DURHAM, N.C. — Despite recording a season-high 14 blocks, the South Carolina volleyball team fell in four sets to Duke on Saturday by the scores of 22-25, 25-20, 17-25 and 21-25 to wrap up play in the Duke Invitational at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
It’s the most blocks for a Gamecock squad in a match since posting 14 on Nov. 26, 2008 at home against Florida. With the loss South Carolina drops to 5-4 on the season. The Blue Devils are now 7-2 overall.
Freshman middle blocker Jacqy Angermiller led the way at the net, recording a career-high nine block assists. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil and sophomore Darian Dozier, who were both named to the All-Tournament Team, added five and four blocks, respectively, while senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin also had four blocks. Thévenin tallied a team-high 15 kills. Sophomore Sarah Blomgren chipped in 10 kills, and freshman KoKo Atoa-Williams and Dozier finished with seven and six, respectively. McNeil distributed 24 assists, and junior Michaela Christiaansen collected 16 digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Elizabeth Campbell finished with 25 kills to lead four Blue Devils with double-figure kills. Outside hitter Jeme Obeime (17), outside hitter Emily Sklar (13) and middle blocker Chelsea Cook (10) also reached double figures. Junior setter Maggie Deichmeister dished out 56 assists, while senior Ali McCurdy finished with a match-high 18 digs.
South Carolina hit .209 as a team and finished with 43 kills, while the Blue Devils hit .258 with 71 kills. The Gamecocks out blocked Duke 14-5, and Duke held a 58-45 advantage in digs.
Duke built a 17-12 lead in the first set, but following a timeout the Gamecocks regrouped and went on a quick 6-0 run capped by a Thévenin kill to take their first lead of the frame at 18-17. After the Blue Devils tied it on an Obeime kill, the teams battled through two more ties, with the last being 22-22. Duke then scored the next three points to win the set.
The Gamecocks evened the match at 1-1 with a strong second set. South Carolina made its presence felt at the net as it recorded eight blocks in the frame. The Gamecocks, who also outhit the Blue Devils .226-.114, held a lead for most of the set and didn’t allow Duke to go on any lengthy runs. After the Blue Devils pulled to within 15-14 on an Obeime kill, the Gamecocks went on a 3-1 run, including kills by Thévenin and McNeil, to take an 18-15 lead. South Carolina didn’t allow Duke to get closer than two points the rest of the way.
The Blue Devils took control of the third set early, building a 10-2 lead behind four kills from Campbell. With Duke leading 21-10, the Gamecocks made a push to get back into the set, going on a 7-2 run to cut the Blue Devils’ lead to 23-17. However, Duke scored the next two points to win the frame. The Blue Devils hit .455 for the set with 18 kills.
The teams played to an 11-11 tie in the fourth set, but a Campbell kill gave the Blue Devils a 12-11 lead they would not relinquish. Duke went on to build a 19-15 lead, and the Gamecocks made one last rally to get to within 19-17 but they were unable to pull any closer.
The Gamecocks return to action next weekend as they host the Carolina Classic presented by Courtyard Marriott. South Carolina will face Western Carolina on Friday at 7 p.m. and Robert Morris (1 p.m.) and Presbyterian (7 p.m.) on Saturday at the Volleyball Competition Facility.
Season tickets for South Carolina's home dates are on sale. Adult season tickets are $25, while youth 17 and under can get their tickets for $10. For more information, contact the South Carolina Ticket Office at 800-4SC-FANS or visit the ticket office homepage at Gamecocksonline.com.
Aggies Win A&M Invitational
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M volleyball team captured its own tournament championship, winning the tiebreaker after the Aggies, No. 7 Michigan and No. 16 Florida State finished atop the standings with identical 2-1 records.
Senior setter Allie Sawatzky, who had a triple-double against the seventh-ranked Wolverines, took top individual honors as she was named tournament MVP. In addition, Aggie sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak and redshirt freshman Jazzmin Babers were named to the all-tournament team.
