No. 19 Volleyball Dismisses Georgia, 3-0
BATON ROUGE – In a dual of the SEC’s assist leaders, Brittney Johnson turned in a match-high 37 helpers to go along with six kills and five digs as the No. 19 LSU volleyball team connected for a .324 hitting ratio en route to a 3-0 victory over Georgia [25-20, 25-17, 25-21] Sunday at the Maravich Center.
It marked the sixth time that LSU (11-0, 2-0 SEC) has registered over a .300 percentage this season.
Johnson set a balanced attack as a quartet of Tigers hammered home seven or more kills. Angela Bensend cranked a match-best 14 kills and added eight digs.
“Brittney did a great job,” head coach Fran Flory said. “She has been more athletic and is learning how to be a better athlete. I thought we were in system almost every ball. There were very few balls that we didn’t get in front of the attack line and create something with Brittney to be able to run a fun, fast offense and be a fast-break type of team. That was certainly a great portion of that. We worked very hard on that this week, and we need to continue that.”
Michele Williams, Madie Jones and Desiree Elliott chipped in with nine, eight and seven kills, respectively. Each member of the trio ripped over a .400 mark, and LSU remained the SEC’s lone undefeated team. The last time the Tigers started 11-0 was during the 1991 season.
Lauren Waclawczyk garnered 11 digs followed by Sam Delahoussaye‘s 10 digs. The duo also posted perfect passer ratings in a combined 28 attempts. LSU also racked up 72 percent sideout efficiency for the match.
“It is always good to get a win,” Johnson said. “Every game is just as important as the previous game. You just have to come out every game and play the same, so these two wins are going to mean the same as the last two wins of the season.”
The two teams split the first 16 points of the opening frame before LSU strung together 11 of the next 17 points to pull ahead 19-14 sparked by three Jones kills. The Tigers maintained their five-point edge and capitalized on a pair of UGA service to close out the 25-20 win.
LSU led from start-to-finish in set two. At 13-11, the Tigers pushed points on Williams’ serve to balloon the advantage out to 18-11. UGA crept back to within three points on a trio of occasions, the latest at 20-17. LSU used another five-point run highlighted by two Bensend spikes and two blocks involving Williams to roll to the 25-17 victory.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair with neither team gaining more than a two point lead. After 11 ties and four lead changes, LSU made the plays down the stretch to secure the sweep. Bensend powered home back-to-back kills coupled with a UGA attack error to break a 20-20 deadlock. Williams provided the finishing touches of the 25-21 triumph.
“We come out strong no matter what,” Delahoussaye said. “When we come out of the locker room after the first two sets, we act like it is the first set all over again. So, the intensity never stops.”
Kathleen Luft paced Georgia (8-4, 0-2 SEC) with 10 kills, while the Bulldogs middle attack of Valentina Gonzalez and Ann Dylla were limited to eight kills apiece. UGA was held to a .157 hitting percentage as a team.
“Certainly, you would like to have aces because that means you’re scoring points,” Flory said. “However, if we can make it difficult for them to run their offense and keep the ball away from Valentina Gonzalez, that is the key. So, that has to happen.”
LSU opens a four-match road swing Friday at Alabama. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. with live stats available on LSUsports.net. Fans also can follow live in-match updates on the team’s official blog at http://lsuvolleyball.posterous.com.
Volleyball Quotes – September 19, 2010
LSU vs. Georgia
Head coach Fran Flory
On the team’s performance …
“I thought our team played very well. We didn’t play great positional defense. We challenged them to be better throughout the match and they improved as we went, so I’m really proud of that. I’m especially proud of our serving. Our serving took Georgia out of everything that they wanted to do. That has been a point of emphasis that we started the season with, but we lost it the last couple of weeks. Now we have it back, and we have to maintain it.
On the importance of the serve …
“Certainly you would like to have aces because that means you’re scoring points. However, if we can make it difficult for them to run their offense and keep the ball away from Valentina Gonzalez, that is the key. So, that has to happen.”
On the efficiency of the first two sets with Brittney Johnson serving…
“Brittney did a great job. She has been more athletic and is learning how to be a better athlete.”
On Angela Bensend‘s performance …
“Angela was a little slow and tentative at the beginning of the match. I’m not sure if she was tired or if she didn’t have her rhythm. I’m really proud of how she has responded to adversity throughout all of our matches. If she has a poor start or a poor middle set, she has always been able to finish. I can’t say enough about what that means to our team.”
On the serve returns …
“I thought we were in system almost every ball. There were very few balls that we didn’t get in front of the attack line and create something with Brittney to be able to run a fun, fast offense and be a fast-break type of team. That was certainly a great portion of that. We worked very hard on that this week, and we need to continue that.”
On facing Alabama in a hostile environment Friday night …
“We have had a difficult time in Alabama, and that is a challenging task for us. I know they’re a very good and balanced team. They have Alyssa Meuth, who was a Preseason All-Conference player, and she has been very effective against us. We will have to get in the gym. We have a couple days of practice, we will prepare, and hopefully we will have a nice performance Friday night.”
Setter Brittney Johnson
On the importance of starting 2-0 in conference …
“It is always good to get a win. Every game is just as important as the previous game. You just have to come out every game and play the same, so these two wins are going to mean the same as the last two wins of the season.”
On the importance of the mindset of focusing for each game …
“We don’t want to wait until the end, so it is very important to embrace trying to win every match and not taking any team for granted. If we don’t, anything could happen and we could slip up and lose focus.”
Defensive Specialist Sam Delahoussaye
On what the team has learned thus far this season …
“We come out strong. No matter what, when we come out of the locker room after the first two sets, we act like it is the first set all over again. So, the intensity never stops.”
On playing Alabama on the road Friday night …
“We’re just going to act like it is a home match. We’re not going to let it affect us. We just have to keep pushing and keep the intensity.”