SEC Volleyball Today: September 7 > SEC > NEWS
  • JOIN THE SECNATION   Register / Login
  •  

    SEC Volleyball Today: September 7

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    Texas A&M 3, Xavier 0
    Texas A&M 3, Delaware 0
    Auburn 3, Texas State 0
    Wichita State 3, Auburn 1
    Missouri 3, Valparaiso 0
    Morehead State 3, Missouri 2
    Mississippi State 3, Sam Houston State 0
    Mississippi State 3, Tulane 2
    Alabama 3, Lamar 0
    Alabama 3, Austin Peay 1
    Ole Miss 3, Alabama A&M 0
    Ole Miss 3, Rice 0
    Tennessee 3, George Washington 0
    Oklahoma 3, Kentucky 1
    South Carolina 3, Clemson 0
    Arkansas 3, Houston Baptist 0
    Georgia 3, Albany 1
    North Carolina 3, LSU 0
    Florida 3, Jacksonville 0

    A&M Sweeps Xavier at Delaware Invitational
     
    NEWARK, Del. – Texas A&M senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger led all players with 13 kills while hitting a career-high .478 to lead the Aggies to a 25-13, 25-15, 25-16 victory over Xavier in the opening match at the Delaware Invitational at Frank Acierno Arena.
     
    It was the fifth consecutive win for the Aggies, who improve to 6-1 overall. Xavier, which upset A&M, 3-2, at the Michigan/adidas Invitational last year, falls to 5-4.
     
    Mellinger’s effort was only one of many solid performances by the Aggies throughout the match.
     
    “I would call that one of the best performances we’ve had in quite a while just in terms of its consistency, in terms of the intensity and just overall execution,” said A&M 20th-year head coach Laurie Corbelli, who was coaching her 600th match at the helm of the Aggies. “I thought it was really sharp and I was especially proud because it was 10 a.m. in the morning after a really long, hard day of travel. They didn’t let it affect them. They were just very well prepared.”
     
    Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo celebrated her 21st birthday by taking match-high honors with a career-high 13 digs and also pitched in nine kills, and senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller tied her season high with five blocks as A&M outhit Xavier .340 to .062, posting 47 kills to the Musketeers’ 25.
     
    Just like it has done in every match this season, A&M opened the match by winning the first set. The Aggies set the tone early, scoring the first four points and then continued to add to their lead throughout the opening frame. Holding a 12-7 lead, A&M scored six unanswered points behind the serving of senior libero Megan Pendergast and kills by Kastmo and Miller to go up, 18-7.
     
    A&M, which outhit Xavier .448 to .030 in the set, would build its largest lead at 20-8 on a kill by junior setter Allie Sawatzky. She later posted her fourth kill of the set, and senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly followed with a kill as the Aggies doubled-up the Musketeers, 24-12. Xavier got a kill before Mellinger’s fifth kill capped the Aggies’ 25-13 win.
     
    In the second set, Kastmo had three kills during a 5-0 run to give A&M a 7-3 lead. The Aggies never let go of the lead and closed out the set by reeling off eight unanswered points to win the set, 25-15, and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
     
    Xavier equaled its biggest lead of the match at 10-7 in the third set before Mellinger’s kill from the back row began a four-point run for the Aggies. A Xavier kill tied the score at 11-11, but junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds gave A&M the lead for good with one of her seven kills in the match.
     
    The Aggies went on to build a 16-12 lead before Xavier cut the margin to 17-15. The Musketeers would get no closer as Minnerly and Kastmo’s block began a six-point run that put the Aggies ahead, 23-15. A Musketeer kill ended the streak, but Reynolds countered with a kill to put the Aggies at match point. Mellinger then blasted a ball from the back row that went
    through the block and fell in for the match-winning point.
     
    “We served so tough that it was hard for them to get into any kind of a rhythm,” Corbelli added. “We had a lot of balls that came at us that were not too difficult to handle, so we were able to do quick transition plays. They started coming at us in set 3 very hard with their serving and sped up their attacking even more, and that challenged us for a while. We had a few unforced errors then, but as soon as we settled down and really got going I thought it was a group that was really determined. That was my focus was our team’s mentality and keeping it consistent and aggressive, and that is what they had.”
     
    A&M returns to the court at 6 p.m. (CT) today to take on host Delaware.

    Aggies Rout Delaware
     
    NEWARK, Del. – Texas A&M won its sixth consecutive match as the Aggies cruised to a 25-12, 25-23, 25-16 victory over Delaware tonight at the Frank Acierno Arena.
     
    Fifteen of 18 players saw action for the Aggies (7-1), including senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller, who has started every match in her career and made the 100th consecutive start of her career against the Blue Hens.
     
    “It is really important that we establish a rhythm, and we usually start with our starters to get that rhythm and let our hitters have opportunities to feel in the match,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “So once we got that, we wanted to insert some of our other talent and start getting more opportunity to see what they can do.”
     
    The Aggies dominated the opening set, scoring five consecutive points to take a 6-1 lead. Senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger later posted an ace to give A&M a 10-3, forcing the Blue Hens to call their first timeout.
     
    A&M would continue to score consecutive points throughout the set, outhitting the Blue Hens .424 to .029 and widening the margin to 22-10. Delaware scored two to get within 22-12 before Mellinger posted two of her four kills of the set and sparking a three-point run to close out the set.
     
    Corbelli began tweaking the lineup in the second set as a total of 12 players saw action in the frame. A&M went on to build its largest lead at 17-11 when the Blue Hens, who advanced to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championship, began chipping away at the lead. With A&M holding a 20-15 advantage, Delaware scored five unanswered points, three the result of A&M errors, to tie the score for the first time since 2-2.
     
    A kill by junior setter Mariah Agre and a block by freshmen Sierra Patrick and Shelby Sullivan put the Aggies back on top 22-20. A&M’s next attack sailed long, but Ashley Vrana blasted a kill off the block and Alisia Kastmo followed with an ace to put the Aggies at set point. The Blue Hens posted back-to-back kills before junior setter Allie Sawatzky got a kill clinch the 25-23 victory and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead in the match.
     
    “I thought it wasn’t what the players who came off the bench did and didn’t do, it was more the passing kind of broke down and it didn’t allow us to get into a rhythm,” Corbelli said in regard to the close score of the second set. “That frustrated a couple of players who really wanted to go out and do some really nice things. But we were still able to win that second set and continue to get back into our rhythm. Tonight that’s really what it was all about was passing, and I thought our serving was not quite as sharp as it has been.
     
    “We are still learning. We have seven freshmen, and this is match No. 8 and we haven’t gotten them on the court very much yet, so any chance I get, I just want to see how they respond in game situations and really just give them a chance to get the different feel that it is, because it is so different from training.”
     
    Delaware took its first and only lead of the match at 3-2 in the third set, but a kill by Kastmo and a block by Stephanie Minnerly and Heather Reynolds tied the score at 5-5. Delaware then hit long to return the lead to the Aggies, and A&M would not trail the remainder of the match. A service error tied the score at 6-6 before Kastmo got a straight-down kill to start a four-point run.
     