A&M (7-2), which finished the tournament with an 8-3 (.727) record in total sets played, won the tiebreaker by having the highest ratio for total sets won and lost. Michigan, which fell to No. 16 Florida State, 3-2, in the final match of the tournament to create the three-way tie for first, went 8-5 (.615) in sets played, and the Seminoles were 6-5 (.545). Siena finished in fourth place, having gone 0-3 in matches played.
It was the second consecutive tournament title for A&M, which won the UTSA Classic last weekend in San Antonio.
Sawatzky had an all-around phenomenal match in the narrow 3-2 loss to Michigan, posting a triple-double and leading all players with 16 kills with zero errors in 28 attempts for a .571 hitting percentage. She also added 38 assists and tied her career high with 16 digs against the Wolverines. The 6-2 lefty from St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, also posted double figure kills against Florida State with 10 and completed a double-double with 36 assists.
For the tournament, the setter led the tournament field with a .417 hitting percentage and tied Michigan setter and all-tournament selection Lexi Dannemiller for the lead with 9.82 assists per set. Sawatzky was fifth among all players with 2.73 kills per set, eighth in points (3.05) per set and 10th in digs (2.55) per set.
Lowak led the Aggies and was third against the tournament field with 3.40 kills per set. She had 14 kills in the sweep against Florida State and posted 12 kills and 14 digs for a double-double against Michigan.
Babers averaged 1.82 blocks per set, second best in the tournament field. She took match-high honors in blocks against Michigan with a career-high 11. Babers tallied six blocks in the sweep against the Seminoles and had three in a sweep against Siena.
The Aggies wrap up non-conference play next week as they travel to Colorado to face the Rams of Colorado State Saturday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. (CT) in Fort Collins and then take on Northern Colorado Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. in Greeley.
A&M opens Southeastern Conference play at Reed Arena, Sunday, September 29 against Georgia.
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.
Georgia Sweeps Tournament with Wins Over Louisiana, UNCG
ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia volleyball team swept through the final day of the Benson’s Hospitality Group Invitational in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., picking up a pair of wins over Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the UNC Greensboro Spartans. Georgia earned a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-15) win over Louisiana in game one before taking a 3-1 (25-11, 16-25, 25-10, 25-13) win over UNCG in the nightcap. The Bulldogs are now 8-1 on the year, its best start since the 2007 season.
“I’m really proud of the way we played tonight,” Head Coach Lizzy Stemke said. “We’ve played six matches in nine days and so we are fatigued and it was catching up with us a little bit. What makes me excited about for this group is that when a player or two gets fatigued, other people will really step up and have their backs. Overall, they’ve pushed through to finish and to win.”
Earning all-tournament honors for the Bulldogs was Brittany Northcutt, who was named the tournament MVP, Allison Summers, who earned Best Libero and Kaylee Kehoe.
Georgia 3, UNCG 1
Tirah Le’au and Stacey Smith finished with 10 kills each as the Bulldogs came away with a 3-1 (25-11, 16-25, 25-10, 25-13) win over the UNCG Spartans (5-4) in the tournament finale. Kehoe led the match with 28 assists, while Maggie Baumert added 15. Le’au also led the team with four blocks, including three solo stops. Summers picked up a match-best 22 digs and recorded a season-best four service aces.
The Bulldogs cruised through the first set, taking it by a score of 25-11. With Kehoe at the service line Georgia eased out to a 6-1 lead. A Smith kill made it a 10-2 game before UNCG scored back-to-back points that brought the score to 10-4. Georgia maintained the lead for the remainder of the set and scored the final five points to take a 1-0 lead in the match. During the final 5-0 run, the Bulldogs were able to take advantage of two Spartan attack errors and a Summers ace that sealed the win.
The scored tied four times at the start of the second set before UNCG was able to score three-straight points to take an 8-5 lead. The Bulldogs tied the set at nine on a Desiree McCray kill, but UNCG went on a 4-0 run that gave it a 13-9. The Spartans kept the lead throughout the remainder of the set and went on tie the match at one set each with a 25-16 set two win.
Georgia eased out to a 7-4 lead in the third set before an Jasmine Eatmon kill sparked a 7-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a convincing 14-4 lead. During the stretch, Lauren Teknipp recorded two kills, while Northcutt picked up a kill and a solo block. A service ace by Eatmon and a bad set by UNCG allowed the Bulldogs to extend their lead to 17-5 and force a Spartan timeout. UNCG scored five more points in the set before Georgia sealed the 25-10 win on a kill by Teknipp.
