame, with Dozier and Elizabeth Johnbull starting the frame in the middle and Maddie Frome also coming on during the frame to join first-weekend regulars Jenna Allen and Christina Vereb. Johnbull recorded her first kill as a Gamecock.

    The third set swung on a 7-1 South Carolina run keyed by three Thomas kills, putting the Gamecocks up 15-10. That run continued, with a 10-4 stand ending the contest at 25-16. Bruns landed an ace to cap it. Thomas had six of her kills in the final frame.

    Sotuh Carolina tied with UNC Asheville in blocks, but the Gamecocks won all the other stat categories, including a 51-29 kills advantage.

    Howley claimed the tournament MVP award, while Wheeler and Vereb earned all-tourney nods. Joining the team was East Tennessee State’s Megan Devine and Meredith Hardy, Akron’s Tina Demetrius and Temple’s Elyse Burkert.

    South Carolina hosts the Slovenian National Team in a free exhibition on Wednesday night at the VCF. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
     
     




    No. 18/20 Gators Earn Second Straight Sweep, Defeat Florida A&M

    Gainesville, Fla. - The No. 18/20 University of Florida volleyball team (2-0, 0-0 SEC) swept the Florida A&M Rattlers, 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-14), to begin day two of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational. The Gators were led by 12.5 points apiece from freshman Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) and junior Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.).

    Recek led all hitters with 12 kills, hitting .455 with just two errors on 22 swings. Mann hit .381 with 11 kills on 21 attacks. Another bright spot for the Gators was freshman outside hitter Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.), who had eight kills and only one error for a .412 hitting clip while registering 11.5 points. Whaley added three service aces on the afternoon, tying for the team lead with redshirt freshman middle blocker Simone Antwi (Lorton, Va.), who tallied 7.5 points with her four kills and three aces against the Rattlers.

    Florida hit .365 on the afternoon, thanks to phenomenal setting by both Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and Dana Backlund (Wildomar, Calif.), who combined for 33 assists against FAMU. Brauneis played the first two sets while Backlund ran the offense in the third stanza.

    The Gators hit an impressive .571 in the opening set, registering 17 kills with only one error on 28 swings. Mann and Whaley contributed five kills apiece in the first set, while Recek added four. Antwi and sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.), both went on long service runs in the opening stanza, as they combined for 16 service attempts in set one. A block by Mann and Recek sparked the Gators’ run to close the first set, as Unroe stepped behind the service line at 19-11 and never looked back, firing off six straight points to give the Gators the first set victory, 25-11.

    A fast start in set two helped the Gators jump out to an early lead, as freshman defensive specialist Nikki O’Rourke (Clearwater, Fla.) used her tricky jump float to rattle off nine straight points to open the second stanza. Florida continued to roll, as Mann and Recek traded kills to put Florida ahead, 15-4. Antwi then stepped behind the service line once again, serving up back-to-back aces and catching the Rattlers off guard, putting the Gators up 22-5. Mann earned her ninth kill of the match, putting away the second set, 25-11.

    The teams traded points to open the third set, but Whaley’s jump serve got the Gators back out front, scoring five straight points including two aces. With four freshmen on the floor, including three in the front row, Florida continued its run as Backlund found the seam of the block for both Antwi and Recek. Backlund ended the match with a service ace, her second of the match, to give the Gators the third set win, 25-14.

    Florida returns to action tonight, as the Gators close out the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational with their first-ever match against Florida Gulf Coast. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. and Gator fans can listen live on ESPN 850/900 and watch online on GatorVision.

    MVP Chloe Mann Leads No. 18/20 Gators to Campus USA Credit Union Invitational Title

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Behind a season-best 16 kills from MVP junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.), the No. 18/20 University of Florida volleyball team (3-0, 0-0 SEC) earned its third straight sweep with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-16) victory over Florida Gulf Coast (2-1, 0-0 A-Sun) on Saturday evening to close out the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational with the title. The Gators hit .330 on the night and .368 on the weekend, averaging 14.7 kills per set.