    A&M would post another four-point rally later in the set, with Kastmo getting back-to-back kills to put the Aggies ahead, 19-10. Three consecutive errors put Delaware within 19-13, but A&M got a kill apiece from Mellinger, Reynolds and freshman Shelbi Vaughan. A&M would later hold a 23-15 lead when Vaughan posted her third kill and Sawatzky followed with a solo block to complete the sweep.
     
    Kastmo, celebrating her 21st birthday, led all players with 10 kills and zero errors in 15 attempts for a .667 hitting efficiency. Junior defensive specialist Kelsey Kinley led A&M with 14 digs, and senior libero Megan Pendergast also reached double figures with 12 digs.
     
    Mellinger tallied nine digs to give her 1,180 for her career and move her into 10th in the A&M career record books.
     
    Sawatzky and Sullivan led A&M in blocks with four apiece as A&M held the Blue Hens (1-6) to a .076 hitting efficiency.
     
     




    Auburn Sweeps Texas State, Ties School-Record Win Streak
     
    DALLAS – Texas natives Katherine Culwell and Sarah Bullock combined for 22 kills in their return to their home state, and Auburn volleyball won its ninth straight match with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-19) sweep of Texas State on Friday morning at the SMU Doubletree Invitational.
     
    Auburn (8-0) continued its best start to a season since 1990, when the Tigers won their first nine matches of the season. With a win in the final match of the 2011 season, the Tigers have now won nine straight contests, tying the school record for longest winning streak, held by the 1990 and 2003 teams.
     
    “I thought we were solid all the way through,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. “We had a few times in serve-receive we backed away, but top to bottom, I thought it was our best match of the year. Every team in this tournament is at a very high level, and it’s going to take our best match to get out there and win.”
     
    Bullock, a native of nearby Allen, Texas, led the Tigers with 12 kills, giving her 983 for her career and putting her within sight of becoming Auburn’s 13th all-time player to reach the 1,000-kill mark. Culwell, meanwhile, racked up 10 kills in front of about a dozen friends and family here in her hometown.
     
    Auburn put down 10 blocks as a team, led by a season-best six from Camila Jersonsky (one solo, five assist), while Culwell had four and Chloe Rowand recorded three. Courtney McDonald added a pair of blocks to go along with six kills and a .385 hitting percentage.
     
    Freshman Ciara Richards led the Auburn setters with 16 assists and a service ace, while Chelsea Wintzinger added 14 assists and a pair of aces. Sarah Wroblicky led Auburn with 10 digs.
     
    The Tigers hit .345 as a team, equaling a season-best mark, and held Texas State to a .101 percentage, the lowest opposing hitting mark of the season. Auburn had 39 kills to the Bobcats’ 29, and out-blocked TSU 10-3. Each team recorded 37 digs.
     
    Auburn hit at a stunning .542 clip in the first set and rolled to a 25-15 opening win. Culwell got off to a hot start in the first set, racking up three kills and two blocks, while McDonald led the opening set with five kills from the middle. From a 9-9 tie, Auburn went on a 13-3 run to take a 22-12 lead, getting four kills, three blocks and a service ace in that stretch. Kills from Rowand and McDonald put the Bobcats away as Auburn took a 1-0 lead.
     
    The Tigers started a bit slower in the second set, but started pulling away midway through en route to a 25-19 win and a 2-0 lead. With the score tied 11-11, Auburn got a kill from Jersonsky, an ace from Richards and a TSU error to jump ahead 14-11. From there, the Tigers would keep rolling, getting four kills from Bullock in the set and holding the Bobcats to a .071 hitting percentage.
     
    Set three would start off strong for the Tigers as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. But Texas State kept fighting, tying the match at 10-10 before another 6-0 run by Auburn – highlight by a pair of service aces from Wintzinger – to make it 16-10 and force the Bobcats into a timeout. Bullock kept swinging away, racking up seven kills in the set, while the Tigers took advantage of poor hitting by the Bobcats (.038) to claim another 25-19 win and their fourth consecutive sweep.
     
    The Tigers will play their second match of the day at 5 p.m. when they will take on Wichita State. Live stats can be found at SMUMustangs.com, and @AUVolleyball on Twitter will have live updates throughout the match.

    Auburn Suffers First Loss of Season
     
    DALLAS – Auburn’s volleyball team saw its school record-tying nine-match winning streak come to an end Friday afternoon as the Tigers dropped a 3-1 decision to Wichita State (25-15, 22-25, 16-25, 17-25) in their second match of the day at the SMU Doubletree Classic at Moody Coliseum.
     
    The Tigers (8-1) fell for the first time since the penultimate match of last season, a 3-0 loss at Florida on Nov. 20, 2011. Wichita State (5-3), a 2011 NCAA Tournament participant, used a tough service game and outstanding play from its setter to improve to 2-0 at this week’s tournament after a five-set victory over SMU last night.
     
    “I think that’s the reason we came to this tournament,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said.  “We knew it was going to be tough competition. We came out with lot of confidence and controlled game one. After that, they made some adjustments, started serving tough, and took us out of system. We have to learn how to respond. It’s got to happen to us once, and hopefully we can learn from it and get better.”
     
    Senior Sarah Bullock will have to wait at least one more day to enter Auburn’s 1,000-kill club. She finished tonight’s match with a season-high 15 kills, giving her 998 for her career. She also recorded five digs and hit for a .333 percentage. Katherine Culwell had her second-straight 10-kill match in front of her home fans and narrowly missed a double-double with nine digs.
     
    Camila Jersonsky added six kills and six blocks as the Tigers out-blocked Wichita State 8-5. Halle Kearney matched a season-high seven kills, and Courtney McDonald had five. Sarah Wroblicky led the Tigers with 18 digs.
     
    Auburn controlled the first set from start to finish, winning 25-15 as the Tigers hit .292 in the set and held the Shockers to a -.077 mark. Auburn’s block was strong as the Tigers recorded four total blocks in the game with Jersonsky and Kearney combining on back-to-back stuffs to increase Auburn’s lead to 19-12. Jersonsky would add a kill and an ace from there, and a kill from Kearney would give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
     
    The Tigers saw their streak of 16 consecutive set victories come to an end in the second game as the Shockers took a 25-22 win to even the match at one set apiece. Both teams hit for an outstanding percentage in the set with the Tigers at .375 and Wichita State at .400, but the Tigers made five errors, three of which came in the form of Shocker blocks. Some late struggles in the serve-receive game, however, proved to be the difference as the Shockers scored three straight points after the score was tied 22-22 to clinch the set and tie things up.
     
    Wichita State led from the start in set three, eventually increasing the lead to 11-8 and forcing an Auburn timeout. The Tigers answered with Bullock’s 11th kill of the night and Jersonsky’s fifth block to make it a one-point game, but the Shockers would once again move back ahead by three. Auburn again cut the deficit to one, but this time Wichita State would score three in a row to make it 17-13 and force another Auburn timeout. The Shockers would close on an 8-3 run to take a 25-16 win in the set and a 2-1 lead in the match.
     
    In the fourth set, Shocker setter Chelsea Feekin took over and led her team to a 25-17 win to clinch the match. Feekin had four kills and an ace in the set, giving her eight kills, 34 assists and 13 digs in the match, two kills shy of a triple-double. At the same time, the Auburn offense struggled, recording just nine kills and hitting .152 while Wichita State had 15 kills and swung at a .387 clip. After the Shockers jumped out to a 17-8 lead, the Tigers put together a mini-rally with back-to-back kills from Bullock and a block from Jersonsky to make it a six-point game at 17-11. Auburn would keep it as close as six points at 23-17, forcing a Wichita State timeout, but the Shockers would score the final two points to clinch the win.
     