The Bulldogs dominated the fourth and final set, coming away with a convincing 25-13 win. With Summers at the line, the Bulldogs rattled off 10-straight points to take a 12-2 lead. During the run, Georgia got kills from Eatmon, Smith and Le’au to go along with two aces by Summers. UNCG made it a 14-6 game after stringing together three-consecutive points. The Bulldogs scored six of the final eight points, including a match-winning kill by Eatmon, to take the set and the 3-1 win over the Spartans.
Georgia 3, Louisiana 0
Le’au, Northcutt and Smith led the Bulldogs with six kills each, as the Georgia volleyball team handed Louisiana a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-15) loss. McCray led the team with six blocks, followed by Teknipp with four. Summers led the match with 17 digs, with Northcutt and Baumert also in double figures with 11 and 10 digs, respectively. Kehoe paced the offense with 17 assists. Chloe Buckendahl led Georgia from the service line, finishing with two service aces.
The Georgia offense proved efficient in the first set, hitting at a .316 clip, while its defense held the Ragin’ Cajuns to a .045 attack percentage. The set was close through the opening points before the Bulldogs strung together four-straight points, including one off a solo block by Northcutt, which gave them a 13-7 lead. Georgia and Louisiana traded points over the next two possessions before a Northcutt kill sparked a 4-0 run that extended the Bulldog lead to 18-9. The Georgia defense stymied the Ragin’ Cajuns, allowed them to score just four more points as the Bulldogs went on to win the set 25-13.
Louisiana jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the second set before service error, a kill by Eatmon, a Summers service ace and a solo block by Le’au allowed Georgia to tie the set at four. The score knotted six times before the Ragin’ Cajuns took a two-point lead at 13-11 that caused Georgia to use its first timeout. Following the break, Northcutt went to the service line and helped Georgia to a 5-0 run that gave it a 16-13 lead. Georgia maintained the lead for the remainder of the set and scored five of the final six points to take a 25-20 win over Louisiana in the second set.
The third set was tight through the opening possessions, as neither team was able to take more than a two-point lead. Louisiana took a three-point lead at 9-6 before Georgia put together four-straight points, including two on blocks by Teknipp and McCray, that gave the Bulldogs a 10-9 lead. A kill by Northcutt sparked a 4-0 run that made it a 14-10 game. The Bulldogs dominated the end of the set, scoring the final eight points to take the set 25-15 and the match 3-0. During the run, Buckendahl recorded two service aces, including one that was the match-winner.
Georgia returns to action next weekend, Sept. 20-21 when it travels to Lawrence, Kan., to take part of a tournament hosted by the University of Kansas. The Bulldogs will take on Kansas at 8 p.m., on Sept. 20, before facing North Dakota State and Notre Dame on Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m., respectively.
Niagara Falls To MSU In Straight Sets, Bulldogs Sweep Weekend
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Two days. Four wins. The equation doesn’t get much sweeter for the Mississippi State volleyball team (7-4) as it swept Wofford (4-6) and Niagara (0-10) to claim the Bulldog Invitational title Saturday afternoon.
After surrendering only a single set Friday, the Bulldogs never let up Saturday, claiming a 3-0 victory against Niagara (25-8, 25-12, 25-18) to begin the day before matching the results against Niagara (25-15, 25-15, 25-17) in the tournament finale.
MSU opened the day with a 17-3 run to clinch momentum and essentially take Wofford out of the early match. Freshmen Kimmy Gardiner and Chelsea Duhs combined for nine kills to lead MSU, while Suzanne Horner added 14 assists. State hit .630 in the opening frame.
Wofford again fell behind 12-3 in the second set and never recovered. With Gardiner serving, the Bulldogs rattled off six straight points including a trio of service aces. Duhs matched her four kills from the first set and Gardiner added eight digs.
The Terriers managed to keep the third set even until State went a 5-0 run to break a 10-all tie. Duhs, Gardiner and Horner all had three kills in the final set.l
Gardiner finished with her SEC-leading seventh-straight double-double (10 kills, 10 digs), while Duhs recorded a match-high 11 kills with a .733 hitting percentage.
