Volleyball Sweeps Pair of Matches in Texas
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The LSU volleyball team swept through the first day of the Texas A&M Invitational, opening the season with 3-0 victories over Texas-San Antonio and Alcorn State in the G. Rollie White Coliseum.
Defeating UTSA to open the year improved the Tigers to 20-6 all-time in season openers. With a win over Alcorn State, LSU improved to 2-0 on the season, their first 2-0 start since 1998. The Lady Braves went winless in the tournament, falling to 0-3 on the year.
Senior Jennifer Hampton recorded the 35th double-double of her career against UTSA with 14 kills and 13 digs as LSU won 30-26, 30-17, 30-25. Senior Katie Kubena also added eight kills with a .467 attacking percentage, three blocks and 34 assists.
“Obviously this is a really nice start for us,” said LSU head coach Fran Flory. “I was pleased with the way we played today. In the first match Jennifer Hampton was outstanding in leading the team on the court. Katie Kubena was the best she has ever been today and if she plays this way the rest of the year we are in for a great season.”
Freshmen Cara Causey and Megan Heinz shined in the first starts of their collegiate careers against Alcorn State, each posting double-figure kill totals, with 11 and 12 respectively. Hampton also reached double-figures in kills with 10 as the Tigers won in convincing fashion, 30-22, 30-16, 30-16.
“I was also impressed with the play of our freshmen Cara Casusey and Megan Heinz,” said Flory. “They made an immediate impact for our team and proved that they can contribute for us the rest of the year.”
In the season opener against Texas-San Antonio, the Tigers trailed only once in the first game, 1-0, after the Roadrunners opened the game with a service ace. LSU then opened up a 4-1 advantage before UTSA rallied to cut the lead to 5-4.
A 5-2 run by the Tigers gave LSU the 10-6 lead, but the Roadrunners continued to fight and tied the game at 12-12. The match was tied again at 15 and 16, before the Tigers pulled away for good as Blaise DeRouen served for four straight points, including a service ace.
Hampton, a senior from Houston, Texas, put the game away with a powerful kill from the left side to give LSU the 30-26 victory in game one.
In the second game, the Tigers found their rhythm after UTSA pulled ahead early, 3-1. LSU took the lead and built an 11-4 advantage. The Roadrunners would get no closer than five points the remainder of the game.
The Tigers hit .353 in the game, committing just five attacking errors with 17 kills. UTSA committed an attacking error to end the game and give LSU the 30-17 victory.
Game three saw the Tigers take advantage of the 2-0 lead to give starters Lauren Cuyer and Kyra Lancon a break. Heinz and Causey saw their first collegiate action and responded with six kills and three blocks.
Just as in the first two game, UTSA jumped out to the early lead, pulling ahead 6-1 before LSU mounted a comeback to cut it to one, 6-5. The Tigers went on to tie the game at 11 and take the lead for good 12-11 on a service error by the Roadrunners.
LSU used a 7-4 run to complete the win, 30-25, as Causey and Regan Hood combined on a block to end the game and seal the match victory.
Against Alcorn State in the nightcap, game one was a game of runs that saw LSU seal the victory, 30-22, with a kill by Rachel Vogt off the right side. Heinz and Causey, getting the first starts of their careers, combined for 10 of the Tiger’s 14 kills in the first game.
With the game tied at six, the Lady Braves went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead 10-6. LSU rallied to tied the game at 13 before pulling ahead 15-14. With the Tigers leading 17-15, Kubena served out 10 straight points to put LSU ahead 27-15.
The Lady Braves would not go away however. ASU mounted a comeback, winning seven of the next 10 points and fighting off game point six times, before LSU finally put Alcorn State away.
The second game unfolded in much the same way as the first game. The game was tied at five before the Lady Braves went on a 3-0 run to pull ahead 8-5. The Tigers rallied to tie the game at 12 and then pulled away, scoring 18 of the next 22 points, including seven straight points served by Beth Cowley. LSU sealed the 30-16 victory with a block by Kubena and Causey.
The Tigers came out and dominated the third game from start to finish, opening a 7-1 lead to start. After Alcorn State cut the lead to 10-4, LSU went on a 10-2 run to go ahead 20-6. The Lady Braves could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way as the Tigers won 30-16 on a ball-handling error by ASU.
The Tigers have the day off on Saturday before returning to action to conclude the Texas A&M Invitational on Sunday against No. 17 Texas A&M at 2 p.m. The Aggies defeated Alcorn State and UTSA in action on Friday.