    Wichita State out-hit Auburn .281 to .214 and had 54 kills to Auburn’s 48. Auburn won the digs battle 47-46 and out-blocked the Shockers 8.0-5.5. Both teams had four service aces.
     
    The Tigers will wrap up the SMU Doubletree Invitational and non-conference play for the season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday when they face tournament host SMU at Moody Coliseum.

     



    Tigers Sweep Valparaiso in MSU Challenge Opener
     
    MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Mizzou volleyball team improved to 7-1 on the season as it earned its fourth straight sweep, defeating Valparaiso, 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-18), on Friday afternoon at Weatherby Gym in the second match of the Morehead State Eagle Challenge. Junior All-American and reigning SEC Player of the Week Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) led the way with 15 kills on .220 hitting while sophomore Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) finished with 12 total points, posting six kills on .600 hitting with three aces and four blocks. The Tigers will play their second match of the tournament against Morehead State tonight at 6 p.m. (CT).
     
    “I was happy with how we came out and battled this morning,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “In these tournaments, it is always important to win the first match and I was happy how the team responded after falling behind 6-0 in the second set. They did a great job of refocusing and did the little things that you have to do to win at this level. Now, we need to get ready for a very good Morehead State team that is coming off of an NCAA Tournament appearance last season.”
     
    Aside from Little and Henning, freshman Regan Peltier (Nixa, Mo.) finished the match with eight kills while Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) pitched in six more. Junior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was spectacular as usual, spreading 34 assists while pulling in 12 digs, good for her fourth double-double of the season. Sophomore Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) led the Tigers with 12 digs as she has now corralled double-digit digs in all eight Tiger matches this season.
     
    The first set was back and forth as Valpo hung on until midway through the first set when a triple block of Kreklow, Peltier and Little combined for a huge stuff block on a pipe shot from the Crusaders, giving them a 19-15 lead. That forced a Crusader timeout and Henning launched a tough serve that resulted in a lift by Valpo, extending the lead to 20-15 and that was all the Tigers needed to take the first, 25-17. Valpo was as close at 15-14, but the Tigers closed the set on a 10-3 run.
     
    Henning and Little did most of the damage in the first as they combined for 10 kills. Henning had seven kills while Little posted three kills on just four swings. In all, the Tigers had 14 kills on just 36 swings in the first, but eight attack errors allowed Valop to hang around.
     
    Mizzou was sloppy to open the second set, allowing Valparaiso to open up a 6-0 lead, prompting Wayne Kreklow to use a timeout. Whatever he said was short and sweet as the team used just 30 seconds of the timeout. That sparked a 10-3 run as Mizzou gained its first lead at 10-9. Little came up with two solo blocks in that span as her play really sparked the Tiger rally as they wound up closing out the set, 25-22.
     
    Through two sets, Henning led the way with 14 kills on .265 hitting while Little posted five kills on nine swing with three blocks and an ace, to total nine points through two sets. Through two sets, Kreklow had 25 assists. Mizzou had 19 kills on .326 hitting in the second.
     
    Mizzou was much sharper to open the third set and jumped all over the Crusaders and eventually ran away with the set, 25-18. Peltier ended the match with her eighth kill on a huge left-side swing. After having eight attack errors in the first set, Mizzou committed just seven in the next two sets as it posted its sixth sweep of the season and fourth straight.
     
    The Tigers will be back in action tonight at 6 p.m. (CT) for a match against defending Ohio Valley Conference Champion Morehead State.

    Mizzou Drops Tough Five-Setter at Morehead State
     
    MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Mizzou volleyball team dropped its second match of the season at Morehead State, 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 21-25, 25-21, 13-15), on Friday night at the MSU Eagle Challenge. The loss drops the Tigers to 7-2 on the season and is their first road loss of 2012. Junior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) turned in a big-time effort with a season-best 24 kills on .300 hitting. Sophomore Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) was also outstanding as she posted 12 kills on .393 hitting while finishing with 12 blocks, just one off of the rally scoring school record, set by Weiwen Wang in 2007 at Colorado.
     
    Looking at the stats, Henning was the bulk of the Tiger offense as she accounted for 26.0 total points while corralling 11 digs, good for her first double-double of the season. Setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) also was spectacular, dishing 50 assists on 60 Tiger kills while pulling in 11 digs, good for her team-leading fifth double-double of the season.
     
    Aside from Little and Henning, the Tigers didn’t get offense from too many other hitters. Sophomore Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was very good as she tallied 10 kills while playing in only front row rotations, but she had just 29 attacks. The difference in the match appeared to be serving as Mizzou tallied just one ace in the match as opposed to 10 errors. Conversely, MSU had six aces and just eight errors. Sophomore Niki Collier (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) led the Tigers with 14 digs while Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) pulled in 13 as she has now pulled in double-digit digs in every match this season.
     
    Mizzou jumped out to a 14-8 lead early in the first due to a very efficient offensive attack, primarily from Henning and Simpson. That forced a MSU timeout. Following that, Morehead attempted to rally as it drew as close as 18-15 prompting a timeout from Wayne Kreklow. Following the timeout, Mizzou ran off six straight points to get to set point. Henning nearly ended the first with a deep shot from the right side, but it was just long. She came back however and ended the set with a line shot from the left side, giving Mizzou a 25-16 win.
     
    Mizzou was very efficient on offense in the first set, posting 14 kills on just 29 kills with Simpson and Henning doing the majority of the damage. Henning posted seven kills on 13 swings while Simpson added five on 11 errorless attacks. Kreklow dished 11 assists in the frame and guided the Tigers to a .379 attack percentage.
     
    Mizzou was sharp again in the second set and rallied back from falling behind 6-3 to build a 13-10 lead. But things stayed tight throughout. Things were all even at 20-20 as the teams began to trade sideouts. It appeared that Mizzou might pull away as it went on top 23-21 after an MSU attack error, but after a timeout, MSU tied the score at 23. The Eagles then scored three of the next four points to win the set, knotting things up at 1-1 heading to intermission.
     
    After hitting .379 in the first set, Mizzou was held to just .194 hitting in the second, due in large part to six attack errors. MSU had 11 attack errors in the second and still had enough to pull out the set. Henning led all attackers with 11 kills through the first two sets.
     
    The third set was easily the closest set of the match as neither team could build any sustained runs. MSU pulled ahead late and went on top 24-21. Mizzou made it interesting with a kill from Henning and a big-time block from Little and Kreklow, but following a timeout from MSU, Meister sent the set point long on the serve to give MSU the win.
     
    The Tigers came back in the fourth and ran out to a 15-12 lead due in large part to a more formidable block. That wound up leading to a 25-21 set win for the Tigers as the block was a key reason for the set win. Through four sets, Henning led the way with 19 kills while Little pitched in 12 more. Simpson had nine though four, but the big reason for the Tigers’ set wins was the block as Mizzou had 14 through four sets.
     
    Mizzou got up again early in the fifth running out to a 7-4 lead, but Morehead went on a 7-2 run to take an 11-9 lead. Mizzou rallied to tie the match at 12-12, but back-to-back kills by Morehead clinched the match.  Mizzou will play tomorrow at 11 a.m. (CT) against Savannah State.
     




