Volleyball Battles in Four Set Loss at No. 9 Florida
Gainesville, Fla. – The LSU Volleyball team battled hard in a four-set loss to No. 9 Florida Thursday night in the Exactech Arena.
Florida took the first set, 25-17, but LSU responded in a tightly contested second set to even the match, 25-22. The third set was also close, but Florida pulled away towards the end and won, 25-20. Florida led the fourth set all the way through , 25-19, to clinch the match.
“I’m super proud of our team,” said head coach Fran Flory. “We played and gave everything we possibly could to this match – physically, mentally and emotionally.”
The Tigers will be back at the PMAC for the first time this spring next Thursday and Friday for two matches hosting Arkansas who is 8-4 on the season and has two matches at home against Alabama later this week.
Florida was able to kill balls all night long at a high clip with a hitting percentage of .300 to LSU’s .169.
“We need to figure out how to kill more balls,” said Flory. “Our ball control kind of failed us and our outsides had to carry too much of the load, and we have to be a more diverse offense and spread the sets and choices out.”
The duo of T’ara Ceasar Thayer Hall led Florida offensively and finished with 20 and 19 kills, respectively. Ceasar added 15 digs for a double-double. Holly Carlton had 55 assists and three service aces.
Taylor Bannister led LSU with 15 kills and added nine digs too. Whitney Foreman paced the match with six total blocks. Paige Flickinger and Raigen Cianciulli each had 12 digs for LSU.
“The bottom line is,” Flory explained, “Florida’s physicality and size beat us today. That was the defining factor.”
How it Happened
- Florida got off to an early 4-1 lead, but a double hit was called against Holly Carlton to give LSU’s its second point in a row.
- The teams went back and forth, trading points before Florida went on a 4-0 run to bring the first set to 12-7.
- The Tigers responded with a kill by Anita Anwusi before the teams traded more points prior to the media timeout where Florida led, 15-9.
- Florida score back-to-back points later forcing LSU to take its first timeout of the set trailing, 18-11. The Tigers immediately put together a 4-0 scoring run as Florida took its first timeout.
- The Tigers were unable to keep that momentum going though as they hung around, but were unable to put together any more runs and fell in the opening set, 25-17.
- After Florida gained the first point of the set, LSU went on a 4-0 run which included two double blocks by Taylor Bannister and Whitney Foreman and an ace by Karli Rose.
- Florida chipped away at the three point LSU lead though and eventually went on a 6-0 run to take an 11-7 lead as LSU took a timeout.
- LSU responded out of the timeout with a 5-0 run to take the lead and the Gators took a timeout of their own.
- Bannister annihilated a ball to give the Tigers a two-point, 15-13 lead, as the teams continued to go back and forth in a tightly contested set.
- LSU was maintaining a two-point lead, but after leading 21-19, the Gators rattled off back-to-back points to tie up the set up at 21.
- LSU maintained a two-point lead as the teams battled closely and after a Florida hitting-error, the Gators called timeout down 23-21.
- Playing gritty volleyball, the Tigers would bend, but not break as they held on to win the second set, 25-22.
- An early 3-0 run from LSU gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead in the third set, but Florida responded and tied the match up at 5.
- Bannister, who leads the SEC in aces per set, gave LSU an 8-6 lead with an ace, but once again Florida came back with two straight points to even the set.
- After LSU took another two-point lead, Florida went on a 5-0 run to take a lead, 13-10.
- Whitney Foreman and Rose combined for a double block to tie the match up and an attacking-error from Florida gave LSU a 14-13 lead as the Gators called timeout.
- Down two, Florida went on a 3-0 run to retake the lead, 18-17, and the Tigers called timeout.
- Florida continued out of the timeout with three more points to make it 21-17.
- LSU fought down to the wire, but the Gators prevailed, 25-20.
- Florida opened the fourth set on a 5-0 run and LSU was able to get on the board after a kill from Foreman.
- Florida went on a 3-0 run as LSU called timeout trailing, 10-4.
- The Tigers battled before going on a 3-0 run to shorten the deficit to 11-9 with Florida leading. The Gators called timeout.
- LSU kept it close and continued to battle, but Florida would extend the lead eventually to 18-14 as LSU called a timeout.
- LSU was not able to overcame the deficit though and Florida closed it out, 25-19.