|Auburn 3, South Carolina 1
|Arkansas 3, Tennessee 1
|Georgia 3, Alabama 2
|Florida 3, Missouri 0
|Ole Miss 3, Mississippi State 1
|LSU 3, Kentucky 2
Auburn Takes Down Previously Unbeaten South Carolina, 3-1
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn’s volleyball team got a combined 39 kills from Sarah Bullock and Katherine Culwell and used a strong service game to defeat previously unbeaten South Carolina 3-1 (25-27, 25-16, 25-18, 25-22) Friday night at the Student Activities Center.
The Tigers (11-2, 2-1 SEC) had four different players with double-doubles and were able to use a strong service game to keep the Gamecocks (13-1, 2-1 SEC) off-balance throughout the final three sets. The Tigers also hit .342 as a team – their second-best percentage of the season – and got big performances from numerous players while holding South Carolina to a .241 hitting mark.
“That was a great win,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. “They’re a great team. Defensively, they put a lot of pressure on us, especially early. I thought the biggest thing we did to change the tide a bit was serve and serve-receive. They’re a good passing team, and we started mixing some things up on serve to get them out of system.”
Bullock came within one kill of her career-high, putting down 20 balls in the match while hitting for a .391 percentage. She also recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 13 digs, one of five Tigers with double-digit digs. She now has 990 career digs, just 10 shy of becoming Auburn’s fifth all-time player with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Bullock was also Auburn’s strongest passer, recording 43 service receptions without an error.
“I think a lot of that starts with our passing,” Nold said. “When we can get our middle involved, it opens things up for all of our hitters. But I thought both (Bullock and Culwell) started off very aggressive and going at them before they had a good chance to get their block set up. But again, it all starts with passing, and we did a good job with that tonight.”
Culwell narrowly missed hitting the 20-kill mark for the second straight match, finishing with 19 kills and 12 digs for her second double-double of the year. She also recorded a career-high six blocks. And Camila Jersonsky had her fourth match of the season in double-digits, posting 10 kills to go along with seven blocks and five digs. And Chloe Rowand hit .583 for the match, putting down seven kills on 12 attacks with no errors.
Both Auburn setters posted double-doubles for the second straight match. Chelsea Wintzinger led with 28 assists and 12 digs while Ciara Richards had 27 assists and 14 digs. Sarah Wroblicky led all Auburn defenders with 17 digs.
Richards and Wroblicky were key components of the service game that kept the Gamecocks off-balance throughout the final three sets as the two combined for five of Auburn’s eight service aces. It marked Auburn’s most aces in a match since recording 11 against Tennessee-Martin on Aug. 28, 2010.
“We thought more about getting them moving. We were serving aggressively but almost right to them in game one. And they were passing very well with that, so we just needed to get them moving some, then just try to find ways to take them out of system.”
Auburn had 65 kills to Carolina’s 54 and won the digs battle 75-65. The Tigers also recorded 10 blocks in the match while South Carolina had just four.
A back-and-forth first set that saw 19 ties and five lead changes ultimately went Carolina’s way, 27-25. Both teams were near the .300 mark in hitting, but the Gamecocks managed to get the big kill at the best time. Neither team led by more than three points in the set. Auburn fought off two set points at 24-23 and 25-24, but an Auburn error at 25-25 set up the Gamecocks’ Sarah Blomgren to get the clinching kill.
After Auburn fell behind 4-0 early in set two, the Tigers went on an 11-1 run – including two aces from Wroblicky – to take an 11-5 lead. From there, the Gamecocks would get no closer than four points as the Gamecocks would hit .462 in the set en route to a 25-16 win. Culwell and Jersonsky had four kills apiece, but the service game came up in a big way, posting five aces in the set – two from Wroblicky and one each from Culwell, Jersonsky and Richards.
Set three would be a much closer affair for the first few points, but Auburn eventually started to pull away, moving ahead 15-11 on back-to-back kills from Bullock and Culwell. An ace from Richards made it 16-11, and the Tigers kept pulling away, eventually coming away with a 25-18 win. Bullock and Culwell caught fire in the third with seven kills apiece and Auburn hit a blistering .486 in the frame.
The fourth set would see the lead change hands five times and eight tie scores, but the Tigers used a late 4-0 run to propel them to a 25-22, match-clinching win. South Carolina controlled the early part of the set, leading by as much as five points, before Auburn steadily climbed its way back into the set. The Tigers called a timeout trailing 18-17, but got on a roll from there, getting two points on Gamecock errors and two more on Bullock kills to take a 21-18 lead they would not relinquish. Bullock had six more kills in the final set, and the Tigers recorded four total blocks to account for two-thirds of the Gamecocks’ six hitting errors.
