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    Friday Volleyball RESULTS
    South Carolina 3, South Carolina State 0
    South Carolina 3, FIU 0
    Alabama 3, Seton Hall 1
    Tennessee 3, Morehead State 2
    Tennessee 3, Cincinnati 0
    Arkansas 3, Northwestern State 0
    Arkansas 3, New Mexico 2
    Mississippi State 3, SE Missouri State 0
    Mississippi State 3, UALR 0
    Ole Miss 3, UMBC 1
    Georgia 3, Lipscomb 0
    Missouri 3, South Dakota 0
    Missouri 3, Pittsburgh 1
    Florida State 3, Kentucky 0
    Texas A&M 3, South Dakota State 0
    Florida 3, New Orleans 0
    Florida 3, Long Island 1
    Auburn 3, Saint Louis 0
    LSU 3, UTSA 1


    South Carolina Opens 2013 with Sweep Over South Carolina State

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina volleyball team looked strong in its opening match of the 2013 season as it swept South Carolina State on Friday 25-14, 25-9 and 25-13 in the Gamecock Invitational at the Volleyball Competition Facility. 
     
    The Gamecocks delivered a stellar offensive performance, hitting .370 as a team. Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the way with 12 kills and six block assists. With the 12 kills, she moved into seventh on the school’s career kills list with 1,136 kills. Freshman Dessaa Legros added 10 kills in 15 (.667) attacks in her Gamecock debut. Sophomore Darian Dozier produced six kills and six block assists. Freshman setter Helen Récaborde delivered a match-high 14 assists, and sophomore setter Kellie McNeil dished out 13 assists. 
     
    Outside hitter Desire Waller led the way for South Carolina State as she tallied 10 kills, while setter Melanie Williams contributed 13 assists.
     
    The Gamecocks set the tone early in set one, jumping out to a 9-2 lead. Back-to-back kills by Legros and Dozier later in the set put South Carolina ahead 14-3. South Carolina State was able to cut the Gamecocks’ lead below double digits on two occasions, with the last being 23-14 after a kill by Waller. Legros proceeded to close the set out in South Carolina’s favor as she delivered back-to-kills. Thévenin and Legros led the way with four kills apiece in the set.
     
    South Carolina kept the momentum going in the second frame, building a 14-3 lead and extending its cushion to as many as 16 points on its way to the win. Legros added five more kills in the set to lead the attack, while Dozier made her presence felt at the net with four block assists.
     
    The Gamecocks closed out the match with another strong showing in the third set, hitting .464 as a team. Thévenin opened the set with a kill to give South Carolina a lead it would not relinquish. Thévenin finished the frame with six kills, while freshman Katlyn McDaniel added four.
     

    South Carolina returns to action later tonight at 7 as it is scheduled to face Florida International in the final match of the night.

    Thévenin’s 20 Kills Lift Gamecocks to Sweep of FIU

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin delivered a 20-kill performance on Friday night to lead the Gamecocks to a sweep of Florida International by the scores of 25-12, 25-22 and 25-14 in front of a crowd of 1,058 at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

    A native of Mont-sur-Marchinne, Belgium, Thévenin finished Friday’s two Gamecock Invitational matches with a combined 32 kills as she climbed to seventh on the career kills list at South Carolina with 1,156. As a team, the Gamecocks hit above .300 for the second-straight match, posting an attack percentage of .327.

    The Gamecocks improve to 2-0 on the season, as they also defeated South Carolina State earlier in the day. South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson was pleased with what he saw from his young squad during both matches on Friday.

    “I thought we started off really well this morning,” Swanson said. “Really the building blocks of what every coach preaches to their team is serve tough and pass well, and I felt like we did that in both matches. It allowed us to play great defense and block some balls. It also allowed us to run the type of offense that we wanted to run and spread the ball around. I was really, really proud of how we served and passed and how we played together as a team.”

    Thévenin came up just shy of a double-double, finishing with seven digs. Sophomores Darian Dozier and Sarah Blomgren and freshman Dessaa Legros added seven kills apiece in the win, while sophomore setter Kellie McNeil dished out a match-high 32 assists. Junior Michaela Christiaansen and freshman Gabrielle Rubeis produced 13 and 11 digs, respectively.

    Outside hitter Ksenia Sukhareva led Florida International with seven kills, while setter Ashlee Hodgskin dished out 20 assists.

    Thévenin helped the Gamecocks jump out early in the first set as she delivered four kills to help build a 7-3 lead. South Carolina pushed its lead 12 points late in the set, as an Elizabeth Johnbull kill gave the Gamecocks a 24-12 lead. Legros followed with a kill of her own to finish off the set.

    The second set had a much different feel as the teams battled back and forth. After playing to a 10-10 tie, South Carolina went on a 7-3 run to build a 17-13 lead. The Panthers fought back to tie things at 18 and later on at 21, but the Gamecocks claimed the win with a 4-1 run. Thévenin came through with 10 of her 20 kills in the second frame.

    The Gamecocks erased any hope of a comeback with a dominant third frame, hitting .478 as a team. South Carolina built a 15-4 lead on its way to clinching the sweep with a 25-14 win.

    South Carolina returns to action at home on Saturday in the final game of the Gamecock Invitational. The Gamecocks are slated to take on High Point at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth 17 and under.