Roxanne McVey again notched double-digit digs with 13 and Horner recorded 31 assists to help the Bulldogs hit a season-best .400 as a team.
Niagara battled MSU early in the first set of the nightcap but with the match knotted at 10-all, an Alex Warren kill sent the Bulldogs on a dominating 13-0 run. State posted a pair of 25-15 wins in the first two sets.
The third set stayed on course with weekend with six kills from Gardiner and five from Duhs that produced a 25-17 match-clinching victory for the Bulldogs.
Six different Bulldogs recorded a kill with Duhs’ eight kills leading the way. Horner tacked on another 24 assists, while McVey had 14 digs.
Bali Leffall-Young made her career debut and recorded her first-career kill, while Katlyn Mataya Kaitlyn Schoeppner and Kelsey Stommes all made their career debuts on Friday.
Duhs was named the Most Valuable Player for the Bulldog Invitational, while McVey and Horner were also on the All-Tournament Team.
MSU returns to action Sept. 20 and 21 in the Belmont Bruin Classic in Nashville, Tenn., against Arkansas State, Belmont and UAB. The Bulldogs then return home to open Southeastern Conference play against No. 5 Florida on Sept. 27.
Auburn Volleyball Splits with Loyola & Notre Dame
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Auburn volleyball split two matches Saturday in the Shamrock Invitational, defeating Loyola 3-0 (25-7, 25-18, 25-20) in the morning and dropping a five-set heartbreaker to Notre Dame, 3-2 (28-26, 25-17, 16-25, 16-25, 11-15), in the final match for both teams at Purcell Pavilion.
The Tigers (9-2) earned their third-straight sweep with a win over Loyola (5-5) but saw a four-match winning streak snapped with the loss to Notre Dame (5-4).
Against Loyola, with the first-set score of 25-7, Auburn had held an opponent to single-digits at least once in three straight matches, something that hasn’t happened for a Tiger team since rally scoring began in 2000.
“I’m happy with how we played defensively,” Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. “Loyola is an athletic team, and they can put a lot of pressure on you with their offense. We did a good job of really controlling our system and defending them the way we wanted to.”
Freshman Stephanie Campbell was in on five of Auburn’s nine blocks, and senior Courtney McDonald contributed four block assists as well. Camila Jersonsky had a solo block and two block assists, Katherine Culwell had one of each, and Kathia Rud was in on a pair of blocks as well.
Offensively, Kia Bright led the Tigers with 11 kills and a .320 hitting percentage. Jersonsky contributed six kills, and Campbell had five. Campbell and Ciara Richards each had one service ace, and Chelsea Wintzinger turned in a 19-assists, seven-dig performance.
The Tigers hit .262 as a team in the match and held Loyola to an .028 mark, the second-lowest by an Auburn opponent this season. It took a push at the end of set three to get the Ramblers above the .000 mark. Auburn had 39 kills to Loyola’s 27, and out-blocked the Ramblers 9-4.
In the nightcap against the Irish, it was Auburn’s first loss since 2008 when winning the first two sets in a match. Culwell led all hitters with 19 kills, and Jersonsky had a season-high 15. Wroblicky also had a season-high 25 digs, and Wintzinger and Richards both had double-doubles.
Auburn had a season-high 10 blocks against the Irish, but Notre Dame countered with 17 blocks of their own. The Irish were led by Jeni Houser, who earned tournament MVP honors with an 18-kill, 13-block performance. Auburn actually had more kills and digs than Notre Dame, but the blocking was the difference as Auburn was held below .100 hitting for the final three sets.
The Tigers will play the inaugural match at Auburn Arena next Saturday, Sept. 21, as 15th-ranked Florida State visits the Plains. The match is set for a noon start, and admission is free.
No. 5 Gator Volleyball Claims Third Consecutive Active Ankle Challenge Crown
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 5 University of Florida volleyball team picked up two more wins on Saturday over Iona (3-0) and Western Michigan (3-1) to claim the 2013 Active Ankle Challenge title. The Gators are the only champions of the event in its three-year history at the University of Florida.