    Volleyball Bulldogs Sweep Friday Matches In Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic

    NEW ORLEANS, La. - Mississippi State snapped a four-match losing skid in impressive fashion Friday, racing to a straight-sets win over Sam Houston State (3-6) in the opening competition of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic hosted by Tulane.

    In the second Friday match against host Tulane, Mississippi State hit a season-best .329 in winning a five-set thriller against the Green Wave (1-6). State (4-4) goes after the tournament championship Saturday in a 4:30 p.m. match against Pittsburgh.

    Senior rightside hitter Chanelle Baker matched a season-high with a match-leading 13 kills while sophomore middle blocker Lainey Wyman tallied 11 kills and registered four blocks in her seasonal debut as the Bulldogs rolled past the Bearkats (25-22, 25-17, 25-16) in Friday's opener.

    Wyman, a 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team selection, missed the Bulldogs first six matches over the season's first two weekends with health and disciplinary issues.

    "It was great having Lainey back on the court," said coach Jenny Hazelwood. "She is one of our natural leaders, both with her aggressive play and with her vocal style on the court. Lainey is a go-to offensive player for us, and her presence on the court opens up a lot of possibilities for our other hitters. She's also one of our stronger servers, and that was a factor today too."

    Baker and freshman Sarah Nielsen took advantage of those opportunities. Baker, team co-captain, backed her 13-kill, .550 hitting performance with four blocks and nine digs, while Nielsen finished with nine kills and season-best six blocks.

    Junior setter Paris Perret was also a beneficiary of Wyman's return, registering 38 assists while bolstering the MSU defense with six blocks and nine digs.

    State eclipsed the .300 mark in hitting for the second time this season, hitting .310 with 42 kills in 100 attack attempts. State finished with a 48-40 advantage in digs and an 11-7.5 edge in total team blocking.

    Freshman Roxanne McVey, the SEC's digs leader, paced the MSU defense with a match-high 16 digs.

    State held the upper hand throughout much of a match that featured just three lead changes in each of the three sets.

    Kendall Cleveland led the Bearkats with 12 kills.

    In the nightcap, State got solid performances from middle blockers Sarah Nielsen and Lainey Wyman in winning a five-set thriller (20-25, 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 15-10) with the Green Wave (1-6). Nielsen delivered a season-best 21 kills and Wyman, in her second match of the season, piled up 19 kills.

    "We were up and down in the match tonight, but we seemed to put it all together when we got our passing going. Our two middles (Nielsen and Wyman) combined for 40 kills tonight, and our success passing the ball helped make that possible," said Hazelwood. "It was a good team win for us. Now we need to concentrate on having that type of play on a consistent basis."

    Rookie Taylor Scott also reached double digits and registered her third double-double of the year with 15 kills and a season-best 19 digs. Junior setter Paris Perret tallied 57 assists, her fourth-highest career total while Roxanne McVey took match honors with 25 digs.

    The Bulldogs fell behind 7-2 in the first two sets, struggling to find a rhythm on offense. The Green Wave hit .324 and never trailed in winning the opening set 25-20. State rebounded from the poor start in the second set and pulled away from a 20-20 deadlock to even the match with a 25-22 win. Nielsen tallied six of 21 kills in the frame.

    State got on a roll early against Tulane in the third frame when Nelson and Scott combined for 10 kills and the Bulldogs hit at a sizzling .486 clip. Despite an error-free six-kill performance by Wyman in the fourth set, the Green Wave managed to keep the match alive with a 25-22 win. TU used an early 9-0 run to regain momentum in the match and then held off an MSU charge that knotted the score at 22.

    The Bulldogs had just one attack error in an efficient and balanced offensive showing in the deciding fifth set. Sarah Temperilli had three kills and Wyman, Nielsen and Scott chipped in two each as State pulled away from an early 2-2 tie to seal its first win in a five-set match this season.
     




    Alabama Volleyball Opens Hampton Inn Bama Bash With 3-0 Win Over Lamar
     
    Tuscaloosa, Ala. – For the fifth straight match, the Alabama volleyball team posted a 3-0 victory over its opponent, this time taking down the Lamar Cardinals in straight sets to open the Hampton Inn Bama Bash on Friday morning from Foster Auditorium. With the straight sets victory, the Crimson Tide has now won its last 18 straight sets and improves to 7-1 overall this season. The Cardinals drop to 6-5 on the year.
     
    “We’d like to have a little more consistency in our attack as we had a few more hitting errors than we’d like to see,” Alabama head coach Ed Allen said. “Any time you start a tournament with a 3-0 win, that’s what we prefer. We also look forward to getting some consistency in the lineup as well.”
     
    Alabama’s offensive attack was paced by 10 kills by freshman outside hitter Laura Steiner. Steiner, who made her first career start in an Alabama uniform, posted a season-high .529 hitting percentage after committing just one error on 17 attempts. Andrea McQuaid added eight kills from the right side, posting a .348 hitting mark to compliment the play of Steiner.
     
    The Tide finished the match with a .314 hitting percentage, posting 39 total kills with just eight errors on 91 attempts. Defensively, Alabama helped Lamar to a .196 hitting percentage as the Cardinals had 33 kills and 14 errors on 97 attempts. The Tide finished the day with four total blocks as Leigh Moyer led the way with three assisted blocks.
     
    Freshman outside hitter Mattie Weldy came off the bench in the third set to record six kills on 14 swings  for a .347 hitting percentage. Kryssi Daniels posted a season-high 12 digs to lead the Tide, and McQuaid finished the match with nine. Sierra Wilson had 31 assists to go along with four digs.
     
    With the score tied 11 in the opening set, Alabama went on a 5-1 run to take a 16-12 lead following a kill by Katherine White. After Lamar evened the score at 16-16, the Tide wrapped up the set with a 9-2 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
     
    In the second set the score was tied at 12 before the Tide went on an 8-3 run to open a 20-15 following an ace by Steiner. From there UA cruised to the 25-18 victory in the set. Steiner had nine kills by the end of the second set.
     
    In the third, Alabama rallied late to keeps its consecutive sets streak alive. Lamar held a 24-21 lead before Bama scored the final five points of the set for a 26-24 victory to win in three. With the score 24-23 in favor of the Cardinals, Cynthia McCollum was called for a back row attack error that evened the score at 24-24. From there a kill by Steiner and an attack error on Lamar’s Sierra Whittaker ended the match.
     
    Alabama will play Austin Peay later today, with first serve at 7 p.m. CT from Foster Auditorium.

    Alabama Volleyball Takes Down Austin Peay in Four Sets
     
    Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The Alabama volleyball team improved to 8-1 on the season following a 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22) win over the Austin Peay Lady Govs on Friday night in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash. The Crimson Tide posted a season-high 65 kills in the match, as four players reached double figures in kills and digs.
     
    The 8-1 start for the Tide is the best start to a season since opening the 2005 campaign with a 13-1 mark. Alabama had a .247 hitting percentage, while the Lady Govs (3-9) posted a .259 hitting percentage against the Tide.
     