     



    Alabama Starts the Season with a 3-1 Win Over Seton Hall

    WEST POINT, N.Y. – The University of Alabama volleyball team opened its 2013 season with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23) win over the Seton Hall Pirates in the Black Knights Invitational on Friday afternoon. 
     
    Freshmen Brittany Thomas and Krystal Rivers led the offensive charge, as Thomas finished the day with a match-high 14 kills while Rivers added 13. Thomas hit .294 (14-4/34) and Rivers posted a .346 (13-4/23) hitting percentage to go along with six blocks, five solo and one assisted. 
     
    Andrea McQuaid notched her 15th career double-double with 21 assists and 13 digs and narrowly missed a triple-double with eight kills. Katherine White added eight kills to go along with a team-high seven blocks, including a career-high three solo blocks. Laura Steiner had eight kills and Sierra Wilson had a team-high 29 assists. 
     
    Alabama took the opening set 25-19 behind a .205 hitting percentage that saw Rivers post four kills and Wilson dished out 10 assists. After having two kills in the opening set, Thomas exploded for six of Alabama’s 15 kills in the second set, helping the Tide open a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-22 second-set win. 
     
    Although the Tide outhit the Pirates .158 to .140 in the third set, Seton Hall was able to overcome a late push by Alabama to take the third set 25-23. With Seton Hall leading 17-12 in the fourth set, Alabama got within one, 20-19, thanks to a pair of hitting errors by Seton Hall. The Tide closed out the set with a 6-2 run to close out the Pirates in four. 
     
    Alabama has now won the season opening match for the third straight year under head coach Ed Allen, marking the first time since the 2000-02 seasons that the Tide has opened the year with a win. 
     
    Alabama returns to action in the Black Knights Invitational on Saturday when it takes on Washington State at 11 a.m. CT from the Gillis Field House. The Tide wraps up the tournament against Army at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday. 
     
    Like Alabama volleyball on Facebook, follow it on Twitter @AlabamaVball and Instagram (alabamavball).


     

    Tennessee Defeats Morehead State, 3-2

    CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Tennessee volleyball team opened the 2013 season with a five-set win over Morehead State. The Lady Vols topped the Golden Eagles, 3-2 (14-25, 25-23, 25-22, 17-25, 15-12) on the opening day of the Cincinnati Invitational Friday morning at Fifth Third Arena.

    "I was very excited about how we were able to come back throughout the match and play better and better as the match went along," head coach Rob Patrick said. "Morehead State is a very well-coached team. They had a lot more experience on the court than we did. They are used to winning. They had the longest winning streak in the NCAA last year. I was very pleased for us to come out and get the jitters out in the first set because we made a lot of unforced errors. I think that has to do with how young we are and freshmen getting first time in Division I match, but they really settled down."

    The Lady Vols were led by freshmen duo of Ashley Mariani and Jamie Lea, who combined for 20 kills (10 apiece) during the match, as well as junior Shealyn Kolosky who added seven kills. Sophomore setter Lexi Dempsey dished out 25 assists and had nine digs for the Lady Vols, while freshmen Raina Hembry and Lea combined for 13 rejections.

    "Our freshmen really filled up the stat sheet for us," Patrick said. "Ashley Mariani and Jamie Lea led us in attempts in kills. Raina Hembry did a great job blocking. She had eight blocks and also some offensive numbers for us. I was very happy with them, but beyond that, I was really proud of those three because as the match went on, they really settled down. They did the little things well, which will help us with our season as we go along."

    All-American senior Ellen Mullins scooped up 31 digs, three shy of her career-best, while junior Nikki Brice set a career-high with 17 digs. The duo accounted for more than half of Tennessee's digs (48 of 84).

    "The people really set the tone for us and settled us down were the two upperclassmen, Nikki Brice and Ellen Mullins," Patrick said. "They led us in digs and they took most of the passes. They did a fantastic job of covering the court and allowing us to run our offense. That's what really won the match for us, was the play Nikki and Ellen."

    Morehead State jumped to an early 8-2 lead in the opening set as the young Tennessee team worked out some first-game jitters. Mariani paced UT with three kills, but the Eagles came out on top, taking the first set, 14-25.

    The newcomer trio of Mariani, Hembry and Lea shined at the net in the second set, with Kolosky coming up big with four kills. UT got out to an early 12-3 lead before Morehead State got their momentum back. The Lady Vols were up 20-15 as the Eagles responded with a close run. Tennessee prevailed and took the second set 25-23.

    The two squads battled back and forth throughout the third set as Tennessee came out on top 25-22. UT went up 8-4 in the fourth, but Morehead State responded with four-straight points to tie it up, 8-8. The two teams dueled at the net over the next eight points, before getting tied up again at 16-16. Morehead State closed out on an eight-point run and took the fourth set, 17-25.

    The Orange & White proved themselves in the fifth set. After trailing 0-2, senior Whitney Heeres laid down a kill. Morehead State tallied three-straight attack errors to give UT a 5-2 advantage. The Eagles caught back up with Tennessee, tying it at 11-11. A big block from Hembry and Mariani followed by a service ace from Brice gave the Lady Vols a 14-11 lead and an attack error by MSU's Courtney Smith gave UT set and match point, 15-11.

