LSU Volleyball Takes on No. 20 Tennessee
BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU Volleyball team (8-11, 4-6 SEC) looks to capitalize on its momentum in its two-match series versus No. 20 Tennessee (15-3, 7-1 SEC) in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The first match of the weekend will be at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23 on SEC Network+ and the final match will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24 on ESPNU.
The first 300 fans in attendance at Saturday’s match will receive a free fanny pack. Sunday, kids will get free candy prior to the start of the match, and we will honor the Tigers’ senior volleyball class post-match.
The Tigers pulled off an incredible reverse sweep at South Carolina, led by double-doubles from outside hitters Kylie DeBerg and Hannah Brister. LSU is hitting .230 this season with 12.87 kills per set. Defensively, the Tigers rank No. 12 in the NCAA and No. 3 in the SEC with 2.73 blocks per set.
“We are in a good spot and our confidence is growing as we are maturing as a team,” said head coach Fran Flory. “We are finally getting to the point where we have recovered from the challenges we had in the preseason in terms of our personnel and people are playing at the level we expected them to play at all year.”
DeBerg leads the Tigers this season with 4.13 kills per set and 22 aces after turning in a season-high four aces earlier this week. Right Side Taylor Bannister averages 2.58 kills per set and outside hitters Brister and Sanaa Dotson average 2.50 and 2.47 kills per set, respectively.
Libero Raigen Cianciulli ranks No. 2 in the SEC with 4.81 digs per set and is 16 digs away from becoming the SEC’s all-time career digs leader. Cianciulli currently ranks No. 3 all-time in the SEC with 2,123 career digs behind Florida’s Elyse Cusack (2,138; 2005-09) and Arkansas’ Ashley Miller (2,126; 2004-07).
LSU leads Tennessee 39-27 in the all-time series but has dropped two consecutive matches and lost three of the last five matches. The last time the Tigers defeated the Lady Vols at the PMAC was Oct. 7, 2015 (3-1).
“Tennessee is one of the best if not the best team in the league,” said Flory. “They are playing at a high level, and we will have to play well and sustain that play if we are going to have a chance. That’s what should happen though when you are playing a good team and a team that will be in the NCAA Tournament with a chance to make a good run.”
Tennessee enters the weekend on a three-match winning streak and has won seven of its last eight matches. The Volunteers lead the SEC with 14.52 kills per set, 13.14 assists per set and 3.10 blocks per set. They also rank No. 2 in the conference with a .276 hitting percentage.
Outside hitter Breana Runnels leads the Lady Vols with 3.47 kills per set (No. 10 in the SEC), followed by right side Morgahn Fingall who has 3.38 kills per set (203 total kills) and leads the team with 14 aces. Other top performers for UT consist of setter Natalie Hayward who has 10.87 assists per sets (No. 4 in the SEC), middle blockers Danielle Mahaffey who contributes 1.44 blocks per set (No. 2 in the SEC) and Ava Bell who adds 1.26 blocks per set (No. 7 in the SEC) and leads the conference with a .492 hitting percentage.
“This match is a great opportunity for us that we hope to seize and create something great for the end of our year,” Flory said.
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