Tigers Take on No. 3 Gators to Start Cross-Divisional Weekend
BATON ROUGE — The LSU volleyball team continues Southeastern Conference play on the road as it travels to take on No. 3 Florida in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday at 8 p.m. ET in the Stephen O’Connell Center.
The Tigers (10-6, 2-3 SEC) split a pair of SEC matches last week, falling to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday evening before sweeping Auburn in Auburn, Ala., on Sunday afternoon.
The 11-time defending SEC champion, Florida (16-1, 6-0 SEC) is riding an NCAA-record 104-match SEC winning streak. The Gators have not lost a regular-season conference match since Sept. 20, 1995.
In addition, it has been 12 years since Florida has lost a conference match at home. The Gators have also not lost a regular-season game in league play in 19 matches dating back to Sept. 21, 2001.
“We have a challenge ahead of us on Friday,” said LSU head coach Fran Flory. ” Florida is the benchmark in the SEC and they have been for a while. They are the measuring stick for the league. They have talent all over the court and have been virtually impossible to stop this season.
“Florida is especially tough on their court,” Flory continued. “I think for us to be successful everyone will have to step up and play their best. We will need to control the ball well and be efficient in our offense and our defense will have to have an outstanding game.”
This season the Tigers have won the first game in 15 of the 16 matches they have played. LSU won the first game in 14 straight matches to start the season before that streak was halted against Alabama last weekend.
For the season, the Tigers have outscored opponents by almost seven points in first games. Only three times has an opponent scored over 25 points against LSU in the first game and three times this year an opponent has failed to reach 20 points.
LSU is led by Jennifer Hampton with 3.90 kills and 3.00 digs per game. The senior from Houston ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in both kills and digs per game and is one of only four players in school history to record both 1,000 career kills and digs.
Sophomore Regan Hood leads the team with 49 total blocks. Freshman Cara Causey averages a team-high 1.09 blocks per game, ranking her in the top 10 in the league. Senior Lauren Cuyler leads the team with 11 solo blocks.
Katie Kubena ranks eighth in the conference in assists per game and is among the top 10 in service aces per game, leading the team with 24 this season.
After the match with Florida, the Tigers will travel to Athens, Ga., to face Georgia on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. LSU will then return home to take on Ole Miss and Mississippi State next weekend to close out the month of October.