    ‘“I do not mind back and forth playing, at a level that we are capable of playing at, I did not like the back and forth tonight,” head coach Ed Allen said. “We were losing the battle at the net; they were just beating us up at the net. The fact that that was back and forth was frustrating. We expected that to happen, they kept the ball alive and they’re aggressive. They pursue balls and they did a great job of forcing us to beat them.”
     
    Alabama was paced by Kayla Fitterer’s season-high 18 kills, while Katherine White had a career night as the sophomore middle blocker had career highs with 13 kills and a .706 hitting percentage. White had just on hitting error in 13 attempts on Friday night.
     
    Andrea McQuaid had 12 kills and Laura Steiner had 11 for the Tide. Steiner came off the bench to provide a spark for Alabama, as she recorded 10 of her 11 kills in the final two sets.
     
    “Laura Steiner has played sporadically for the season, but she has appeared in just about every match that we have played in some capacity,” Allen said. “The truth is that Steiner got in because Pricilla Duke- Ezeji wasn’t doing it for us.  Bottom line is, she came in and she was a spark plug. She has the ability to heat it up pretty quickly and give quality swings and be aggressive with what she does. She is not playing like a freshman; she’s playing like a kid that has been here for a while. Right now we desperately need that.”
     
    McQuaid posted her second double-double of the season and 17th of her career, as she was one of four players to record double digits in digs with 14. Fitterer posted her first double-double of the season, the 26th of her career, as she had 12 digs to go along with her 18 kills.
     
    Cristina Arenas had a season and match-high 27 digs and Kryssi Daniels had 11 digs after posting a season-high 12 against Lamar earlier on Friday. Daniels also added a pair of aces in the match and Sierra Wilson finished the night with 55 assists.
     
    Alabama was out-hit in the opening set, but with the score tied at 21-21, the Tide was helped by three errors by Austin Peay’s Jada Stotts as UA won the first set 25-21. In the second set, Alabama hit .302 compared to a .244 hitting mark by APSU as the Tide took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-21. Once again the score was knocked at 21-21, but three kills by Fitterer and an error by Stotts gave the Tide the final four points of the set.
     
    Austin Peay made things interesting in the third set, posting a 25-14 win over Bama. APSU hit .444 for the set, while holding UA to a .143 mark. The fourth set was tightly contested as well, as Alabama walked away with a 25-22 victory and a four-set win on the night. Once again the score was tied at 21, and once again a pair of errors by Stotts helped Bama open a 23-21 lead. A serve error on Bama cut to lead to one, and then after Nikki Doyle committed an attack error, Steiner put down the final point with her 11th kills of the night ended the match.
     
    Alabama will play its final two matches of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash on Saturday against Alabama State and East Tennessee State. The Tide takes on the Hornets at 11:30 a.m. and the Buccaneers at 7 p.m., at Foster Auditorium.

     




    Rebels Win Home Opener 3-0
     
    OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team opened its home season the same way it has for the past nine years now; with a win. The Rebels (4-3) took out Alabama A&M 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-13) in their first match of the Magnolia Invitational at the Gillom Sports Center.
     
    “I thought it was a good win for us,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “It’s good to be back home. The kids did a really nice job of staying focused throughout the match and shut down Alabama A&M. Hopefully it helps us in this evening’s match.”
     
    The Rebels will play again Friday at 7 p.m. CT against Rice in their second match of the Magnolia Invitational. Rice defeated North Dakota in its opening match of the tournament.
     
    Ole Miss was led in its match by senior setter Amanda Philpot, who recorded 29 assists, eight kills and seven digs. Senior right side Allegra Wells had a match-high 11 kills against the Bulldogs, and senior libero Ashley Veach had a match-high 14 digs.
     
    The Rebels hit at a .524 clip in the third and final set, recording 14 kills on 21 attempts and committing just three errors.
     
    In Friday night’s match against Rice, two fans will compete for a $50 Kroger card during the intermission.

    Philpot’s Triple-Double Leads Rebels To 3-0 Win
     
    OXFORD, Miss. – Senior setter Amanda Philpot put together a triple-double Friday night in front of an electric crowd at the Gillom Sports Center, leading the Rebels (5-3) to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-17) victory over Rice (4-6) in the Magnolia Invitational.
     
    Philpot recorded her first triple-double of the season Friday night with 36 assists, 14 digs and a season-high 11 kills, including six in the final set.
     
    In a match that was much closer than the final score indicated, Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin was very pleased with the team sticking to the game plan and executing down the stretch.
     
    “I’m very proud of them,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We did a great job of executing a game plan. Our big thing was to limit No. 3 (on Rice) and she only got nine kills, and she’s been averaging a lot more than that.”
     
    Philpot stole the show for Ole Miss, finding her way into seemingly every play for the Rebels and providing a steady hand both defensively and offensively. Following the match, Getzin praised Philpot for her play and senior libero Ashley Veach.
     
    “Ashley Veach made some huge digs down the stretch,” Getzin said. “Anytime that happens it changes the team’s offensive attacking. Amanda Philpot with her first triple-double of the year – that doesn’t happen a whole lot – that’s quite impressive.”
     
    Freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte, a three-time state high jump champion in high school, electrified the crowd on numerous occasions with 11 kills on 16 attempts.
     
    After a tight 25-22 win in the first set, Ole Miss faced a bit of adversity in the second set of the match, trailing Rice by a score of 23-21. Back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Kiley Sherman and Philpot, respectively, evened the score at 23 and prompted a timeout by visiting Rice. Following a ball handling error by the Owls, senior outside hitter Kara Morgan finished the set with a kill to give the Rebels the 25-23 win in the set and a 2-0 lead in the match.
     
    Ole Miss hit at a .433 clip in the third set and used a 6-1 run midway through the set to get the victory. The win gave Ole Miss a 2-0 record on the day and pushed the Rebels’ overall record to 5-3.
     
    Ole Miss was led in its opening match of the day against Alabama A&M by Philpot, who recorded 29 assists, eight kills and seven digs. Senior right side hitter Allegra Wells had a match-high 11 kills against the Bulldogs, and Veach had a match-high 14 digs.
     
    The Rebels hit at a .524 clip in the third and final set, recording 14 kills on 21 attempts and committing just three errors.
     
    Ole Miss will close out play in the Magnolia Invitational on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CT against North Dakota. UND (4-5) enters the match with a 1-1 record in the tournament with a win 3-0 win over Alabama A&M following a 3-1 loss to Rice to open the tournament.
     
    Fans will have an opportunity to predict the score of the second set before the match. The fan that guesses the score of the second set closest wins a flat-screen TV.
     



    No. 16 Tennessee Sweeps George Washington, 3-0
     
    COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The 16th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team picked up its first shutout of the 2012 campaign on Friday, sweeping George Washington 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-16) to open the SpringHill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational at the Comcast Pavilion on the campus of the University of Maryland.
     
    “It was a really good match for us,” said head coach Rob Patrick. “We had some new players in and some players playing some new positions. Kayla Jeter played some outside and Stephanie Stoll played quite a bit in the middle. My biggest thing is staying organized. The team did a wonderful job of staying organized on the court and not try to over-do anything. I’m very happy with how hard we played. George Washington didn’t give us any points. We really had to go out and take points in this match.”
     