Juliette Thevenin led South Carolina with 22 kills and 18 digs, hitting at a .370 clip, and Gamecock libero Paige Wheeler had a match-high 20 digs. Setter Taylor Bruns recorded 40 assists.
Auburn will wrap up a two-match SEC homestand Sunday afternoon as rival Alabama visits the Student Activities Center for a 1:30 p.m. match. Admission is free to all Auburn home volleyball matches.
Razorbacks knock off No. 21 Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With a final kill out of the middle by Janeliss Torres-Lopez, the University of Arkansas volleyball sealed a four-set victory (25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-17) over No. 21 Tennessee Friday evening in Knoxville. The win is the Razorbacks’ first against UT since 2007. That season was also the last time Arkansas defeated a ranked team. With the victory, the team improves to 10-3 overall and evens its Southeastern Conference record at 1-1.
Jasmine Norton paced the Razorbacks with 12 kills and 12 digs, good for her eighth double-double performance of the season. Raymariely Santos also posted her eighth double-double with 38 assists and 11 digs. Arkansas registered a .266 hitting percentage and had five players with at least seven kills. Defensively, the Razorbacks tallied 16.0 total blocks and limited Tennessee to a .150 hitting percentage. Junior libero Emily Helm led all players with 18 digs and Amanda Anderson tied her career high with eight total blocks.
“It was certainly an exciting win tonight,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We did the right things and executed our match plan. I thought we stayed composed and played hard. We played like a team. We’re a powerful group when we play together. I’m proud of our kids and we’re proud of this win because we know we beat a quality team in Tennessee.”
After an even start to the match with neither team gaining more than a two-point lead, the Lady Volunteers made a push to take a 15-12 lead. Arkansas responded with a four-point run to take the lead after a UT attack error. Tennessee (8-4, 1-2 SEC) put together a quick run of its own to take an 18-16 lead but the Razorbacks used their block to make the definitive move of the opener.
During a six-point surge, Arkansas had four total blocks—all four involving Torres-Lopez. The Razorbacks led 22-18 at the end of the streak of points. The home team pulled to within two at 23-21 but Arkansas arrived at set point after an attack error from Kelsey Robinson. On the team’s first chance to clinch the opener, Norton found the floor to close out the set, 25-21.
The home team responded and jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the second set. The Razorbacks pulled to within two points and trailed 11-9 after back-to-back kills from Norton and Roslandy Acosta. Tennessee re-established control with a four-point run and forced an Arkansas timeout. The Lady Volunteers carried the momentum to a 25-20 set win to even the match.
Out of intermission, the Razorbacks won the first four points of the third set with kills from Norton and Liz Fortado and a pair of blocks featuring Anderson. Tennessee made a charge to pull to within one but Arkansas never relinquished the lead. After an attack error from UT, the Razorback advantage was 17-11 and the Lady Volunteers had to call a timeout. The visitors maintained their lead and on its first set point, Arkansas closed it out, 25-17, with a kill from Acosta.
The Razorbacks had another quick start in the fourth set, jumping out to an 8-2 lead with the help of three blocks. After a timeout, Tennessee closed its deficit to two but Arkansas held steady to take a five-point lead at 15-10 after a kill from Fortado. Consecutive attack errors from the Lady Vols increased the lead to eight. Santos put away her fifth kill of the match to give the Razorbacks a handful of match points, 24-15. On the team’s third chance to seal the win, Torres-Lopez slammed her ninth kill of the match to close it out.
The Razorbacks return to action Sunday at Georgia. The weekend finale is scheduled for a Noon (CT) start at the Ramsey Center in Athens.
Georgia Earns Thrilling 3-2 Win Over Alabama
ATHENS, Ga. – Brittany Northcutt led the University of Georgia volleyball team to a 3-2 (25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-12) win over the Alabama Crimson Tide with her third double-double performance of the season on Friday night. With the win, Georgia improves to 8-4 on the season, including a 2-1 mark in Southeastern Conference action. Alabama suffered its third loss of the season to fall to 12-3 and 1-2 in SEC play.