    Tennessee is now 32-9 all-time in season openers, and 13-4 under Patrick.

    The Big Orange faces host Cincinnati tonight at 7 p.m. ET. The Lady Vols lead the series 5-3.

    UT Downs Cincinnati, 3-0, For Second Win

    CINCINNATI, Ohio - Tennessee earned its second win of the day and season as the Lady Vols took down Cincinnati, 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-19) at Fifth Third Arena Friday evening.

    Freshman Ashley Mariani came out firing for the Big Orange and she tallied 14 kills in the match, hitting at a .316 clip. Sophomore Lexi Dempsey recorded her first double-double as she dished up 27 assists and scooped up 11 digs. Freshman Jamie Lea led the squad in blocks with four, denying three of those shots on her own.

    UT jumped out to an early 10-5 lead in the opening set, and led by as much as eight points (19-11) over the Bearcats. Strong digging in the back row from veterans Ellen Mullins and Nikki Brice helped boost Tennessee to a 25-19 victory as the duo accounted for 14 of the team's 25 digs during the set.

    Mariani showed no signs of stopping in the second set for the Lady Vols as she put away seven kills, half of her total (14) in the three sets. Four of UT's last six points of the set came from the 6-foot-1 middle blocker's kills. She hit a .412 clip during the set, while Tennessee hit .238. UT took the second set, 25-22.

    "Lexi (Dempsey) and I started connecting as the set went on," Mariani said. "The passes were doing great. We were really just in a rhythm and the team was coming together."

    Tennessee trailed at the beginning of the third, before tying it up at 6-6. For the next couple of possessions, the teams battled back and forth for the lead before UT took it over at 10-8. From there, the Lady Vols never gave up the lead and went on to win the third and final set, 25-19. Mariani hit .364 with six kills, while Dempsey had 10 assists in the third set alone.

    Tennessee is now 6-3 all-time against the Bearcats.

    The Lady Vols wrap up the Cincinnati Invitational Saturday when they take on Butler at 2:30 p.m. ET.


     



    Razorbacks Win Opener Against Northwestern State

    FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team beat Northwestern State in straight sets (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) Friday morning to begin its season with a win. Five players had at least five kills, led by nine each from senior Hayley Koop and junior Meredith Hays. Senior Raymariely Santos notched a double-double performance with 19 assists and 11 digs to go along with five kills.

    Arkansas returns to the court Friday night to face New Mexico in its second match of the day. First serve of the match is set for 7 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. The match will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

    “It’s always good to start the season off with a W,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We did some good things and got better as the match went on. That was really important. There were some early jitters but our players kept their voices, stayed organized and stayed assertive and we were able to take care of the first set. After that, we got better. It was a good effort but we certainly need to get better. After the first match of the year, I think we’re in a good place.”

    The Razorbacks saved their best offensive output for the final set, posting a .382 hitting percentage and committing just three attack errors while holding their opponents to a .161 figure. The score was tied at 12-12 when Arkansas began to creep ahead and building a four-point lead at 18-14 after a block on the right side. Consecutive errors from the Lady Demons gave Arkansas the win with the final serve going into the net.

    With the score tied at six-all in the second set, the Razorbacks went on a 6-1 run to take control of the game. The home team forced a timeout by the Lady Demons after a service ace by sophomore Monica Bollinger put Arkansas ahead, 15-9. The Razorbacks led by as much as nine in the game and won the last three points of the set. Arkansas combined for five total blocks in the second set.

    The Razorback fell behind early in the opening set forcing Pulliza to call a timeout with his team trailing, 18-12. The home team responded with a seven-point run and 10 of the next 12 points to take a 22-20 lead after back-to-back kills from freshman Barbara Dapic. On the team’s second set point, Koop found the floor with her second-straight kill to give Arkansas the opener, 25-23.

    “In the beginning, everyone was playing with nerves,” senior libero Emily Helm said. “It took us a little bit to collect ourselves and find our game. We were down but this team has so much fight. We were down (six) points at one time but we fought back to win in three. It showed our character and our strength.”

    Razorbacks Rally Past New Mexico in Five Sets

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Down two sets, the University of Arkansas rallied past New Mexico in five sets (22-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 15-6) Friday night in front of 1,127 fans at Barnhill Arena. Senior Hayley Koop paced with team with 15 kills and a .414 hitting percentage. At the service line, senior Ashley Vazquez had a career-high seven aces and set the school record for number of aces in a five-set match. With the win, the Razorbacks improved to 2-0 on the young season and are in line to play for the Arkansas Invitational team title.

    Arkansas returns to the court Saturday to wrap its weekend with a 1 p.m. match against UMKC. Following the New Mexico-Northwestern State match at 4 p.m., a ceremony will be held to recognize the event champion and all-tournament performers, including MVP and Most Outstanding Libero.

    “That was a gutsy performance from our team,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We played hard from the beginning of the match but we weren’t playing well in the first set. We actually did some great things in the second set but we were unorganized on some crucial points. We talked about it between sets two and three and the players put in an unbelievable performance. I’m really proud of our team.”