    The Lady Vols (5-2) were led by senior right side hitter Leslie Cikra, who totaled 13 kills on 17 attempts with no errors for a career-best .765 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Baker added 10 kills for the Lady Vols and hit .450 in the match. UT finished with a team hitting percentage of .312, the second-highest mark of the season. UT hit .356 in a four-set win over Cincinnati.
     
    “We’ve been working with her (Leslie Cikra) a little bit,” said Patrick. “One of the things we talk about with her is just getting less errors. She gets enough kills for us; we just want her to have a few less errors and well she made zero today. I was really proud of her.”
     
    Redshirt freshman Mercedes Vaughn finished with a career-high five kills and a career-best six blocks, while sophomore setter Mary Pollmiller dished out 35 assists and scooped eight digs.
     
    “One of the things we talked about with Mercedes was that she’s really in there as a blocker,” Patrick said. “We want her to be able to close blocks and be organized and she keeps getting better and better every time she laces them up and gets out on the court.”
     
    The Big Orange used a late 7-1 run to go up 21-14 on the Colonials (2-7) and would go on to win the opening game by a 25-20 margin. Both Baker and Cikra added four kills, while Cikra hit an even .800 in the set. Stoll, a redshirt sophomore, earned her first-career start at UT, totaling four blocks and two kills. Stoll returned to the squad this season after her battle with cancer sidelined her after 10 matches in 2011.
     
    The Colonials, who were led by Lauren Whyte in the match, took a 5-2 lead in the second frame. Whyte finished the contest with a match-high 14 kills. The game consisted of 12 ties and five lead changes, but the Orange & White once again closed the set on a run. Anchored by Baker, Tennessee scored seven of the last nine points to rally and take the set, 25-22. Baker had the final two kills of the frame.
     
    A George Washington kill put the Colonials up 1-0 to start the third set, but the Lady Vols used a trio of 4-0 runs to take the deciding game, 25-16, and clinch their first sweep of the campaign. Baker, Cikra and Vaughn combined for 10 kills in the last set.
     
    Defensively, Tennessee was led by junior libero Ellen Mullins. The Nashville, Tenn., native finished with 10 digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Nikki Brice added seven digs for the Big Orange.
     
    The Orange & White returns to action at the event on Saturday with a pair of matches against Atlantic Coast Conference affiliates. UT will take on Boston College (4-3) at 11 a.m. and conclude the tournament against host Maryland (4-2) at 7:30 p.m.
     




    Sooners Outlast Wildcats in Four Toughly-Fought Sets

    LINCOLN, Neb. – Despite a valiant effort by the 19th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team the Oklahoma Sooners outlasted the Wildcat attack for a 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-23) victory on Friday evening in Lincoln, Neb. Kentucky trailed 2-0 going into the locker room and forced a fourth set before falling in dramatic fashion in the final frame.

    With the loss, Kentucky falls to 6-3 on the young season. Oklahoma improves to 7-3 on the year. UK will return to action on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET in a showdown with No. 1 Nebraska.

    Kentucky received impressive performances from seniors Ashley Frazier and Stephanie Klefot, junior Whitney Billings and sophomore Jackie Napper in leading the comeback effort. Frazier had a season-high 18 kills. Billings logged a double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs. Klefot posted 19 digs and added a pair of assists. Napper charted a career-high 18 digs to lead the charge.

    Freshman Morgan Bergren made her first career start at setter and passed out 42 assists. She had four kills, seven digs and four blocks to aid the Wildcat cause. Junior Alexandra Morgan matched a career high with 10 kills and paced the UK defensive effort with seven blocks.

    Kentucky charted 54 kills in the match compared to just 41 from the Sooners. However, UK committed 38 hitting errors and Oklahoma turned in 19 blocks to provide the difference maker in the match.

    In the most competitive set of the match the teams put on a spectacular display of volleyball with a number of extended rallies in the fourth set as neither team would go away quietly. Oklahoma had 11 kills in the final frame, but benefited from 12 UK attacking errors to take the match with a 25-23 final set score.

    The squads exchanged points in the early portion of the set before Oklahoma shook loose for a three-point edge at 19-16. Kentucky charged back to knot the score at 21 as Napper and Frazier hooked up for a kill. The momentum shift swung back into Oklahoma’s favor when the Wildcats were charged with four attacks during a tremendous rally. UK fought off match point twice before Oklahoma finally clinched the match with its 19th block on the night.

    The Sooners opened to a 6-0 in the first set and never looked back staving off every Wildcat rally. The Sooners had 11 kills on .176 hitting in the opening set, as UK managed just 12 on a .043 clip.

    Kentucky came out firing on all cylinders to begin the second set. UK earned an early 7-3 lead as Morgan and sophomore Lauren O’Conner teamed up for back-to-back blocks to highlight the run. Oklahoma called an early timeout and put together a 10-3 run following the break to steal the lead. The Sooners never relinquished the advantage earning a second-straight 25-20 set victory for a 2-0 lead into the break.

    UK comprised its best set of the weekend with 15 kills on .355 hitting in the third stanza. The Blue and White opened to an 8-3 advantage with Billings leading the early charge with three kills and an ace in the opening run. Despite a number of efforts to quell the Wildcat attack, Oklahoma could not keep pace as the Wildcats rolled to a 25-17 victory. Billings closed the set with a kill to force the fourth frame.
     




    Gamecocks Sweep Clemson
                    
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – With a raucous crowd of 1,512 fans, the third largest in the 16-year history of the Volleyball Competition Facility, watching, South Carolina (9-0) swept past Clemson (6-2) 25-23, 25-20, 25-19, behind outstanding performances from senior setter Taylor Bruns and junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin on Friday evening.

    Bruns posted 10 kills without an attacking error and 30 assists in the triumph over the archrival Tigers. Hitting .588, Bruns was the only Gamecock to best Thévenin’s .500 mark, as she led all players with 15 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Bethanie Thomas added seven kills and 12 digs. Freshman middle blocker Darian Dozier posted a season-best six blocks, including two solo stuffs, while freshman outside hitter Jenna Allen added eight digs. Junior libero Paige Wheeler had nine digs, and Bruns finished with seven, three shy of a triple-double.

    Moneshia Simmons tallied 14 kills to lead Clemson, while Sandra Adeleye and Kristin Faust both had 10 kills. Natalie Patzin led all players with 16 digs, with Faust adding 13 and Kamryn Sherman 10 to go with 27 assists. Adeleye hit .562 on the night and led the Tigers with three blocks.

    The Gamecocks outlasted a late Clemson push to take the first set, 25-23. The Gamecocks took a five-point lead on Thomas’s serve at 20-15, but the Tigers clawed back, closing the gap to 23-20 on kills from Alexa Rand and Simmons. Thomas got a kill to put the Gamecocks to set point, but Adeleye fought off the first. Serenat Yaz posted a kill and a block assist with Adeleye to make it 24-23, but redshirt sophomore Cara Howley put away an overpass to end the frame. Thévenin had five kills without an error on eight swings in the frame, while Wheeler and Allen both had five digs. The Gamecocks posted 24 digs in the first frame alone.

    The second set saw a lot more offense from both sides, but mainly from South Carolina as it took the frame 25-20. A four-point skein, powered by two Bruns kills, made it 20-15. The advantage grew to 23-16 on Bruns’ serve, and the freshmen Dozier and Christina Vereb sent back a Tiger attack to end the frame at 25-20. Thévenin repeated her first-set performance in the second, helping the Gamecocks post a .419 hitting percentage in the frame.