Northcutt finished with a team-best 15 kills, while adding 17 digs. Briana Bahr and Lauren Teknipp each finished with double-digit kills, finishing with 14 each. Teknipp hit at nearly a .400 clip, going 14-for-25 with three errors. Kaylee Kehoe and Maggie Baumert split time at setter, finishing with 32 and 25 assists, respectively. The Bulldogs continued to have success from the service line, finishing with a season-best nine service aces. Kehoe led the team from the line, tallying four aces.
Georgia out blocked the Tide on the defensive side of the net, finishing with 12 blocks, including a team-best six from Jasmine Eatmon. Elena Perri added five blocks, while Bahr and Teknipp each added four. Chloe Buckendahl earned the team’s only solo stop on the night. Allison Summers paced the defense, finishing with a match-high 28 digs.
Georgia fell behind early in set one, before a pair of Teknipp kills put Georgia on top at 10-9. After Alabama tied the set at 10 and behind the serve of Kehoe, the Bulldogs put together an eight-point run that gave Georgia an 18-10 lead. The Tide came within three at 19-16, but Georgia scored six of the final nine points of the set to win 25-18.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-3 lead in set two before the Tide came back to tie the set at 10. A 4-0 run by Alabama gave the Crimson Tide a 15-11 lead before a Kehoe kill ended the run. Alabama maintained its leadthroughout the second set and went on to win it 25-18.
In the third set, Georgia grabbed an early lead and never let it go, winning the set 25-16 and taking a 2-1 lead in the match. On theserve of Kehoe, Baumert and Buckendahl, Georgia opened to a 7-3 lead beforeAlabama made it a one-point set at 7-6. With Eatmon at the service line, the Bulldogs were able to score four-straight points, including two on a pair of kills by Teknipp. Leading 19-13, a kill by Bahr ignited a 4-0 run by the Bulldogs that extended their lead to 23-13. Northcutt sealed the third set 25-16 with a kill.
The Crimson Tide started with the edge in the fourth set, earning an early 5-2 lead. Georgia scored four-consecutive points to take a6-5, led by a Bama kill tied the set at six. The teams tied four times before Alabama scored three-straight to take a 16-13 lead. Georgia fought to regain the lead, but the Tide went on to win the fourth 25-21 and force a fifth and deciding set.
In the deciding set, the Crimson Tide grabbed a 3-1 lead before a Northcutt kill sparked a 4-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead. Alabama made it a one-point set at 11-10, but a Buckendahl kill put Georgia’s lead back at two at 12-10. Georgia scored the final two points, including the match-winner on a Bahr kill, to seal the set 15-12 and take the match 3-2.
Georgia will be back in action Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., when it takes on the Arkansas Razorbacks at the Ramsey Student Center.
No. 13 Gator Volleyball Sweeps Missouri to Open Conference Action at Home
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 13 University of Florida team swept the Missouri Tigers, 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-17), on Friday evening in front of 3,592 fans in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The Gators move to 9-2 on the season and 3-0 in conference play, while the Tigers fall to 10-3 overall and 2-1 in SEC action. The match marked the 22nd straight SEC home opener victory for Florida head coach Mary Wise.
"It was an interesting match," Wise said. "It was like two basketball teams that are going fast break, fast break and just not hitting some shots. I credit Missouri's defense and how well they played. I felt that if we could just control the first contact and make some good hitting decisions, there were kills to be had, and that was the difference in the third set. If Simone Antwi hadn't come in and blocked that ball (to end the second set), who knows if we would have been looking at 4, maybe 5 sets."
Florida hit .237 in the match behind the third career double-double (15 kills, 11 digs) for Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia), while junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) hit .348 with 12 kills on the night. Senior Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) tallied nine kills while junior Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 35 assists, adding eight digs, three blocks and three kills.
"Our defensive players played really well and Taylor was able to give us really nice looks, so we were able to swing (at) various shots," Recek said. "If we have one block, then it's easier to score points."
Sophomore Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) tallied 15 digs on the night, marking the 17th straight match in which she has scooped double-digit digs (dating back to Nov. 23, 2011. Unroe also continued her passing streak, registering her 10th match of the season with a perfect serve-receive percentage.
The Gator block was led by Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), who stuffed four balls on the evening. Freshman outside hitter Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) was not far behind Smith, roofing three attempted attacks to tie with Brauneis.
The Tigers were led by setter Molly Kreklow, who dished out 30 assists, and Whitney Little, who notched 10 kills and 10 blocks against the Gators. Overall, Missouri put up 13.5 blocks on the night, while Little had nine through the first two sets alone.