    "It was our defense that kept us in play... since we aren't going to overpower you, we need to be spunky in the back row," Florida head coach Mary Wise said. "It allows us to keep the ball in play and any time we keep the ball in play, we've got a better chance of getting it to Chloe Mann,"

    Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) recorded a match-high 17 digs and fellow sophomore Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) was second on the night with nine scoops. The Gators put together a .978 passing percentage, only allowing two reception errors on the weekend alone.

    "Tonight we sputtered with our serving and we are a team that's going to be high-risk, high-reward serving," Wise said. "There are going to be some service errors. We strung a few too many in a row, especially in the second set...but it was our defense that kept us in play."

    Freshman outside hitter Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) added a career-high 12 kills, hitting .455 on the evening. Recek was named to the All-Tournament Team along with setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.), who had 37 assists against the Eagles and tied with Mann for a match-high four blocks apiece. Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) hit .833 (5-0-6) on the night and freshman middle blocker Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.) hit .308 to go along with a career-high five service aces.

    The teams traded points to open the match before the Gators went on a 5-0 run behind the serve of Antwi, who served up an ace to force an Eagles timeout at 9-4. FGCU went on a run to close the gap at 10-8 but a Mann kill at the end of a nearly minute-long rally shifted the momentum towards the Orange and Blue, 12-8. Florida continued to surge and, despite the Eagles' scrappy defense, won every long rally in the first set. Mann ended yet another rally with a kill off a quick set from Brauneis, forcing a FGCU timeout at 18-12. Brauneis had a stellar solo stuff to put Florida ahead, 21-15.

    Florida took an early 3-0 advantage behind the serve of Pole. Recek slammed one down the line to extend the lead, 7-5. The Eagles kept things tight, but Recek continued to find seams in the block, going ahead 17-12 and forcing an Eagles timeout. Brauneis continued to feed the middle during the Gator run, finding Antwi with a one-handed set to go ahead, 18-13. Antwi served up an ace to go up 21-16 and Recek and Mann teamed up for a stuff block to bring up set point, 24-18. Recek continued to punish the FGCU block, killing another one down the line to give the Gators the second set, 25-19.

    The Eagles took an early lead in set three, going ahead 5-2. Wiggs killed the Eagles' rally with a slam through the block to spark a Florida rally and tie things up at 6 apiece. The teams traded the lead before Recek earned a kill in transition and Whaley followed with an ace. Florida continued to roll, as Mann and Brauneis teamed up for a roof and Brauneis tipped on two to force a Florida Gulf Coast timeout, 13-10. Mann and Brauneis shut down the Eagles once again, slamming a stuff block at 14-11. The Gators continued to surge, leading by as much as seven after a Pole ace at 23-16. The match ended the way it started, off a kill from Mann to take the match, 25-16.

    Next up for Florida is the third annual Nike Big Four Classic, which pits No. 2 Texas and No. 6 Stanford against the No. 18 Gators at Rec Hall on the campus of No. 3 Penn State. The Orange and Blue face the Longhorns at 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday before taking the court against the Cardinal at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
     



    Georgia Volleyball Moves to 2-0 with Win Over Troy
     
    ATHENS, Ga. – Behind a solid defensive performance that saw the Bulldogs rack up 11 team blocks, the University of Georgia volleyball team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-18) win over the Troy Trojans on Saturday night in the Sun Benson’s Hospitality Bulldog Invitational.
     
    Tirah Le’au led the defensive attack with two solo blocks and four block assists. Elena Perri added two solo blocks and three block assists, while Jasmine Eatmon tallied four block assists. Allison Summers helped pace the defense, earning a match-high 13 digs. As a team, Georgia held the Trojans to a .010 attack percentage for the match.
     