    In the deciding set, Arkansas won five of the first seven points and when the teams switched sides of the net, the Razorbacks held an 8-5 advantage. The team used a 5-0 run in the middle of the set to take control and led 12-5 after a kill out of the middle from freshman Ana Sofia Jusino. The Lobos won the next point but Arkansas reeled off the final three points of the match, capped by an ace from sophomore Monica Bollinger.

    Arkansas finished the match with 14 aces, 10 of which came over the final three sets of Friday’s match. The Razorbacks’ serving total is now tied for the fourth-most aces by an Arkansas team in one match. Offensively, Arkansas also benefitted from 15 kills from junior Meredith Hays and 11 kills from freshman Danielle Harbin. Behind the block, senior Emily Helm had a team-high 18 digs.

    The Razorbacks won the first three points of the fourth set and led 9-4 after a kill from junior Meredith Hays. After a service ace from senior Raymariely Santos and a kill from Koop, Arkansas’ lead was nine points at 17-8. The Lobos chipped away at the lead and pulled to within two late in the set but the home team responded with three in a row to re-establish momentum. A kill from Koop gave the team set point and on an attack error by UNM, Arkansas forced the match into a fifth set.

    In the third set, Arkansas turned an early 3-3 tie into an 8-3 advantage behind the serve of Vazquez. During the run, the Gurabo, Puerto Rico, native tallied three service aces. The balance of the Razorbacks’ offense was on full display in game three with six players posting at least two kills. The home team led by as many as 10 points on two separate occasions, the last coming at 22-12. Defensively, Arkansas held the Lobos to a .065 hitting percentage in the set. A service error by UNM handed the Razorbacks the game, 25-16.

    “We stayed calm and we stayed assertive,” Santos said. “We knew what we could do because we’ve been doing it all preseason. It comes really natural for this team to put the pedal to the metal when we’re down. We practice those situations. We just had to stay calm and it eventually went our way.”

    The first two sets ended in favor of New Mexico with identical scores of 25-22. In both cases, the teams played back-and-forth volleyball before the Lobos pulled away in the late stages. Arkansas’ rally from a 0-2 hole is its second in as many seasons. Last year in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks were down two sets to Kentucky in an eventual five-set victory. Prior to that, the program hadn’t erased an 0-2 deficit since the 2008 season.

    In their first match of the day, the Razorbacks posted a straight-set win (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) over Northwestern State. Five different players had at least five kills against the Lady Demons, led by Meredith Hays and Hayley Koop with nine each. Raymariely Santos tallied her first double-double performance of the season with 19 assists and 11 digs to go along with five kills.

     



    Bulldogs Sweep Pair Of Matches From SEMO And UALR To Open The Season

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Youth, athleticism and talent were on display Friday night in the Newell-Grissom Building as the Mississippi State volleyball team swept a pair of Maroon Classic matches against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks and the UALR Trojans to open the season.

    “It was exciting on many levels,” fifth-year MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “You keep telling them in practice to work hard and trust the techniques and that it will pay off in the game. To be able to come out and pick up two wins early in the season with a young squad like this is just really exciting for them and the program. It shows them that all the work can and will pay off.”

    The Bulldogs fell behind 4-0 early in the first set of the afternoon against SEMO and trailed until a kill by freshman Chelsea Duhs ignited a 12-2 run. MSU would go onto win the first set 25-23 and then claim a 25-18 victory in the second. With the Redhawks, closing in on the third set, the Bulldogs rattled off a 4-0 run to finish off the match 25-18.

    Freshman Kimmy Gardiner finished the first match with 19 kills, while Taylor Scott and Dani McCree added 10 each. Scott also managed a double-double as she tallied 16 digs, second only to Roxanne McVey’s 25.

    In the nightcap, Mississippi State jump up on UALR 5-2 early, only to have the Trojans battle back to tie it at seven. After freshman setter Suzanne Horner tied the match at 15 all with a kill, Gabby Litwin added an ace to give the Bulldogs the lead and the momentum. State never looked back as it claimed the first set 25-22.

    MSU controlled the last two sets, winning 25-22 and 25-18. Gardiner again led the Bulldogs with 15 kills, while Scott added eight. Duhs, McCree and AlexWarren each had seven. Between the two matches Horner also tallied 81 assists on the day.

    The Bulldogs return to action Saturday, Aug. 31, at 1 p.m. against UALR and 7 p.m. against SEMO again.

    Admission to all volleyball matches is free. Schedule posters and cards will also be available at each of this weekend’s matches.


     


     

    Rebels Top UMBC In Season Opener

    WASHINGTON – The Ole Miss volleyball team used its depth to its advantage Friday night in its season-opening 3-1 (17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-14) win over UMBC at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. The Rebels’ 3-1 victory was the opening match of the GW Invitational, hosted by George Washington University.

    Ten Rebels recorded at least one kill against the Retrievers, led by a team-high 13 kills from senior outside hitter Kara Morgan. Freshman libero Kristen Brashear had 15 digs, while sophomore setter Skylar Johnson had 16 assists and freshman setter Aubrey Edie had 14 assists.

    “It’s a big win for us just to get a win coming out of the shoot, and to get some of those first game jitters out of the way,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “The team did an excellent job of responding after being really nervous in that first game.”

