Tigers Fall to Rice in Five Sets
BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2022 Tiger Classic concluded with the LSU Volleyball team coming up short in an exciting five-set match against Rice Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC).
LSU (1-2) won the opening set 25-13 before Rice (3-0) took the second and third sets 25-18 and 25-16, respectively. The Tigers rallied back with a 25-21 fourth set win to force the season’s first five setter but dropped the deciding set 15-12 that featured nine ties and a couple of lead changes.
“Obviously it’s tough to lose in five sets when you put yourself in that situation to win the match, but I thought our kids showed an incredible amount of grit today,” said head coach Tonya Johnson. “We will bounce back from this and will continue to learn and grow from it.”
Both clubs hit .171 on the day with LSU winning the battle in total kills 60-54, and both served well with Rice logging seven aces to LSU’s six. The Tigers also edged the Owls 81-77 in digs, but Rice won the battle at the net as they registered 14 blocks to LSU’s nine.
Outside hitter Sanaa Dotson matched an LSU career-high 21 kills with a .319 hitting percentage and turned in a career-high three aces. She was one dig shy of a double-double and finished with one block. Right side Hannah Jacobs totaled 13 kills and had a team-best seven blocks, while outside hitter Samarah Hill turned in 12 kills, nine digs and one ace. Setter Josie Vondran had 38 assists in the match and freshman setter Maddie Waak chipped in 13 helpers. Defensively, libero Ella Larkin led all players with 34 digs, and middle blocker Anita Anwusi had five blocks to go along with six kills.
“We had a great start to the season beating Samford but was also disappointing losing to Houston in such an electric atmosphere,” said Coach Johnson. “We had our chances in that match [Houston] but we did not take advantage of the opportunities. You don’t want to start a season 1-2, but we saw some great things today from our team who are still gelling together. We have a ton of work to do, but we will continue to work and get mentally tougher because we have the skills, and we have the talent.”
- Rice burned through both of its timeouts early as LSU sprinted to a 13-5 lead.
- The Tigers continued to roll in the opening set and won 25-13 behind a .375 hitting percentage. The LSU defense held Rice to a .071 attacking percentage and registered four blocks.
- Dotson and Hill led the Tigers with four kills each while Anwusi logged four blocks in the frame.
- Rice jumped out to a 4-1 lead and led 7-4 when LSU decided to use its first timeout of the match.
- The Tigers cut Rice’s lead down to two at 11-9, but the Owls scored six of the next nine points to make the score 17-12, forcing LSU to take its final timeout of the set.
- LSU stayed resilient and pieced together a 4-1 run, making the score 20-17, but Rice closed the set with a 5-1 run and won 25-18 to even the match.
- The visiting club jumped out and maintained a four-point advantage to lead LSU 12-8 before the Tigers called for time. The Owls continued to build their lead and increased their margin to 16-10 when LSU used its last timeout of the set.
- Rice’s lead grew to as many as 10 points and ultimately won the set, 25-16.
- LSU started the set hot with a 6-3 advantage courtesy of a 3-0 run. The Tigers held a 15-11 lead at the media timeout.
- Late in the set, Rice used a 4-1 run to tie the set at 20 which forced LSU into a timeout. Out of the break Rice registered a kill to take its first lead of the set but kills from Dotson and Jacobs put LSU back on top 22-21 and Rice called its first timeout.
- Out of the timeout, Rice committed an attacking error and Dotson snuck in her third ace of the match to give the home team set point at 24-21. Rice called their final timeout, but another attacking error by the visiting team gave LSU a 25-21 victory to force a fifth set.
- LSU was down early but battled its way back to an 8-7 lead before switching sides.
- The Tigers’ lead increased to 9-7 thanks to four unanswered points, but Rice ripped off a 3-0 run to regain the lead, 10-9.
- Dotson found the floor again on a kill to tie the match at 10. After both teams exchanged a pair of points, Rice pulled away with back-to-back kills from and a block that sealed a 15-12 set victory for Rice.
LSU will host the Tiger Challenge Sept. 2-3 where they will host Troy, Iowa State and No. 20 Penn State.
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