    Making her Bulldog debut, Chloe Buckendahl led the Bulldogs offensively, totaling eight kills in 15 attempts for a .467 attack percentage. Brittany Northcutt added eight kills, while Eatmon and Le’au picked up seven kills each. Georgia was dominant from the service line, picking up seven aces, including two each from Maggie Baumert, Summers and Buckendahl. Kaylee Kehoe and Baumert split the setting duties, totaling 14 and 17 assists, respectively.
     
    “We were incredibly disciplined with our responsibilities,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said following the match. “We had a very tight game plan and our players executed it with a fervor. They were aggressive and were able to settle into their serving a little bit. We had seven aces so we’re putting the pressure on the serves at the service line and the executing a very disciplined defense that can make teams very uncomfortable.”
     
    The teams battled through the opening points of set one, tying the match at five before the Bulldogs scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 14-7 lead. From there, the team did not look back, sealing the 25-17 set one win with a block by Perri and Le’au.
     
    In set two, Georgia and Troy tied six times before either team reached double digits. Using the service of Eatmon, the Bulldogs scored nine unanswered points that put them on top 15-6. Leading 19-8, Northcutt recorded an ace that forced a Troy timeout. A Buckendahl kill clinched set two 25-12.
     
    Set three proved to be close, as neither team was able to gain more than a three-point lead until a Buckendahl kill put Georgia ahead12-8. The Bulldogs maintained a slight edge before Troy tied the set at 13 with a service ace by Mailande Parker. The Bulldogs answered with a four-point run that included a Summers ace and a kill by Briana Bahr. Troy got within three at 20-17, but Georgia came away with the 25-18 win on an Eatmon kill.

    "I thought our team played really well and did what we had to do today," Eatmon said. We've been practicing a lot on our transition play and communication and I think that paid off tonight. I have been working a lot on my foot transition and connections with the setters and I think that showed today."

    Georgia will take on Georgia State at 1 p.m., on Sunday before closing out the Bulldog Invitational with a match against the Slovenian National Team at 4 p.m. Following the match against Slovenia, both teams will be available for autographs.
     




    Mizzou Finishes Second at Tiger Invitational

    COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou volleyball team split a pair of matches on Saturday (Aug. 25) at the Hearnes Center as it took second in the five-team Tiger Invitational, finishing the weekend with a 3-1 overall record. The Tigers won their first game of the day over Nicholls State, 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-17), before falling in the Championship match to No. 23 Michigan, 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-22). The 1-1 record on the day moves Mizzou's overall record to 3-1 through the first weekend of the season.

    Juniors Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) each landed on the All-Tournament team. Kreklow finished the weekend averaging 11.00 assists per set (143 over four matches) while collecting 33 digs, four service aces and 14 kills on .667 hitting. Henning led the Tigers with 57 kills (4.38 per set) on .321 hitting while adding a team-best five service aces and pulling in 25 digs over the four matches.

    Kreklow and Henning were joined on the All-Tournament team by Michigan's Lexi Eriwn (MVP), Tiffany Morales and Lexi Dannemiller, Virginia Tech's Cara Baarendse, Nicholls State's Sarah Terry and North Florida's Paige Prigedon.

    Mizzou opened its day by sweeping Nicholls State in very convincing fashion, hitting .477 with 48 kills in just three sets. Sophomore Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) and Henning did most of the damage, combining for 24 kills on just 44 swings and one error, good for a combined .523 hitting. Wilson had 12 kills on .500 hitting while Henning added 12 on .545 hitting. Sophomore libero Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) pulled in 11 digs in the match and Kreklow was outstanding as usual, spreading 41 assists with seven digs and three kills on six attacks. She guided the Tiger offense to a .477 attack clip.
     