    UMBC (0-1) took the first set 25-17 paced by a strong 9-1 run to take a 14-8 lead. The Rebels (1-0) fought back and cut their deficit to three at 16-13, but could not get closer for the remainder of the set.

    Trailing 6-3 early in the second set, Ole Miss scored five straight points to take an 8-6 lead and prompt a timeout by UMBC. Later in the set, with Ole Miss leading 15-14, Morgan hammered down a kill to the opposite side that began a 5-1 run for the Rebels to give them a 20-15 lead. Ole Miss would go on to take the set 25-19. Morgan led the Rebels offensively in the second set with five kills on just seven swings.

    “Kara played really well,” Getzin said. “That steady presence that she has on the floor makes such a difference for us.”

    The third set was a back-and-forth affair that featured five lead changes and 13 ties. Following an 8-0 run by the Retrievers to take an 11-5 lead, the Rebels responded with a 6-0 run of its own to tie the set at 11-11. After a 4-1 run by UMBC to take a 19-16 lead, Ole Miss used its first timeout of the set. The Rebels came out of the timeout by going on a 4-1 run to tie the score at 20. Ole Miss then used its second timeout when they fell down by a 23-21 count. The Rebels never flinched in the set’s closing moments, and scored the final four points to win 25-23 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

    The Rebels took control of the fourth set early, and won 25-14 to take the match 3-1. Ole Miss broke open an early 5-5 tie and outscored the Retrievers 20-9 over the remainder of the set. Morgan again had five kills in the fourth set, while sophomore middle blockers Nakeyta Clair and Ty Laporte combined for four kills on seven attacks. Edie passed out eight assists on the set as the Rebels hit at a .423 clip.

    Ole Miss will play a doubleheader Saturday against Maryland at 11 a.m. CT and George Washington at 6 p.m. CT.

    Saturday evening’s match against George Washington has an added note of interest, as senior middle blocker Kellie Goss will be facing her twin sister, Rachael, who is an outside hitter for the Colonials.
     



    Georgia Blanks Lipscomb 3-0 in Season Opener

    ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Georgia volleyball team took a 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-15) win over the Lipscomb Bisons in its season opener on Friday, August 30 in the Bulldog Invitational at the Ramsey Student Center in Athens, Ga. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 3-0 in season-openers under Head Coach Lizzy Stemke.

    Jasmine Eatmon led the team offensively, going 8-for-14 with one error for an attack percentage of .385. Tirah Le’au also posted eight kills, followed by Stacey Smith and Lauren Teknipp with seven kills each. Kaylee Kehoe and Maggie Baumert paced the offense, finishing with 18 and 13 assists, respectively. The Georgia defense proved tough, holding Lipscomb to a .170 attack percentage and out blocking the Bisons 12-5. Leading the defensive attack was Elena Perri, who finished with six blocks, including one solo stop. Smith totaled four blocks, while Le’au added a pair of solo blocks in the win. Allison Summers and Brittany Northcutt recorded nine digs each.

    “There was a lot of excitement in the gym tonight,” Stemke said. “This was a good win for us. We started off a little slow in the first set, but we were able to get some of the adrenaline out and get back to what we have been practicing during the preseason. This is a veteran team and I thought our maturity showed as the match went on. This is a very balanced team and it is nice to know that we have so many players that can step up when we need them to. We are going to celebrate this win tonight, and get back to work tomorrow. We have a long season, but it is nice to be able to celebrate a win.”

    Lipscomb took an early 7-4 lead in the first set before a Northcutt kill tied the match at seven. The teams traded points on the next two possessions before consecutive blocks by Smith and Perri put the Bulldogs on top 11-9. The teams tied seven more times before a solo block by Le’au ignited a 4-0 Georgia run that put the Bulldogs up 22-18. Lipscomb made it a two-point set at 22-20 with back-to-back kills by Sophie Kellerman. A pair of kills by Smith and Eatmon gave Georgia set point before a Lipscomb attack error sealed Georgia’s 25-20 set one win.

    Lipscomb jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in the second set before the Bulldogs were able to fight their way back to within three at 12-9. Behind the serve of Northcutt, the Bulldogs scored three-straight points to tie the match at 12. The teams kept it close over the next several possessions, tying four times before a Lipscomb attack error gave Georgia its first lead of the night at 17-16 and forced the Bisons to burn a timeout. The Bulldogs edged out to a 20-17 lead, causing Lipscomb to use its final timeout of the set. Lipscomb fought back to within one at 23-22, but a pair of kills by Le’au and Eatmon sealed the set 25-22 for Georgia.

    Georgia and Lipscomb kept the third and final set close over the opening points, with neither team taking more than a two-point lead before a kill by Teknipp sparked a 4-0 Georgia run that gave the Bulldogs a 10-6 lead. The teams traded points over the next five possessions until Smith and Le’au posted consecutive kills that extended Georgia’s lead to 15-9 and forced Lipscomb to call its first timeout of the set. The Bisons took the first point out of the timeout, but a Perri kill and back-to-back aces by Summers stretched Georgia’s lead to 18-10. Lipscomb scored just five more points in the set, allowing the Bulldogs to win the set 25-15 and seal the 3-0 sweep.