    South Carolina opened the third with a 9-4 advantage thanks to three Tiger attack errors. Clemson fought back to within one on Sherman’s serve, as the setter landed one ace in the four-point stand. The Gamecocks worked the lead back to four before Clemson drew within one again. At 17-16, Thévenin posted a kill, starting a five-point rally that included a kill and solo block from Dozier. Thévenin finished off the match with a tip kill off the block at 25-19. She had five kills again in the third, while Bruns added four and Thomas three.

    The Gamecocks won the hitting battle, .321-.192, and had a 10-3 advantage in blocks and a one-ace edge. The Tigers won the kills and digs categories. South Carolina improves to 9-0 on the year, tying the 1984 team for the second-best winning streak to begin a season.

    The 1,512 fans in attendance is the most in the VCF to see a match since the all-time record of 1,793 set on Sept. 21, 2001 against Florida. It’s the second-largest South Carolina-Clemson crowd in Columbia, only behind the 1,965 who watched the 2004 Gamecocks sweep the Tigers in Colonial Life Arena on Sept. 7, the last 3-0 win for South Carolina in the series. The Gamecocks remain undefeated in the VCF against the Tigers in regular-season play.

    South Carolina takes on UAB at 11 a.m. on Saturday to start day two of the Carolina Clash, while it closes the day at 7 p.m. against in-state foe Winthrop.
     



    Balanced effort results in Arkansas sweep of HBU
              
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In its first match of the Razorback Invitational, the University of Arkansas volleyball team posted a three-set win over Houston Baptist (25-17, 25-16, 25-18) Friday evening at Barnhill Arena. Jasmine Norton had a match-high 13 kills, Liz Fortado and Hayley Koop each added nine kills and the Razorback offense posted a .336 hitting percentage. From her setter position, Raymariely Santos notched her fifth double-double of the season with 33 assists and 11 digs.
                
    “We came out ready and executed,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “You can tell by the numbers with a .336 hitting percentage and 55 digs. Those two numbers are pretty impressive on the offensive and defensive ends. I thought we had good balance throughout the night and did some good things.”
                
    With her seventh kill of the match, Norton moved into third place on the program’s all-time kills list, passing Kim Storey (1995-98, 1,471 kills) in the process. She now has 1,478 kills in her career and is 22 away from becoming the third player in Arkansas volleyball history to reach the 1,500 mark.
                
    Santos reached a career milestone of her own in Friday’s match against the Huskies. The junior setter is the fifth player in school history to eclipse 2,000 career assists. With Friday’s effort, Santos now has 2,031 assists in her Razorback career.
                
    Arkansas (7-2) controlled the opening set with a blistering .484 hitting percentage. Fortado registered the first three kills of the match for the Razorbacks and the home team led 11-7 after consecutive kills from Norton and Koop. The lead reached seven—17-10—after an HBU attack error. The visitors called their second timeout after a service ace by Monica Bollinger gave Arkansas a 22-14 lead. On the Razorbacks’ first set point, Norton found the floor to secure the opener, 25-17.
                
    In the second set, Arkansas won five of the first seven points to maintain its momentum. Houston Baptist (6-3) pulled to within two early but a quick three-point push gave the Razorbacks a 14-8 lead and forced a timeout from the Huskies. Later in the set, the home team took advantage of three HBU miscues in a four-point window to take a 19-10 lead. Fortado and Janeliss Torres-Lopez teamed up for a block to give Arkansas set point. Two points later, Koop clinched the set—25-16—with her second kill of the game.
                
    After a quick start by the Razorbacks to start the third, the visitors rallied to pull within one at 12-11. In the final decisive move of the match, Arkansas responded with four straight points to regain control of play. The Razorbacks reached 20 after back-to-back kills on the outside by Norton and Koop, respectively. Like she did to start the night, Fortado pounded consecutive kills to close out the third set—25-18—and the match.
                
    “We learned a lot from our last match,” Santos said. “We’ve been working the last few days on how we need to get ready for the next match, and how every match is important. I think we did a good job of that today. We handled the situation well, and now just need to get ready for two matches tomorrow.”
                
    Day two of the Razorback Invitational begins Saturday with an 11 a.m. (CT) matchup between Arkansas and ULM. In the tournament finale, the Razorbacks return to the court to play UTEP with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday’s tournament slate also includes matches between Houston Baptist and UTEP at 1:30 p.m. and ULM and Houston Baptist at 4:30 p.m.
     




    Le’au Shines in Georgia’s 3-1 Win
     
    EAST LANSING, Mich. – Tirah Le’au led the University of Georgia volleyball team with 19 kills, as it defeated the Albany Great Danes 3-1(25-14, 21-25, 26-24, 25-19) in the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational, hosted by Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. With the win, Georgia improves to 6-1 on the season, while Albany drops to 2-5 on the year.
     
    “We did not play out best volleyball tonight, but I have to give credit to Albany, who put a lot of pressure on us,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said. “We battled for the win, but I saw a lot of things that we need to work on. This match exposed some things that we need focus on during tomorrow’s matches. I feel good that we were able to battle for the win, but we have to continue to improve each and every point as we go through the rest of the tournament.”
     
    Le’au led all players with 19 kills, one shy of her career best, while hitting at a .484 clip. Three other Bulldogs finished with double-digit kills, including Lauren Teknipp and Chloe Buckendahl, who eachfinished with a season-best12 kills. Jasmine Eatmon added a season-high 10 kills in the win. Maggie Baumert recorded a season-best 33 assists to pace the Georgia offense.
     
    Defensively, Elena Perri led the team with six total blocks, including one solo stop, with Briana Bahr adding three blocks. Buckendahl earned her second double-double performance of the season, finishing tied for a team-high 17 digs. Allison Summers also posted 17 digs.
     
    The teams tied five times in set one before a Le’au kill and an Albany attack error put Georgia ahead 7-5. An Albany kill cut the lead to one at 10-9, before a Buckendahl kill sparked a seven-point run, which included three-straight kills by Teknipp that put the Bulldogs up 17-9. Georgia went on to take the first set 25-14 on a Buckendahl kill.
     
    After dropping the second set 25-21, Georgia took the third set 26-24 to bring the match score to 2-1. The Bulldogs rallied from a 7-3 deficit to make it a one-point set at 13-12. Georgia took advantage of an Albany attack error to take its fits lead of the set at 17-16. Albany tied the set at 19, but a pair of kills by Le’au and Stacey Smith allowed the Bulldogs to take a 21-19 lead. Albany retook a two-point lead at 24-22, before a kill by Kaylee Kehoe sparked a game-clinching, four-point run that sealed set three26-24.
     
    Georgia used the momentum from set three to race out to an 8-1 lead in the fourth and final set. The Great Danes scored four-straight points to cut the lead to two at 13-11 and forced a Georgia timeout. The Bulldogs came out of the break and scored five-straight points to take an 18-11 lead. Albany brought the set within five at 20-15, but a kill by Buckendahl sealed the fourth and final set 25-19 and allowed the Bulldogs to take the 3-1 win.
     
    Georgia gets back in action tomorrow at 10 a.m., when it takes on IPFW in the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. The Bulldogs will take on host-school Michigan State tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.
     