Florida hit .386 and .377 in Saturday's matches, respectively, outscoring Iona 61.0-29.0 and Western Michigan 87.0-68.0. The Gators only tallied one reception error on the day, turning in a .993 serve reception percentage Saturday.
Wildcats Upend No. 4 Minnesota in Biggest Upset Since 1993
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind a dominating 15-8 fifth set victory the 19th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team upset No. 4 Minnesota 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-8) in front of 1,586 fans in Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. The win over the fourth-ranked Gophers is the biggest upset in head coach Craig Skinner’s nine seasons.
Kentucky (6-3) not only handed Minnesota (8-1) its first loss of the season, the Golden Gophers lost their first three sets of the 2013 campaign. Minnesota started the season with eight straight 3-0 sweeps. In each of their previous 24 sets, no opponent had scored more than 19 points against them. Saturday night, the Wildcats reached at least 22 points in all four possible sets.
“It was a heck of an effort,” Skinner said. “We were very aggressive tonight and followed the game plan to a ‘T’. Players just stepped up and made plays and you have to make individual plays against great teams and that’s what we did tonight.”
The win over the fourth-ranked Gophers bested UK’s win over No. 5 Florida during the 2009 season as the highest in the Skinner era. The victory is the biggest win over a ranked opponent since the Blue and White downed No. 3 Texas at home in 1993. The win tied the all-time series with Minnesota at three wins apiece and is the first time the two schools have met when UM is ranked.
“It’s just a great win,” Skinner added. “To me, the biggest thing is that it builds our confidence and allows our players to understand the level we can play at. I’m proud of these guys and the way they stepped up. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to get in the gym with these guys because they are fun to coach.”
UK’s next opportunity comes seven days from now in Nashville, Tenn., against Lipscomb. The Sept. 21 matchup will begin at 3 p.m. ET and air live on ESPN3. The road contest is followed by Kentucky’s final non-conference match of the season against Morehead State on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
Senior Whitney Billings led the way for UK with a match-high 25 kills and 12 digs to couple with a match best .467 hitting percentage. Junior Lauren O’Conner tossed down a career-high 18 kills, while classmate Jackie Napper accounted for a career-best 24 digs.
Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren passed out a career-high 55 assists and logged her second career double-double with 10 digs. Freshman Anni Thomasson had her fourth double-double, all within in the last five contests, with 10 kills and 14 digs. Senior Alexandra Morgan posted six kills and added a team-high eight blocks.
Kentucky claimed the first set, 25-18 before Minnesota answered back with a 25-22 victory in the second set. The third frame belonged to the Wildcats by a 25-19 margin and gave them a 2-1 lead. A close, 25-23 win in the fourth set that was tied at 23-23 went to UM, which forced a fifth and deciding set.
The Wildcats trailed the fifth set 2-1 when they took off and never looked back. Just like that, a 5-0 run gave UK a 6-2 lead they would never relinquish. The fast start was paced by Billings, who notched kills on three of the first five points. The 6-2 advantage quickly turned to 10-4 and 11-6, when a string of three straight points went Kentucky’s way to set up match point at 14-6. O’Conner and Bergren each contributed kills on the 3-0 run, and after Minnesota tallied two points to stave off match point, Bergren sent home a kill for the final, upset-clinching point.
Billings and Thomasson, with four kills, and Bergren with two, all hit .667 in the final frame with zero errors. Senior Jessi Greenberg had five of her season-high nine digs in the fifth set. Bergren dished out eight assists.
The opening set began when Minnesota won the match’s first point, but it would be the only time in the stanza Kentucky would not have the advantage. The 25-18 win was fueled by a 6-1 run by UK that brought the Wildcats to within three points of victory at 22-15. UM rallied with three of the next four points to make it 23-18, but kills from O’Conner and Billings resulted in the final two scores of the set. UK led by as many as seven late in the set, and the latest of three ties occurred at 11-11. The Wildcats out-hit the Golden Gophers .286 to .111 and posted a 17-11 advantage in kills. Eight kills from Billings was a match high, followed by O’Conner’s five. Both attackers hit .500 in the opening frame.
