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Volleyball Opens 2023 with Two Matches Versus UCLA

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Volleyball Opens 2023 with Two Matches Versus UCLA

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU volleyball team will open the 2023 campaign with the Tiger Classic, which features a pair of matches against UCLA Aug. 25-26 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 


Friday’s match will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT, with the first 250 students receiving free Whataburger. First serve Saturday will be at 5 p.m. CT, with the first 250 fans receiving an LSU Volleyball Prowl t-shirt. Lyn Rollins and Fran Flory will call both matches on SEC Network +. 


The anticipation is palpable for the Tigers taking the floor under second-year Head Coach Tonya Johnson after returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 and winning an NCAA Tournament match for the first time since 2014 last season. LSU is receiving 28 votes in the AVCA/TARAFLEX Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll and is returning 11 players from last season, including nine who logged playing time in 2022. The team also has nine newcomers this season, including three transfers.


Highlighting the returners for the Tigers are outside hitter Sanaa Dotson and middle blocker Anita Anwusi. Dotson paced the Tigers with 3.66 kills per set (436 total) and 25 aces, while Anwusi led the club with 1.14 blocks per set (136 total). Dotson was tabbed 2022 AVCA South All-Region, and Anwusi was named 2022 AVCA South Honorable Mention. Both players were selected to the 2023 Preseason All-SEC Team.   


LSU will add an experienced bunch of transfers, including right side Jade Demps (Wisconsin), defensive specialist/libero Erin Carmichael (Jacksonville State) and setter Emily Mitter (Campbell). Demps was a part of two Final Four runs and on the 2021 National Championship Team with Wisconsin. Demps has 317 career kills with a .282 hitting percentage and two years of eligibility remaining. Carmicheal is a two-time Ohio Valley Conference Champion at Jacksonville State with 1,472 career digs. Mitter has 1,907 career assists, averaging 4.89 per set, and 82 career aces in 107 matches.


UCLA is led by first-year head coach Alfee Reft and was selected fifth in the Pac-12 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. The Bruins will return 10 players from the 2022 roster and welcome seven newcomers, including three transfers.  


Notable returners for UCLA include middle blocker Anna Dodson and outside hitters Iman Ndiaye and Grayce Olson. Dodson is a two-time All-Pac-12 Team selection who led the club with a .330 hitting percentage behind 259 kills and 77 blocks last season. Ndiaye led the Bruins last season with 269 total kills and chipped in 70 blocks, and Olson was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team after registering 164 kills.   


Like LSU, UCLA brings in three transfers in middle blocker Desiree Becker (Northwestern) and outside hitters Joy Umeh (UC Davis) and Carly Hendrickson (Florida). Becker led Northwestern last season with 118 total blocks and added 177 kills, and Umeh is a two-time All-Big West selection who led UC Davis in kills as a sophomore and junior with 425 kills and 395 kills, respectively.


This weekend will be the eighth and ninth all-time meeting between LSU and UCLA, with the Bruins winning the previous seven matches. The last time the two clubs faced each other was in 2008, and this weekend will be the first time the teams have played in Baton Rouge since 1983. The Tigers have a 33-14 record in season-opening matches.


Season tickets for the 2023 LSU volleyball season are now available and can be purchased here.


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


For the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit Fans can follow the team on its social media outlets at and @lsuvolleyball on Instagram and X.

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