    Georgia takes on TCU and Furman tomorrow, August 31, at 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m., respectively on the second and final day of the Bulldog Invitational.
     


     

    Offense Guides Mizzou to 2-0 Start at Tiger Invite

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou volleyball team hit .425 while averaging 16.57 kills per set en-route to winning its first two matches of the season-opening Tiger Invitational against South Dakota and Pittsburgh on Friday (Aug. 30) at the Hearnes Center. At 2-0, Mizzou is now on the driver’s seat for their sixth Tiger Invitational Tournament Title in seven years. Mizzou defeated South Dakota, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-16) before topping Pitt, 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-14, 25-13) in the night cap. Mizzou broke a four-set school record with its .458 attack clip against Pittsburgh, a mark that was the best by a Tiger team since 2007.

    Mizzou’s offense was the story of the day on Friday as senior All-SEC setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) guided the team to a combined .425 attack clip while Mizzou’s top five hitters on the day all hit .377 or better with four checking in at better than .500. Two-time All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) had 33 kills on the day on .377 hitting while freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) pitched in 23 kills on .526 hitting. The middle hitting combination of freshman Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) and All-SEC junior Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) was nearly unstoppable on Friday as well. Thater had 19 kills on a team-best .692 hitting in her first collegiate action while Little had 19 kills on .581 hitting. Junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) added a team-best 25 digs on Friday while Thater paced the team with 10 blocks.

    “Obviously it was a very good day for us, but now we need to shift our focus towards tomorrow,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I think what we did offensively speaks to our ball control; I know it’s just the first day but it was the best we have had in some time. I thought the freshmen did a nice job of battling nerves and of course Molly and Lisa were great as usual. We beat two very good teams today.”

    Mizzou dominated its first match of the day against South Dakota, winning 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-16), behind a torrid offensive output, anchored by Kreklow. The setting of Kreklow helped Mizzou to .393 hitting in the three sets as Kreklow assisted on 45 of 54 Tiger kills. Kreklow also pulled in 12 digs and added four kills on seven errorless attacks as she tallied her first double-double of the season after ranking second in the SEC in that category in 2012.

    Kreklow’s favorite target against Idaho State was Henning, who had a match-high 15 kills on .289 hitting while pulling in six digs with three blocks. But it was the middle hitting duo of Little and Thater that was unstoppable for the Tigers. Thater had 10 kills on 12 errorless attacks in her first collegiate match while Little added seven kills on 12 errorless attack as they combined for 17 kills on just 24 attempts (.708 hitting). The duo also combined for seven blocks as well. Kan, in her first collegiate match, had eight kills on 18 attacks, good for a .389 clip. Meister had a match-high 14 digs as well.

    The Tigers stumbled in set two against Pittsburgh, but still dominated the Panthers, 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-14, 25-13), to move to 2-0 on the day. Kreklow again anchored an offense that put up great numbers as it tallied 62 kills in the four sets (15.50) on a combined .458 hitting. In fact, the .458 hitting percentage in the match is a new Mizzou school record in a four-set contest and the best by a Tiger team since 2007 while ranking 14th in school history.

    The Tigers were led by a very balanced attack against Pittsburgh, highlighted by 18 kills from their two-time All-American Henning, who did so on .484 hitting. Kan again was outstanding against Pitt. At 5-9, she overpowered a much bigger Pittsburgh front line with 15 kills on .650 hitting while pitching in three aces. Little, an All-SEC player a season ago, pitched in 12 kills on .579 hitting while Thater added nine more on .571 hitting. Mizzou aced Pitt 10 times in the match.

    The bulk of the offense ran through Kreklow again against Pitt as she tallied 51 assists (12.75 per frame) while adding two kills, three aces and eight digs. Henning led Mizzou defensively in the Pitt match, pulling in a team-best 13 digs for her first double-double of the season. Meister pitched in 11 and Mizzou had seven blocks as a team in the win.

    The Tigers will close the Tiger Invitational tomorrow in search of their sixth Tiger Invitational win in seven years. In all, Mizzou is now 33-3 in Tiger Invitational action after Friday. The Tigers will play Idaho State at noon tomorrow before closing action with Arkansas State at 4 p.m. Admission again is free.
     


     

    Kentucky Drops Opener to No. 18 Florida State, 3-0

    LONG BEACH, Calif. – Despite the 31st double-double effort of senior Whitney Billings’ career, the 17th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team dropped its season-opener to No. 18 Florida State, 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-20), in Long Beach, Calif., on Friday night.

    Billings led the way for the Cats with 10 kills and 10 digs, while also contributing a team-high four blocks in the loss. Kentucky falls to 0-1 on the year, while Florida State improves to 1-1 after a 3-0 loss to Illinois earlier in the day. Billings will need just three kills in her next outing to become the 14th player in school history to amass 1,000 career kills.

    Kentucky returns to the floor on Saturday. UK will take on Illinois at 7:30 p.m. ET in the second match of its West Coast journey before wrapping up the tournament with the host Long Beach State 49ers on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

    “It certainly wasn’t smooth for a first match,” ninth-year head coach Craig Skinner said. “We had chances to score in each of the first and second sets but we didn’t close it out. That made it tough for us to comeback. Florida State was in system most of the night, so we need to be better with our serve to create more scoring options.”

