Bannister and Cianciulli Named AVCA South All-Region

by Grant Kauvar | Communications Graduate Assistant
Bannister and Cianciulli Named AVCA South All-Region

BATON ROUGE – LSU Volleyball’s Taylor Bannister was named AVCA All-Region and Raigen Cianciulli was named AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention the association announced Tuesday morning.

Bannister, a right-side, and Cianciulli, a libero, were both seniors last season, but will be back in the fall as they were granted an extra year of eligibility.

This is the fourth straight season that Bannister has earned South All-Region honors by the AVCA. She earned a spot on the All-SEC team last week too.

Throughout the season Bannister was dominant. She finished the year with 385 kills in 88 sets to average 4.38 kills per set, the second highest mark in the SEC. Her 5.11 points per set were also the second most in the league. 

Bannister played some of her best volleyball towards the latter part of the season, earning back-to-back SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors following LSU’s matches against South Carolina (3/13-3/14) and Georgia (3/19-3/20). 

Against the Gamecocks, Bannister recorded what was at the time a season-high .345 hitting percentage with 25 kills on 55 attempts with just six errors. The following day she had 15 kills to bring her weekend total to 40.

Not only was she named Offensive Player of the Week for her performance against Georgia the next week, but she was also named SEC Player of the Week, which featured potentially the best match of her historic career.

On March 19, Bannister recorded 30 kills, the second most in a match throughout her career, and hit .481. The following day, Bannister moved to No. 2 on LSU’s all-time kills list and with the right-side set to return next year with her additional year of eligibility, she is positioned well to move into the top spot on that list. Bannister sits at 1,640 career kills and sits only behind Nyla Shepherd who had 1,735 kills in her career.

This is the second time in Cianciulli’s record-setting career that she has earned AVCA South All-Region Honorable Mention honors, earning the award following the 2017 season as well.

Cianciulli tallied 276 digs throughout the course of the 2020-21 season on her way to setting the LSU record for digs in a career. She entered the season in the No. 3 spot on the list, needing just 108 digs to set the record.

On February 19 on the second night in a row hosting Arkansas, Cianciulli set the record and became the first player in program history to surpass 1,600 career digs, finishing the night with 19 digs, tied for her season high at that point. In the two-match set against the Razorbacks, Cianciulli finished with 36 digs and averaged 4.50 digs per set. She was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for her performance and the record.

The following weekend in two matches against Ole Miss, Cianciulli had 38 total digs for 4.88 digs per set. She set a new season-high in the second match vs. the Rebels, tallying 26 digs.

Two weeks later when LSU hosted Georgia, Cianciulli played some of her best defense of the season, propelling the Tigers to two wins and once again earning SEC Player of the Week. In the first match vs. the Bulldogs, Cianciulli was all over the court, compiling 20 digs in the five-set win. She also had 10 assists in the match, completing just her second career double-double. Coming back the next day, Cianciulli raised her level of performance on defense in a four-set victory with her ultimate season-high of 27 digs. Throughout the two matches she averaged 5.22 digs per set.

Throughout the season the libero from Spring, Texas was one of the top defenders in the SEC with 3.68 digs per set, the third best mark in the league.