Volleyball Sets Tone At First Practice
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Volleyball team set the tone for its season during its first official practice on Monday morning. The Tigers are set to open their season on Friday, August 27 at home against Michigan.
“It’s obvious this group put in a lot of work together over the summer,” said head coach Fran Flory. “They already have a pretty good flow. It will be to see how far we can get them and how fast we can get them to the top of their potential.”
LSU has the talent to compete at the top of the SEC, returning all of its key players from last season and adding two key transfers who could quickly become impact players.
“We have to create opportunities with the level of athletes we have on our side to score and win,” Flory said.
One of those transfers is Kylie Deberg who comes to LSU with one final season of eligibility after a record-setting career at Missouri where she was a three-time All-American and holds career program records in kills per set (4.31) and points per set (5.11). Last season she led the SEC and finished top-10 in the NCAA in kills, points, kills per set, points per set and aces per set.
The addition of Deberg alongside Taylor Bannister, who is back for one more season, means that LSU’s roster will feature two of the most potent offensive threats in the SEC. Bannister finished just behind Deberg in the SEC last season at No. 2 in kills, points, kills per set and points per set.
Sanaa Dotson is the other transfer who comes from Oklahoma. The junior outside hitter had double-digit kills in 12 of her final 13 matches last season. She added some defense in the final two matches of the season as well, compiling her first two career double-doubles with kills and digs. In the final match of the season, Dotson exploded for career-highs with 26 kills and 12 digs.
With the return of Hannah Brister and Paige Flickinger, the LSU offense figures to have plenty of depth to compete towards the top of the league. Despite playing only the spring portion of the schedule last season, Brister was able to finish No. 3 on the team in kills. Flickinger, who was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team last season, showed the ability to be great both offensively and defensively last season. She finished No. 2 on the team in kills, digs, service aces and points a year ago. Flickinger had seven double-doubles with kills and digs during her freshman season.
Karli Rose will be distributing the ball to all of LSU’s offensive weapons as the Tigers’ setter. Rose paced the offense last season and finished with 9.52 assists per set which was the seventh highest mark in the SEC. In five of the final seven matches last season, Rose picked up double-doubles in digs and assists.
Defensively, libero Raigen Cianciulli is entering her final season as LSU’s all-time leader in digs as the only player in program history to record over 1,700 career digs. Both Jill Bohnet and Emmaline Walters are quality defensive specialists as well.
At the middle-blocker position Anita Anwusi, Whitney Foreman, Allee Morris and Alia Williams all have the capability to be impactful players at the net.
The Tigers also added three freshmen, including outside hitter Ellie Echter, defensive specialist Ella Larkin and defensive specialist Madison Martin.