    LSU Volleyball Swept at North Carolina
     
    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The LSU volleyball team was dealt a 3-0 loss by North Carolina [18-25, 19-25, 14-25] Friday to cap day one of the Carolina Classic as 2,807 fans gathered at Carmichael Arena.
     
    The Tar Heels (6-1), who are receiving votes in the latest edition of the AVCA Top 25 poll, garnered a .294 hitting percentage compared to a season-low .053 clip for LSU (2-5). UNC also outdug and outblock the Tigers by 49-44 and 8-4 margins, respectively.
     
    LSU was paced by Desiree Elliott’s 11 kills and two blocks. Madie Jones tacked on eight kills, while Cati Leak chipped in five kills to go along with a team-high 11 digs. Malorie Pardo handed out 22 assists and tallied a season-best nine digs.
     
    Defensively, Meghan Mannari pushed her streak to six straight matches with double figure digs and recorded 10 scoops.
     
    “First, you have to credit North Carolina because they jumped on us really fast and took it to us,” head coach Fran Flory said. “Our kids didn’t respond too well. It’s too bad because I thought we had a great game plan. We could not stay the course. We need to play a lot more disciplined and play with a lot more aggressive style if we want to win matches like these.”
     
    UNC was fueled by Emily McGee, who powered home 14 kills and corralled 10 digs. Chaniel Nelson turned in a solid all-around effort with seven kills, nine digs and three blocks. Kayla Berringer and Tia Gaffen added six kills apiece, while Paige Neuenfeldt totaled four kills and five blocks.
     
    Ece Taner provided a match-high 14 digs for the Tar Heel back row.
     
    “Part of our problem is that we don’t have a stabilizing force on the court right now,” Flory said. “We’re not balanced and we’re not disciplined. When you’re not those two things against a good team like North Carolina, things aren’t going to go your way. That’s what happened tonight.”
     
    North Carolina raced out to a 5-0 advantage in set one and led wire-to-wire during the frame. Nelson ripped three quick kills from the right side position. Down 6-1, LSU ripped off three consecutive points highlighted by a Leak kill and a Helen Boyle-Elliott block to pull back to 6-4. The Tar Heels regained the momentum and a five-point spread at 14-9 as Berringer-Gaffen teamed up for a block on Jones. McGee racked up seven of her 14 spikes during the opening stanza as North Carolina completed the 25-18 win.
     
    The second set featured seven ties and a pair of lead changes. LSU grabbed a 9-8 edge on a Boyle spike before the Tar Heels strung together four straight points capped by a Harms kill to make it 12-9. From there, the Tigers pulled back to within two points on three occasions, the latest at 16-14. LSU committed three straight errors and picked up a 25-19 victory.
     
    Ahead 11-9 in set three, North Carolina ran off 11 of the next 13 points to take control of the frame and secure the sweep by a 25-14 margin. LSU garnered a negative hitting percentage with 10 kills against 11 hitting miscues.  
     
    LSU wraps up its non-conference slate at the Carolina Classic Saturday against Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan, a pair of 2011 NCAA Tournament squads. First serve are scheduled for 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively. Both matches will have live audio and live stats available for free inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net.
     
    “The two matches for us are must wins,” Flory said. “Tonight would have been a quality road win for us, but what’s done is done. We have to move forward with two tough matches tomorrow. I think we’ll bounce back. I certainly hope that the leaders of this group will challenge each other and step up. I still have a lot of confidence and belief in this team. We just have to find the right combination.”
     
    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.
     




    No. 15 Gator Volleyball Earns Fourth Sweep of 2012 in 3-0 Victory over Jacksonville
     
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 15 Gators (4-2, 0-0 SEC) were virtually unstoppable in the O’Connell Center on Friday night, sweeping the Jacksonville Dolphins, 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-11), to open the Active Ankle Challenge.
     
    Freshman setter Dana Backlund (Wildomar, Calif.) dished out 33 assists to set the Gators to their highest hitting percentage (.468) since October 2, 2011 (at Georgia, .469). She added four kills on six attempts for a .500 hitting clip to go along with three blocks.
     
    “Today was a great opportunity and experience for Dana Backlund,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “She may be called at any point in time and as the match went on, she got better and better and found rhythm with her hitters. Tonight also gave Gabby Mallette another good opportunity by playing in that (outside hitter) role and by her numbers, it’s clear she responded.”
     
    Florida’s freshman outside hitters, Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) and Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.), were both errorless on Friday night, hitting .619 (13 kills) and .700 (seven kills), respectively. Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) responded after a phenomenal hitting weekend at the Nike Big Four Classic, tallying nine kills for a .438 hitting clip.
     
    “I always think our hitting percentage is a reflection of our passing; our passers are often the unsung heroes,” Wiggs said. “They do so much work and come in early to make sure they get great balls up for us. Honestly, as a hitter I think I have the easy job. I just finish off the work. It’s really a reflection of how hard our setters work to get us good, hittable balls. A lot of the praise needs to go to the passers and the setters.”
     
    The Gators’ defense was stellar on Friday evening, as sophomores Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.), Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) and Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) combined for 29 digs and Unroe led the way with 12 against the Dolphins. At the net, it was all senior Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), who stuffed five blocks on the night to go along with five kills.
     
    “(We) played great in the backcourt tonight and (they) inspired their teammates with good plays,” Wise said. “I’m perhaps most pleased with our blocking numbers and that was Betsy Smith, who plays with great energy and it’s clear why we love having her on the court.”
     
    Florida jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set behind the sizzling jump serve of Unroe, who tallied an ace during her serving run. The Gators led the entire set, using smart swings off the block throughout the set to pull away. Backlund notched her first solo stuff of the season to force Jacksonville into a timeout at 14-11. Pole served up an ace of her own at 21-15 to make the Dolphins burn their second timeout of the set. The Gators continued to be scrappy on defense, using a scramble play by Pole, Backlund and Recek to pull ahead 22-15.
     
    The Gators started the second set strong, including winning the longest rally of the match with two perfect digs apiece by Pole and Unroe to force the Dolphins to take a timeout at 9-3. Freshman middle blocker Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.) nailed a Jacksonville overpass to go ahead 14-8 and the Dolphins burned their second timeout after a Monserez ace put the Gators ahead, 18-9. A Recek kill extended the Florida lead to 19-10 and the Orange and Blue took their largest lead of the set off a Mallette kill and an ensuing Jacksonville hitting error at 24-10. A JU service error gave Florida the second set, 25-11.
     
    Behind serving runs from Antwi and Recek, Florida jumped out to an 11-4 lead, forcing a Jacksonville timeout. Wiggs smashed one on an X play to the middle to put the Gators ahead, 14-6. Smith and Wiggs teamed up for a stuff block to go ahead 16-7. The Gators extended their lead to 18-10 off a dumped kill by Backlund, as the Dolphins used their final timeout of the match. Three Gator stuff blocks in four points continued the Gators’ surge, 22-10. Mallette slammed one by the block to set up match point for Florida, 24-10. A Mallette solo stuff ended the set and the match, 25-11.
     
    The Active Ankle Challenge continues Saturday, as Florida faces Louisiana at 12 p.m. and Georgia Tech at 7:30 p.m. Both matches will air live on GatorVision and can be heard on GatorZone.com.