"Their setter is amazing," Brauneis said. "I knew they were going to be awesome. They run a fast-paced offense and that was hard for us at first, but we pulled it out in the end and it was a great team win."
Florida jumped out to a 6-1 start to the first set, forcing a Mizzou timeout after a Smith overpass kill. The Tigers tied the set off a Gator hitting error but Florida gained the edge, 10-9, off a joust at the net won by Mann. Recek and Smith teamed up for a big block to go ahead at 14-10. Mizzou put together three straight but a Wiggs slam stopped the run to put Florida up, 15-13.
The Gators continued to kill balls in transition and reached the double-decade mark first at 20-16, forcing the Tigers to burn their second timeout of the set. Mann nailed a quick set out of the middle to put the Orange and Blue ahead, 22-16. Mizzou went on a 3-0 run to close the gap at 22-19 and force a Gator timeout. Missouri put up a block at the end of a long rally to pull within two, 23-21, and force the final timeout of the set for Florida. Recek killed one down the line to set up set point, 24-21. A Mizzou attacking error tilted the first set Florida's way, 25-22.
The second set was tight from the start, as Florida battled back from down two to tie the set at 6-6 courtesy of a kill by Mann. A solo block by Mallette continued to push the momentum the Gators' way as Florida surged, 10-8. Mizzou burned their first timeout on the next point after a Tiger hitting error, and a block by Mann and Wiggs put the Gators ahead, 14-10. Wiggs slammed a heavy ball out-of-system thanks to a great bump-set by Unroe to continue the run, 16-11. A Smith slide kill forced Mizzou to call timeout with UF leading, 19-13.
The Tigers put together a 4-1 run to force a Florida timeout at 20-17 but a Mallette kill ended the surge and a Mann slam off the Brauneis quick set put UF within three of the set, 22-19. The Gators called timeout after a quick three points by Mizzou put the Tigers within one, 23-22. A Wiggs kill put the Gators at set point, 24-23, but the Tigers didn't let down and tied the set at 24. A Mizzou service error set up another set point for Florida. Brauneis teamed up with Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.) to stuff Mizzou and take the set, 26-24, carrying a 2-0 set lead into the locker room.
The third stanza started much like the one preceding, as both teams battled to take the lead. There were six ties to open the set and Mizzou began to get out in front, leading 10-8 courtesy of a block by the Tigers. Florida went on a 4-0 run behind the serve of Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) to force a Tiger timeout at 12-10. Mann blocked the Kreklow dump attempt to pull ahead, 13-10, and a Wiggs slam from the right continued the surge, 14-11.
An Unroe ace put UF ahead, 15-11, and a tipped kill by Smith separated the Gators, 17-12. A Mallette kill deep to the back corner put Florida in the double-decade mark at 20-14. An ace by senior Sundai Weston (Naples, Fla.) forced a timeout by Mizzou at 21-14 and a backrow kill by Recek put Florida within three of the match, 22-14. Mallette smartly tipped a kill to the back corner to set up match point, 24-16. Mann put the match away for Florida, slamming the quick set out of the middle to give the Gators the set and the match, 25-17.
Florida hit .412 in the final set, as the Gators made adjustments coming out of the locker room at intermission. Brauneis spread the offense out among all of Florida's hitters, leaving the Missouri block to commit one-on-one for much of the stanza instead of anticipating the set.
"We really wanted to stress setting from pin to pin, meaning don't force the middle," Wise noted. "You have to set over the top and get the balls to the right and left side, and then we could go back to the middle, and that's what happened with Chloe's last kill. It's difficult to defend the entire net. We felt like we could take advantage of some matchups, and we finally did in the third set."
The match was also a homecoming for the 1992 Florida volleyball team, the first Gator squad to reach the Final Four. The Gators were introduced during intermission while a highlight reel played of their magical night against Texas to reach the national semifinals.
The 1992 Florida volleyball team went 34-2, won the SEC regular season crown, defeated No. 12 LSU in the SEC Tournament finals, and became UF's first volleyball team to reach the Final Four. In between their only two losses of the season (both to No. 1 UCLA), the Gators swept 26 opponents.
"Some of those players I haven't seen since they graduated 20 years ago," Wise said. "It's the first time for some of them coming back... Making the effort to be here means the world to me."
Florida takes the rest of the weekend off from competition before hitting the road once again. The Gators travel to South Carolina and Mississippi State next weekend to continue their SEC slate.