    Junior Lauren O’Connner notched nine kills, with sophomore Shelby Workman posting eight in her first career start. Senior Alexandra Morgan logged seven on a team-high .417 hitting percentage. Sophomore Sara Schwarzwalder posted four blocks, while six Wildcats had five or more digs on the night. Junior Jackie Napper tallied nine, sophomore setter Morgan Bergren chipped in with eight. Workman had seven, Morgan six and freshman Anni Thomasson rounded out the defensive effort with five digs. Bergren had 34 assists in the match to pave the way offensively.

    The Seminoles claimed the opening set by a 27-25 score benefiting from 11 Wildcat hitting errors. Kentucky trailed the majority of the set, but fought back to tie the score at 19 with a solo block from Morgan. Kentucky then utilized a 3-1 run to claim a 22-20 edge before the Noles fought back to tie the score at 24 apiece. UK had a pair of set points, but could not finish the frame and Florida State earned the 27-25 victory. Billings led the way with four kills in the set.

    In another back-and-forth battle in the second set with neither team earning more than a two-point advantage, the Noles prevailed by a 25-23 score. Billings once again led the way with four hammers in the stanza.

    Florida State jumped out to a 4-0 edge to begin the third set, but Kentucky clawed back to knot the score at 10 apiece on a kill from O’Conner. O’Conner kept the heat on and torched the field for consecutive kills and a 13-12 lead for the Blue and White. However, the Noles would take a timeout and fire back with kills of their own to tie the score and eventually take a lead it would not relinquish. O’Conner had three kills in the set to lead the Wildcats.

    Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.
     


     

    Texas A&M Sweeps SDSU in Opener

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Texas A&M posted a convincing win in its season opener, defeating South Dakota State, 25-10, 25-12, 25-12, at the UND Classic at the Sioux Center.

    While Aggie senior setter Ally Sawatzky started her 93rd consecutive match, five other players drew their first career start and all 14 available players on the A&M roster saw action. Sophomores Angela Lowak, Sierra Patrick and Shelby Sullivan started at the outside, middle and opposite positions, respectively, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers and true freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty also started in their first-ever collegiate match.

    Sawatzky tied the school record with six service aces. A&M, which did not allow an ace, finished with 14 as team, tying for ninth in the all-time school records. The last time A&M tallied more than 14 aces in a match was in 1994.

    A&M also dominated in every other positive statistic, outhitting SDSU, .363 to -.011 for the match, posting 39 kills to the Jackrabbits’ 18. In addition, the Aggies led in blocks (8-3), digs (44-27) and assists (37-16).

    Lowak led all players with a career-high nine kills, and Babers recorded eight kills in 10 attempts for a .800 hitting percentage. Lowak also added a career-high four blocks -- including two solo blocks -- and Sullivan had four blocks to tie her career high. Sullivan also recorded a personal-best three aces.

    Sawatzky had 19 assists and added five kills as Mariah Agre took over setting duties when Sawatzky rotated to the front row. Libero Kelsey Kinley took match-high honors in digs with 12.

    In the opening set, the Aggies used two six-point scoring runs to build a 14-3 lead over the Jackrabbits. While A&M continued to put together numerous runs of consecutive points, SDSU was unable to score back-to-back points throughout the first set. Babers closed out the 25-10 set victory with a slide kill as she posted three kills in three attempts to help the Aggies outhit SDSU .600 to .040 in the frame.

    A&M used a seven-point rally to open up a 16-7 advantage in the second set. The Aggies, who outhit SDSU .344 to -.030 in the stanza, continued to add to their lead and used a four-point run to complete the 25-12 win and take a 2-0 lead going into the break.

    The Maroon and White raced to a 15-4 lead in the third set, with Sawatzky posting three consecutive aces during a four-point run. Every healthy player saw action throughout the set, including appearances by freshmen Kaysie Shebeneck, Victoria Arenas, and Katelyn Labhart.

    The Aggies return to the court Saturday, playing a pair of matches to close out the tournament. A&M takes on 15th-ranked and former Big 12 Conference foe Iowa State at 10 a.m. and concludes the tournament against host North Dakota at 7 p.m.

    Live stats of the matches will be available at AggieAthletics.com. In addition, free live video of the UND match will be available at BigSkyConf.com.
     


     

    No. 9 Gator Volleyball Goes Unbeaten to Open 2013 Season

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 9 Florida volleyball team started the season on a high note with wins over the New Orleans Privateers (3-0: 25-7, 25-9, 25-12) and the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (3-1: 25-18, 25-11, 24-26, 25-17) in the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational on Friday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Florida is now 22-8 in season debuts and the Gators have claimed 10 consecutive season-opening matches.

    Simone Antwi, a redshirt-sophomore middle blocker from Fairfax Station, Va., notched eight kills in the win over UNO, while Taylor Unroe and Mackenzie Dagostino each had four service aces, new career highs for both. In the match against LIU, Živa Recek registered a double-double of 15 kills and 11 digs, the 10th of her career. Senior Chloe Mann hit .591 (14-1-22) to lead the team against the Blackbirds, coupled with a match-high seven blocks.
     


