Volleyball Stuns No. 20 Tennessee in Three Sets

by Winston Roberts
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Volleyball Stuns No. 20 Tennessee in Three Sets

BATON ROUGE, La.  LSU Volleyball (9-12, 5-7 SEC) upset No. 20 Tennessee (16-4, 8-2 SEC) with a sweep (25-20, 25-20, 25-23) on Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 

The victory was LSU’s first sweep over a top 25 team since defeating No. 6 Florida in three sets on Oct. 11, 2009. It was the 40th win for LSU against the Lady Vols in the all-time series, and it is just the second time this season that Tennessee has been swept. 

It is the second time that the Tigers prevailed over a top 25 opponent this season (No. 20 Florida on Oct. 10). The last time LSU had two top 25 victories in a single season was 2010, when they defeated No. 22 and 21 Tennessee (Oct. 10 and Nov. 12, respectively). The last time they beat two separate ranked opponents was in 2006, with victories over No. 22 Minnesota (Sept. 2) and No. 13 Tennessee (Sept. 15). 

“That is a good team we beat today,” said head coach Fran Flory. “Today, we played well and tough. We sustained a high level for the first time in an entire match with a good team on the other side of the net. I’m proud of the team’s effort.” 

The Tigers came out of the gate swinging and never looked back, firing 49 kills on a .368 hitting percentage, the second highest of the season. The Tigers improve to 4-0 on the year when hitting above .300. Tennessee held to a .228 hitting percentage with just 39 kills. LSU’s serving propelled them to five aces to Tennessee’s two, and the Tigers doubled the Vols’ block count (8-4). 

LSU was led by right side Taylor Bannister, who had a match-high 15 kills, a .364 hitting percentage, five digs, and three aces. Outside hitter Kylie DeBerg had 12 kills with no errors, and her .480 hitting percentage is a season-high and the third time this year hitting over .400. 

Libero Raigen Cianciulli had a match-high 15 digs, and setter Ella Larkin also led the way with a double-double, posting 38 assists and 11 digs. 

The Tigers held all Tennessee attackers to under 10 kills for the first time this season that resulted in a Volunteer loss. Right side Morgahn Fingall and outside hitter Lily Felts each tallied nine kills, and Felts recorded 11 digs. 

Set 1 

  • Tennessee began with a 4-2 advantage before LSU used an 8-1 run to lead 10-5 and force the Lady Vols to burn its first timeout. 
  • The Tigers stayed on the top of their game, firing off a 5-1 run capped by two aces from outside hitter Paige Flickinger to lead 17-8. 
  • Tennessee went on an 8-2 run to cut it to 22-18 before a Larkin kill stopped the bleeding. LSU was able to close it out and win the first set, 25-20. 
  • The Tigers .441 hitting percentage in the set was the second highest of the season. Outside hitter Hannah Brister and DeBerg combined for seven kills on no errors. 

Set 2 

  • LSU continued its momentum in set two, jumping out to an 8-2 lead. Tennessee took four of the next five to trim their lead, but Bannister and Brister each recorded a kill as LSU led, 11-6. 
  • The Tigers grabbed a 19-9 lead for the second consecutive set, but an 11-3 Tennessee run cut the deficit to 22-20. 
  • Bannister closed out the set herself with three kills in-a-row as LSU once again won, 25-20. 

Set 3 

  • The Tigers scored the first six points to open the set and led 8-1. Tennessee was determined not to go down without a fight, clawing back to 14-12 before a 4-0 Tiger run capped with two consecutive Bannister aces made the score 18-12. 
  • After two kills from middle blocker Anita Anwusi, the Vols took three out of four points to cut their deficit to 21-17. 
  • Tennessee went on a 5-1 run to close the gap to 24-23, but the Tigers took the decisive point to win the third set, 25-23, and complete the sweep. 

UP NEXT 

The Tigers will travel to Auburn on Friday, Oct. 29, to play at 6 p.m. It will be broadcast on SEC Network+. 

Directly support LSU Volleyball by contributing to the Volleyball Excellence Fund today!  

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