Rebels Top Mississippi State 3-1
OXFORD, Miss. – They say there’s no place like home. For Ole Miss setter Amanda Philpot, that sentiment rang true Friday night as she recorded her second triple-double in four home matches this season to lead the Ole Miss volleyball team (7-5, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) to a 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 25-12) victory over Mississippi State in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Gillom Sports Center.
Philpot, who finished with 40 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills, led the Rebels to their first win in conference play in front of a raucous crowd of 662. It was the second triple-double of the season for the Cincinnati, Ohio, native. She also had a triple double in a three-set home victory over Rice on Sept. 7.
“She’s such a threat (offensively) that if you can get the ball up near the net, she can take care of it,” Ole Miss head volleyball coach Joe Getzin said. “Then, when you start making 12 digs it’s awesome. That’s the part that’s probably the hardest part, is the kills plus the digs.”
The Rebels had three players reach double figures in kills, led by junior outside hitter Kara Morgan’s team-high 15 kills. Senior right side hitter Allegra Wells had 11 kills, and Philpot finished with 10.
Defensively, senior libero Ashley Veach led the Rebels with 24 digs, while Philpot finished with a dozen and both Morgan and sophomore Rachael McLamore finished with 11. Morgan’s double-double (15 kills, 11 digs) is her fifth of the season.
“I’m very excited,” Getzin said. “Anytime you can take care of home court it’s really good. We took care of a pesky, good defensive team in Mississippi State. I’m really happy with our performance down the stretch.”
The Rebels won the opening set by a count of 25-18, led by five kills each from Morgan and Wells, and 13 assists from Philpot. The Rebels took a 3-2 lead and never looked back as they stretched the lead to seven on five separate occasions before winning by the same margin.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair that featured five lead changes and 10 ties. Trailing by five at 13-8, Mississippi State (4-8, 0-3 SEC) mounted a furious rally to tie the match at 14-14. Mississippi State and Ole Miss exchanged the lead three more times before Ole Miss held set point at 24-23, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away, eventually winning the set 26-24.
“(At halftime), we said Mississippi State is a good team and we shouldn’t take them for granted,” Getzin said. “The way they played in set two is the way they’re capable. They kept the ball alive and we got a little frustrated and started making a few errors. I thought we settled down nicely to finish it out.”
Philpot shined in the third set for Ole Miss, registering eight assists, five kills and five digs en route to pacing Ole Miss to a tight 25-23 victory. Similar to the second set, Ole Miss again got out to an early lead but MSU would not back away. With the match tied at 23-23, the Rebels benefitted from a serving error by the Bulldogs before sealing the set with a kill by Wells off a Philpot pass.
It was all Ole Miss in the fourth set as the Rebels scored seven of the set’s first eight points. Ole Miss hit at a .407 clip in the set, defeating MSU 25-12 to take the match 3-1.
The win gives Getzin an 11-10 record against the Bulldogs and is Ole Miss’ fourth victory over MSU in the two teams’ last five meetings.
Senior outside hitter Ashley Anderson finished with six kills for the Rebels, junior middle blocker Kellie Goss had a team-high three solo blocks, and freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte had two solo blocks and two block assists.
The Rebels will have Sunday off from competition before hitting the court again Sept. 28 at Alabama at 7 p.m. CT.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
LSU Volleyball Turns Tables on Kentucky in Home Opener
BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU volleyball team used career-high efforts from Helen Boyle, Sam Delahoussaye, Malorie Pardo and Haley Smith to claim a gritty 3-2 victory over Kentucky [25-21, 22-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11] during its home opener Friday in-front of a spirited 1,471 fans at the Maravich Center.
In the process, LSU (5-7, 1-2 SEC) secured its first SEC victory and won its first five-set decision of the season. The Tigers have won nine of their last 10 home openers under head coach Fran Flory dating back to the 2003 season.
Kentucky (6-6, 0-2 SEC), who was receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll entering the week, had won seven of the previous eight meetings with the Tigers going back to 2008.
“What a nice crowd we had tonight, a great job by our marketing and promotions people,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We really had to feed off of them because we got a little tired at the end of the third set. The momentum from the fans and the cheering really helped us when we needed it most. "Tiger fans are the best in the world, and we are very appreciative. They were the difference maker and get a big part of the credit for tonight’s win.”
LSU transitioned back into a 5-1 offense as Pardo handed out 60 assists to equal a career-best and corralled 13 digs to pick up her second straight double-double. The Tigers came away with 66 kills on a .219 hitting percentage.