     

    Auburn Downs Saint Louis 3-0 in Volleyball Opener

    ST. LOUIS - Auburn got the 2013 volleyball season off to a strong start with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-22) win over Saint Louis on Friday night at Chaifetz Arena.

    The Tigers (1-0) spread the offense around, getting five kills or more from five different players, and a pair of newcomers made immediate contributions for Auburn. Saint Louis (0-1) gave Auburn all it could handle for much of the match, but the Tigers managed to hold off the Billikens for a season-opening win.

    "Obviously, I'm happy with the win," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "Saint Louis has a good young team. I thought we did a good job responding to some situations where they went on runs. For both sides, it's your first match and you're trying to figure some things out, but in the end, I'm happy with how we fought through."

    Senior setter Chelsea Wintzinger recorded her 2,000th career assist early in the third set, becoming just the sixth Auburn player to reach that milestone. She finished with 20 assists on the night to go along with 10 digs, earning one of two double-doubles for Auburn on the night.

    Katherine Culwell also had a double-double, leading the Tigers with 18 kills and adding 10 digs while hitting .350 for the match. Freshman Kia Bright made a strong collegiate debut, scoring nine kills on 20 attacks, also hitting .350 on the night.

    Another freshman, Stephanie Campbell, made a successful return to her hometown with an error-free five kills on 10 attacks, and she led the Tigers with four blocks along with a pair of digs and a service ace. Seniors Kathia Run and Camila Jersonsky had six and five kills, respectively, and Courtney McDonald added three kills.

    Sarah Wroblicky led all defensive players with 17 digs, and sophomore transfer Alyssa Ivey added 16 assists for Auburn.

    Saint Louis was led by freshman Mallory Dillon - a former club teammate of Campbell - who led all hitters with 20 kills on the night.

    Auburn showed improvement in the service game, committing just two service errors on the night while SLU had six. The Tigers also won the digs battle, 51-45, had 46 kills to SLU's 41, and out-hit the Billikens, .281-.202. Both teams had four blocks.

    The Tigers jumped out to a big lead in the first set, leading by as many as nine points, and held on as a late SLU run fell just short in a 25-21 opening-set triumph. Culwell had a team-leading five kills in the opening set while Camila Jersonsky added four.

    SLU kept things closer in the second set, but the Tigers pulled away at the end to earn another 25-21 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Auburn never trailed in the set after the opening point, but SLU tied the score as late as 17-17. From there, though, Culwell recorded three straight kills to give Auburn a 20-17 lead it would never relinquish.

    The third set saw Saint Louis lead most of the way. After several ties and an eventual 19-17 SLU lead led to an Auburn timeout, the Tigers went on a 6-2 run to take their first lead since early in the set and never looked back en route to a 25-22 win. Bright came up big with a pair of key kills during that run, and Culwell had eight of Auburn's 16 kills in the set as the Tigers hit .324 in the closing frame while holding SLU to a .194 percentage.

    Auburn will play two matches Saturday as the Marcia E. Hamilton classic concludes. The Tigers will face No. 10 Nebraska at 10 a.m., followed by a match with Louisiana-Monroe at 4;30 p.m. Both matches can be heard on Auburn All-Access at AuburnTigers.com, and fans can follow @AUVolleyball on Twitter for updates throughout the match.
     


     

    Leak Lifts Volleyball Past UTSA, 3-1

    BATON ROUGE – Cati Leak hammered home a career-best 19 kills on a crisp .304 hitting percentage and tacked on 14 digs en route to her third career double-double as the LSU volleyball team secured a 3-1 victory over Texas-San Antonio [25-22, 25-17, 28-30, 25-21] during the season opener for both team Friday at the Maravich Center.

    With the victory, LSU (1-0) has won 13 of its 16 openers under head coach Fran Flory. The Tigers also have won all three meetings versus UTSA (0-1).

    Malorie Pardo handed out 47 assists to go along 14 digs as the Tigers turned in a .247 hitting clip. Making her LSU debut, Emily Ehrle chipped in 10 kills on a .333 hitting ratio. Briana Holman came away with seven kills and five blocks in her first match with the Purple & Gold.

    Desiree Elliott and Khourtni Fears added eight kills apiece. For Elliott, she became the 20th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career kills. She also added a career-high 12 digs and three blocks.

    On the back row, Katie Lindelow registered 16 digs in her first career start at the libero position. The Tigers also received 11 digs from Laura Whalen.

    UTSA was fueled by McKenzie Adams, who ripped 29 kills on a .344 attack percentage and reeled in 20 digs. Brandy Husky garnered 50 assists whereas Kasey Kiefer tallied a match-best 26 dig for the Roadrunners.

    “I thought we played fairly well,” Flory said. “We never really got going. I think we served very well. I was proud of our serving. I think that at times we really looked like we were in sync and doing some good things, but we were not able to sustain it. It was a good first match. You have to credit UTSA because they are a great defensive team. They are a very solid team, and McKenzie (Adams) was amazing. We knew the ball was going to her, (and) we couldn’t stop her.

    LSU wraps up the Tiger Classic Saturday against UC Davis and San Diego State at the Maravich Center. First serve is scheduled for 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. Both matches will have live video and live stats available for Geaux Zone subscribers at www.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 and @lsuvb on Instagram.