Volleyball Secures Four-Set Win Against Auburn
BATON ROUGE – Behind a full team effort, led defensively by freshman Raigen Cianciulli, the LSU volleyball team (19-7, 10-5 SEC) defeated Auburn (14-8, 7-8 SEC) in four sets Wednesday evening by scores of 25-15, 25-16, 20-25 and 25-20 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Cianciulli anchored the back row for LSU, registering a career-high 29 digs. On the offensive side, freshman Taylor Bannister tallied a match-high 15 kills. Junior Toni Rodriguez added 11 kills while sophomore setter Anna Zwiebel dished out 39 assists and 14 digs for her ninth double-double on the season and 16th in her career. Senior Gina Tillis added 16 digs and nine kills.
Fran’s Final Thoughts
“I really like the way we started the match. We had great intensity. We had great energy. We’ve been talking all week about having joyful enthusiasm and appreciating the little touches and celebrating the things that lead to points. I thought we did a great job of that through two sets and then we ran out of it a little bit. They changed the matchup and we got concerned rather than just responding. Super proud. This is a really important win for us and I’m excited for our kids.”
On changing the momentum going into the fourth set…
“Well we changed the match ups and that helped us a little bit. I thought we handled the serve and pass game better. We didn’t serve and pass very well in the third set. That’s what cost us the third set. We talked about that at a couple of timeouts and we balanced that out. I thought Raigen (Cianciulli) did a great job of handling the serve-receive. Gina was Gina tonight. She does everything for us.”
LSU came out strong in the first set, starting with a 5-1 lead which included back-to-back kills by Tillis. LSU took a 23-12 lead after a 5-0 run that was sparked by a block from Jacqui Armer. Toni Rodriguez ended the first set with a kill down the line, claiming the set 25-15.
It was another strong start for LSU as it jumped out to a 7-0 start, forcing Auburn to take an early timeout. Auburn took its second timeout of the set just five points later as LSU extended its lead to 11-1 after a 4-0 run of three kills and an ace. The LSU run was extended by three more points for a 14-1 lead. Auburn went off on 5-0 run to cut the LSU lead to 15-7 and cut its lead again to 24-16 but a missed serve gave LSU the set, 25-16.
Auburn wasn’t going down easy as it got out to a 12-9 lead. The two teams went point-for-point but Auburn led 15-13 going into the media timeout. Out of the timeout, Auburn went on a 5-1 run to push its lead to 20-14. LSU took a timeout and rallied to cut the Auburn lead to 20-17. Auburn went on a 5-3 run to claim the third set, 25-20.
LSU jumped out to a 5-1 lead and pushed ahead to a 14-8 lead, forcing Auburn to a timeout. A kill by Jacqui Armer and a block from Armer and Anna Zwiebel gave LSU a 19-13 lead. Back-to-back attacking errors by Auburn gave LSU a 23-17 lead. Auburn scored two straight points to cut the lead to 23-19 but two Bannister kills gave LSU the set, 25-20 and the match.
>> LSU finished with 18 team blocks, the most blocks in a match this season.
>> The win is the seventh win on the year in the Maravich Center and is the second-straight SEC victory.
>> LSU swept Auburn on the season, claiming both meetings for the first time since the 2011 season. LSU improves the all-time series record to 43-15.
>> On the match, the LSU outhit Auburn .241-.073. LSU finished with 82 digs and a total of 52 kills.
The Tigers are on the road this weekend, traveling to Alabama. The Tigers face the Crimson Tide Sunday at 3 p.m. CT. The match will air live on the SEC Network+.
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