    The nightcap with the No. 23 Wolverines did not go as well for the Tigers. Mizzou was stagnant offensively in the first two sets and Michigan jumped all over the Tigers, winning the first two sets convincingly, 25-19, 25-15. Mizzou had just 21 kills and 11 attack errors over the first two sets. The Tigers came out of intermission and played better, hitting .367 with 12 kills in the third, but it wasn't enough as the passing broke down late in the set, allowing Michigan to escape with a 25-22 set win, clinching the match. Henning led Mizzou with 17 kills on .233 hitting in the match and Hayes tallied more than 10 digs for the fourth straight match as she pulled in a team-best 14 digs.

    The Tigers will be back in action next weekend as they head to Nashville of the Lipscomb Invitational. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.
     



    Dogs Bow in Title Match Despite McVey's Record-Setting Night

    STARKVILLE, Miss. - A school-record 42 digs by freshman libero Roxanne McVey Saturday night wowed the Maroon Classic crowd but wasn’t enough to carry the Bulldogs to the championship of their season-opening tournament at the Newell-Grissom Building. State, after advancing to 2-0 with a 3-1 Saturday afternoon victory over ULM, dropped a five-set battle with Kennesaw State in the title match of the tournament.

    After trailing 2-1 in the match, the Bulldogs rallied for a 25-21 win in the fourth set to force a deciding fifth frame, won 15-11 by the Owls (3-0), who nipped State for the tourney crown.

    “We saw a lot of good things from our team this weekend, particularly from our young players,” said head coach Jenny Hazelwood. “Roxanne was amazing tonight and throughout the tournament, and Sarah Nielsen led us tonight with 13 kills and gave our offense a boost. But down the stretch we didn’t take care of the little things that become so important when you get into a close match with a talented team like Kennesaw State.”

    Errors proved costly. State had 35 attack errors in the title match, 13 by talented freshman Taylor Scott. In spite of the misfires, the rookie registered 12 kills and 17 digs for her second double-double of the day. “She battled hard today and like some of the other new players might have gotten a little tired tonight. But that’s all a part of the learning process, learning how to push through times like that.”

    McVey, whose 42 digs broke the Mississippi State single-match digs record (39) set in 1991 by Shauna Owens, and rookie middle blocker Sarah Nielsen, represented Mississippi State on the Maroon Classic All-Tournament team. The all-tourney team also included Marcela Araya of ULM, Dana Yoshimura of Jackson State and Kennesaw State’s Camille Pedraza and Sara Metroka, the MVP.

    Senior Chanelle Baker tallied 10 kills and 20 digs to earn her second double-double of the year.

    State got eight blocks from freshman middle Alex Warren and seven from Baker en route to a 14-11 advantage in total team blocking. KSU held a 65-55 edge in kills, led by Turea Jones’ 18-kill performance, and played solidly on defense with a 111-109 edge in digs. Pedraza finished with 31 digs to lead a foursome of Owls with 20 or more digs.

    In a Saturday afternoon match, the Bulldogs overcame a strong challenge from the ULM Warhawks in a closely-contested defensive struggle. State piled up 112 digs and freshman Taylor Scott notched her first career double-double in a 3-1 Bulldog win (28-30, 25-18, 25-18, 25-18).

    Scott registered a match-high 21 kills and backed that with 23 digs as State, after dropping the opening set in a 30-28 marathon, claimed the last three sets by identical 25-18 scores.

    Another Bulldog rookie stood tall for State’s offense. Sarah Nielsen registered 15 kills and hit a team-best .379.  Five Bulldogs reached double digits in digs. Chanelle Baker set a career-best with 29, freshman Roxanne McVey added 25, Scott had 23, junior setter Paris Perret 17 and Alex Scott 10. Perret also finished the match with 45 assists for her 15th career double-double.

    The Warhawks amassed an impressive 16-3 edge in total team blocking. Iren Marinova led the match with seven total blocks. Zuzana Markova finished with 13 kills and Samantha Morse had 12.

    State again relied heavily on its younger players, with freshmen accounting for 45 of the team’s 56 kills.

    Mississippi State resumes non-conference tournament play next weekend in Los Angeles, Calif., joining host Southern Cal, Northern Iowa and Boston College in the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational.