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Volleyball Battles in Five-Set Loss at Mississippi State

Volleyball Battles in Five-Set Loss at Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The LSU volleyball team (5-8, 1-3 SEC) battled but came up short against Mississippi State (12-4, 3-1 SEC) Saturday at the Newell-Grissom Building.

Both teams went back-and-forth trading sets, beginning with the Tigers winning the first frame 25-18 and the third set 25-19. The Bulldogs took set two 25-22 and forced a fifth set with a 25-21 victory in the fourth stanza. The final set featured four ties and three lead changes as the Bulldogs outlasted the Tigers 15-12.

LSU held the advantage in most categories statistically, including hitting percentage (.242-.167), kills (67-57) and blocks (18-9). Unfortunately, the Tigers also had more errors which proved to be the difference in the match.

“I thought we really battled today,” said head coach Fran Flory. “Mississippi State played very clean volleyball and although we scored more points than them, but we had more errors than they did. They forced us to win the match and they came through in key times. You must credit them. They are a team playing with a ton of confidence and we are a team tying to grow confidence right now.”

Outside hitter Kylie Deberg had a day as she turned in a double-double with 19 kills and 12 digs, while also adding four blocks and an ace to her stat line. Middle blocker Whitney Foreman matched her season-high 13 kills and led the team with nine blocks that included one solo block. Middle blocker Anita Anwusi also had nine blocks in the match. Right side Taylor Bannister rounded out the top hitters for LSU with 12 kills and contributed four blocks.

Setter Ellla Larkin finished with a double-double as well with 52 assists and 16 digs and proceeded to fill the stat sheet with six kills, three blocks, and a team-high two aces.

Libero Raigen Cianciulli registered a season-high 34 digs and eclipsed 2,000 career digs. Cianciulli has logged 20 or more digs in five consecutive matches and was one dig shy of matching her career high.

“We did a really good job to have three players with double-digit kills and for Raigen [Cianciulli] to have 34 digs – which is incredibly – and I thought Ella [Larkin] did a great job coming in and setting. For us to be this efficient with her coming back in to set is a good sign for our future, but we have to clean up the chaos.”

Middle blocker Gabby Waden led the Bulldogs again with 15 kills but was the only player with double-digit kills on her team. Middle blocker Rebecca Walk, and outside hitter Lauren Myrick followed with nine kills each. Myrick also had a match-high three aces.

“I thought the atmosphere affected us too much,” Flory said. “This was a great grow-up match. I felt like we could have gotten this one but unfortunately, we could not finish it off after we reached 10 points in the fifth.”

Set 1

  • The Tigers scored the first two points of the set and led by as many as four points before going into the media timeout with a 15-13 lead.
  • LSU went on to score five of the next eight points, forcing Mississippi State to burn through both timeouts with the score at 20-16, Tigers.
  • The Tigers closed the set on a 5-2 run to win the frame 25-18.
  • LSU led the entire set and hit .355 behind 15 kills on 31 attacks and four errors. Deberg led the team with five kills on 11 errorless swings (.455).

Set 2

  • Mississippi State jumped out to an early lead and held the advantage at the media timeout 15-11.
  • The Bulldogs continued to hold the momentum as the Tigers used their first timeout trailing 17-12, but the visiting team responded with a 9-4 run to tie the set at 21.
  • After a MSU timeout, the home team scored four of the next five points to tie the match, with a 25-22 win.
  • The tightly contested second set featured 11 ties.

Set 3

  • The Tigers used a 5-1 run to build a 7-3 lead, but the Bulldogs barked back and took an 10-9 lead. MSU led at the break, 15-14.
  • LSU continued to fight and used a 3-0 run to take a late 20-18 lead, forcing MSU to call for time. The Tigers’ run continued as they scored five of the final six points for the 25-19 victory.
  • As a team, LSU dominated with a .462 hitting percentage and held MSU to a .097 hitting percentage thanks to six total team blocks. Foreman and Anwusi each had three in the set.

Set 4

  • Mississippi State jumped out to a 6-3 lead highlighted by four consecutive points and held an 11-6 advantage when LSU used its first timeout of the frame.
  • The Bulldogs continued to expand their lead and the Tigers burned their final timeout of the set down 16-8.
  • The Tigers pieced together a 4-0 run to help trim the deficit, 17-14 and later pulled within one point, 20-19.
  • Following the final timeout for the Bulldogs to stop the run, the home team scored the next three points and ultimately forced a fifth set with a 25-20 victory.

Set 5

  • Both teams traded points early to a 3-3 tie, but the Tigers created separation with a 4-1 run and led 8-5 at the halfway point.
  • The Bulldogs scored three of the next four points out of the break to trim the lead 9-8, but a kill from Deberg forced a Bulldog timeout with the score reading 10-8, Tigers.
  • Mississippi State ripped off four consecutive points out of the timeout, burning through both LSU timeouts and took a 12-10 lead to shift the momentum back to the home team.
  • MSU finished the set by scoring three of the final five points with those three points coming from LSU errors.

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