The third frame began much like the second set, with back-and-forth action. An 8-8 tie was the seventh of the set, but that’s when things changed in favor of the Wildcats in a big way. A 6-0 UK run made it 14-8, and that run was extended to 15-4, which put the score at 23-12. After a UK attack error made it 23-13, O’Conner put the Cats within one at 24-13 with a kill. It took seven points, but O’Conner put the set away with her set-leading fifth kill to stop a 6-0 Gopher run and give the Wildcats a 2-1 edge in the match. In addition to O’Conner’s five, Billings had four kills and hit .500 in the frame. UK hit .222 on the set, compared to UM’s .061. Kentucky out-blocked Minnesota 6-4 in the set.
The second set, which featured 14 ties, went to Minnesota by a 25-22 margin. The fourth set was won by the Gophers 25-23. UK tied the set as late as 21-21, but did not lead after an early 3-2 advantage was erased.
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.
LSU Volleyball Handed First Loss of 2013 at Miami
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The LSU volleyball team was unable to rally from a two-set deficit for the second consecutive match as Miami emerged with a 3-2 decision over the Tigers [25-18, 25-17, 18-25, 16-25, 15-11] Saturday at the Knight Sports Complex.
LSU (7-1) was handed its first loss of the 2013 season and was limited to a season-low 40 kills along with a .052 hitting percentage. The Hurricanes (5-2) countered with 66 kills and a .193 hitting clip.
Cati Leak and Malorie Pardo collected double-doubles for the Tigers. Leak belted a team-leading 13 kills and added 15 digs, while Pardo handed out 31 assists and tallied 10 digs. It was Leak’s fifth and Pardo’s third double-doubles of the season.
Briana Holman tacked on 11 kills and registered eight blocks to finish just shy of her third straight double dip. Khourtni Fears picked up eight kills and three blocks.
On the back row, Haley Smith made her fourth consecutive start at the libero position. She garnered 18 digs, four assists and was a spotless 28-for-28 on her reception attempts. Katie Lindelow and Laura Whalen also charted 16 and 11 digs, respectively.
Savanah Leaf paced the Miami attack with 22 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. The Hurricanes also received double-doubles from Caitilin Donahoe (49 assists, 13 digs) and Alex Johnson (15 kills, 15 digs). Ryan Shaffer highlighted Miami’s back row defense and sprawled out for a match-best 36 digs.
“I’m proud of the resiliency our team was able to show during those third and fourth sets,” head coach Fran Flory said. “The positive was we were able to fight back in a match where our offense efficiency wasn’t very good. You have credit Miami and the gameplan their coaching staff put together. Our preparation wasn’t what it needed to be. I don’t think our players came into the match expecting Miami’s best shot. We should have, and that’s a learning experience for our young team. Hopefully, the next time we will come with the right approach and the right attitude.”
Behind two sets to none, LSU jumped out to a 3-0 advantage courtesy of two Holman-Madi Mahaffey blocks and led wire-to-wire during the third set. The Tigers extended their lead to 8-3 after back-to-back Fears kills. LSU kept its five-point spread at 18-13 and put the set away with five of the next six points. The Tigers capped the flurry with a Fears kill, a Fears block and a Lindelow kill to surge ahead 23-14. Holman delivered a kill to put the finishing touches to the 25-18 victory.
LSU fought back from a quartet of three-point deficits in the early stages of set four. The Hurricanes held a 12-9 advantage, but the Tigers produced a strong finishing kick by ripping off 16 of the final 20 points. LSU’s rally was sparked by three Leak kills, two Holman kills and two Pardo aces to win going away by a 25-16 margin.
Miami crept out to a 6-3 lead to begin the winner-take-all fifth set, but the Tigers fired back with two Leak spikes coupled with a Hurricane hitting miscue to knot the ledger at 6-6. After trading sideouts, Miami snatched the momentum back with five straight points en route to a 12-7 edge. LSU got back to within three points on two different occasions, the latest at 14-11 on a Lindelow kill. However, the Hurricanes sided out to close out the 15-11 win.