Helen Boyle matched a career-high and powered home 18 kills to go along with 12 digs for her first double dip of 2012. From the middle, Desiree Elliott also ripped 18 kills on a .316 hitting clip and tacked on a trio of blocks. Madie Jones chipped in 14 kills and has secured double figure spikes in all five of LSU’s victories this season.
“I thought that Helen was the key to the match,” Flory said. “She put so many key swings away and kept the pressure on Kentucky. They had to release to Helen who gave other people different opportunities. Even when they released to Helen, she was able to be effective and efficient.”
Khourtni Fears cranked six kills and two blocks. Cati Leak picked up five kills, eight digs and three blocks, while Madi Mahaffey garnered three kills and three blocks off the bench.
LSU’s back row limited the Wildcats to a .208 hitting percentage and totaled an 81-76 advantage in the digs department. Sam Delahoussaye reeled in a career-high 25 digs and converted on all 20 of her reception attempts. She has collected 10 or more digs in her last four outings, three of them coming as LSU’s libero.
After picking up 23 total digs over her first eight matches, Haley Smith exploded for a career-best 18 scoops. She also was spotless on all 17 of her reception attempts.
“You have to be thrilled with Sam,” Flory said. “She stepped in and dug some people one-on-none. She’s worked so hard and never got the chance to wear that different color jersey. The fact that she gets to do that no matter what the circumstances are, it’s her time to shine. There’s no doubt that she is definitely shining.”
Kentucky was sparked by Ashley Frazier’s 17 kills, Christine Hartmann’s 43 assists and Stephanie Klefot’s 29 digs. Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan added 14 and 12 kills, respectively, for the Wildcats. The Billings-Morgan duo also combined for nine blocks.
LSU saved its best effort for the fifth set. The Tigers belted 12 kills, compiled a .367 hitting percentage and sided out on 10-of-12 chances. Boyle, Elliott and Jones provided three kills apiece, while Delahoussaye sprawled out for seven digs during the stanza.
LSU raced out to a 2-0 advantage on Jones and Boyle kills. After Billings fired back with consecutive spikes to deadlock the tally at 2-2, the Tigers forced the Wildcats into consecutive hitting errors to regain a 4-2 lead. The two teams went back-and-forth, but LSU never surrendered the lead.
Ahead 7-6, the Tigers strung together back-to-back kills from Jones and Mahaffey. LSU tacked on a Leak sideout spike and forced Kentucky into another hitting miscue to grab an 11-7 edge. The Wildcats pulled back within two points on a pair of occasions, the latest at 13-11, before Elliott vaulted LSU into the winner’s circle with consecutive spikes.
“We had 12 kills in the fifth set,” Flory said. “When you have that type of performance, you are going to win. Our offense is finally coming around, and we are thrilled about that because we’ve worked hard. The key to tonight’s win was our overall discipline. We worked really hard in practice to be the most discipline team that stepped on the court. That’s what led us to the win in the end.”
LSU made a strong opening statement behind five Boyle kills to win the first set by a 25-21 margin. There were eight ties and five lead changes. Down 14-13, the Tigers ripped off five straight points capped by a Boyle-Elliott block to take control of the frame. Kentucky got back to 23-21, but a service error followed by an attack error gave LSU the win.
The Wildcats grinded out 25-22 and 25-17 victories during the next two sets. Kentucky turned up the defensive pressure and forced LSU into 16 of its 27 hitting errors. The Wildcats also went 30-for-40 in their sideout chances. Frazier popped four kills during each frame.
The two teams split the first 16 points of the fourth set. Boyle and Elliott cranked four kills coupled with a Kentucky hitting mistake which enabled LSU to fire out to a 13-8 lead. The Wildcats crept back to within 17-16 as Billings, Morgan and Frazier hammered home consecutive kills. At 22-20, Elliott slapped her fifth kill of the frame followed by a Jones spike and a Wildcat attacking error to give LSU a 25-20 victory.
“We needed this win big time,” Boyle said. “We hadn’t been on our home court, and I don’t know the last time we’ve been able to beat Kentucky so it felt really good to win. Everyone did their job which was what we needed. It’s what Fran [Flory] told us to do and that’s why we won because everyone did what they were supposed to do.”
LSU finishes its brief homestand Sunday and meets Missouri for the time as SEC rivals. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. inside the Maravich Center with live video and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live.
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.