Volleyball Falls in Close Match with No. 11 Florida
BATON ROUGE – The LSU volleyball team played a close match with No. 11 Florida, but fell in three sets by scores of 23-25, 21-25, 19-25. The Tigers are now 5-9 on the year and 0-3 in the SEC. Florida improves to 12-3 on the season and 3-0 in SEC action.
Junior Milan Stokes led the Tigers for the first time this season with a match-high 12 kills and a .346 hitting percentage. Sophomore Raigen Cianciulli anchored the back row, picking up 20 a match-high 20 digs.
- The Tigers continue their two-game home stand on Sunday, facing Texas A&M at 1 p.m. in the PMAC. The match will stream live on SEC Network+ and live stats are available at LSUStats.com.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- LSU started off the match with a kill and an ace from Bannister, taking a 2-0 lead on Florida.
- Florida scored the next four points, but a six-point run from the Tigers gave them an 8-4 lead. The Tigers continued to dominate as they pushed to a 11-6 lead after a kill by Whitney Foreman and attacking error by Florida.
- The Gators worked their way back and tied up the set at 14-14. The two teams went point-for-point, until the Gators finished the close set on a 3-1 run, claiming set one, 25-23.
- LSU took a 10-8 lead after three straight points in the second set, including a kill from Jacqui Armer, Taylor Bannister and Sydney Mukes. Florida worked its way back and took a 14-12 lead.
- LSU tied the set at 19-19 after a kill by Toni Rodriguez, forcing Florida to a timeout. Florida scored back-to-back points out of the timeout to go up 21-19 on the Tigers.
- Milan Stokes brought the Tigers within two, 22-20, on a kill on the outside. Florida would go on a 3-1 run to claim the second set, 25-21.
- The Tigers hit .323 in the second set, getting 16 kills on 31 attacks.
- In the third set, the Tigers scored the first two points on Florida attacking errors. Florida would go on to score the next three points, taking a 3-2 lead.
- The Tigers scored back-to-back points off an attack error and a kill by Stokes to tie the set up 9-9. Florida went on a 6-1 run to take a 15-10 lead.
- LSU gained momentum with a 4-0 run on three straight kills from Bannister, Zwiebel and Jacqui Armer and an attack error by the Gators.
- Bannister found the floor for three-straight points, tying the set up at 18-18. The two teams went point-for-point, but Florida went on a 6-0 run to finish out the set 25-19, claiming the match in three sets.
- Bannister finished the third set with five kills to lead the Tigers, hitting at a .300 clip.
- Stokes finished with a season-high 12 kills, leading the team in kills for the first time this season.
- Bannister’s 11 kills makes it her 13th match in double-digits.
- This is Cianciulli’s second 20-plus dig match of the season.
- Zwiebel’s 32 assists is her second 30-plus match of the season.
- Muke’s finished with season-high 9 kills.
FRAN’S FINAL THOUGHTS
“I’m super proud of the effort tonight. I thought our kids came to play. We were calm. We were collected. We were driven. The mentality and kind of disposition of the team was something we’ve been searching for. We’ve been playing frantically and unsure and tonight we played sure and in control. We had a great opportunity against a really good team and just couldn’t quite defend well enough to stop them enough times to win the match.”
On what the team needs to do to break through…
“I think our offense got fixed. I think Anna (Zwiebel) came in and did a great job and ran the show. She created for everyone. I thought Sydney (Mukes) and Milan (Stokes) did a great job on the pins. We didn’t have Taylor (Bannister) in the way we usually have Taylor tonight. Our defense is what cost us. We have got to become gritty. Defense is about heart and desire and just relentlessness. We fought hard, but just not quite hard enough and that’s the edge that we need to find.”
On the atmosphere in the PMAC tonight…
“This was a great crowd. We appreciate the people coming out. I know our record isn’t what everybody expected. But this team is good. This team is going to take off. We’re going to have some great, exciting matches on our home court. Sunday’s a really important match (vs. Texas A&M) and I’m hopeful that we’ll fill this place and get a ton of people after a great football win.”
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