“Up until this point, our team has really trusted in each other and believed in each other,” Flory said. “For the first time, we let the pressure get on us and stopped trusting in each other. To any coach that means that our discipline isn’t where it needs to be. Offensively, our shot selection isn’t where it needs to be. I thought Malorie made some great choices last night, and I think she put some people in some good situations during this match. I don’t think we seized the opportunities, we have to learn and mature through that.”
Miami tucked away the first two stanzas 25-18 and 25-17. The Hurricanes connected for a .301 hitting percentage and converted on 69 percent of their sideout attempts. Conversely, LSU struggled to a negative .110 ratio and committed 20 hitting errors.
LSU wraps up its eight match, three-weekend road swing at the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup hosted by the University of Houston. The Tigers will take on North Texas [Friday – 11 a.m.], Baylor [Friday – 4:30 p.m.] and Houston [Saturday – 11 a.m.].
VCU Tops UT, 3-2
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee fell to VCU, 3-2 (25-18, 25-22, 17-25, 17-25, 12-15) in the final match of the Comcast Lady Vol Invitational in Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday night.
Senior Whitney Heeres led the Lady Vols with career-highs in kills (13) and hitting percentage (.480). She also added one dig and three solo blocks. Junior Shealyn Kolosky and freshman Ashley Mariani each recorded 10 kills of their own. Lexi Dempsey chimed in with 46 assists on the match, while scooping up 11 digs for her sixth double-double.
Heeres was the Lady Vols' all-tournament recipient. She recorded 29 kills and four solo blocks throughout the tournament.
"We played some good teams that challenged us and it's really showed us what we need to work on," head coach Rob Patrick said. "That's why we play these preseason tournaments - to help us get ready for the SEC season. We brought in some really good teams that play different styles of volleyball and it showed us some of our weaknesses that we need to get better at. It's a really good learning experience for our team."
Tennessee jumped out to an early lead, winning the first, set against VCU, 25-18. Freshmen Lea and Mariani put down four kills apiece, while Heeres added two during opening action. Senior Ellen Mullins scooped up seven digs and Dempsey handed out 11 helpers. The Lady Vols hit at a .241 clip compared to the Rams' .051 mark in the first game.
UT continued its strong play, taking the second stanza 25-22. Kolosky paced the Lady Vols, spiking four balls on six swings.
The Rams rattled off the next two sets with victories, 25-17 and 25-17, respectively, to force a fifth set. VCU capped off the tournament with a 15-12 set win to take the match, 3-2.
The Orange & White returns to action Sept. 21 as Tennessee hosts the Lady Vol Invitational.
UT Rally Falls Short In 3-1 Loss To ETSU
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After falling in the first two sets, the Tennessee volleyball team battled back and almost forced a fifth set on Saturday, but ETSU came away with a 3-1 (31-29, 25-21, 21-25, 27-25) victory in the final day of the Comcast Lady Vol Classic.
Jamie Lea led the team with 24 kills, a career-best for the freshman, while freshman Ashley Mariani added 10 as Tennessee fell to 7-3 on the season. Sophomore Lexi Dempsey dished 51 assists with 16 digs for her fifth double-double this season.
The first set was a thriller with ETSU taking a 31-29 win on a kill by Ivey Rice. Lea put down 10 kills on 14 swings with no errors, hitting at a staggering .714 during the first game. Senior Whitney Heeres added four kills, while Dempsey handed out 18 helpers.
In the second set, the Bucs used a 7-0 run early on to build a 17-7 advantage en route to a 25-21 victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Tennessee stormed back in the third set, leading for the majority of the set for a 25-21 win. Junior Shealyn Kolosky recorded four kills, hitting 1.000, to lead the Lady Vols offensively. Mariani and Lea added four of their own, while junior Carly Wishlow put down three kills on three swings with no errors. Dempsey, Mariani and sophomore Megan Hatcher all served up an ace apiece.
After ETSU jumped to a 7-0 lead in the fourth, Tennessee battled back to tie it at 22-22. The Bucs would go on to take the set, 27-25, and match, 3-1. Lea registered five more kills during the final set.
In the first match of the day, Wichita State defeated VCU, 3-0. The Shockers take on Austin Peay at 4:30 p.m., while Tennessee caps of the Comcast Lady Vol Classic at 7 p.m. when the team faces VCU.