Robinson Drops 20-Piece in Collegiate Debut, Volleyball Defeats UCLA, 3-2
BATON ROUGE, La. – Freshman outside hitter Jurnee Robinson led the charge with a match-high of 23 kills, as LSU (1-0) prevailed in a five-set battle at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center (PMAC) against UCLA (0-1) 25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 21-25, 15-10, on Friday night.
The win marks LSU’s first victory over the storied UCLA volleyball program. As a unit, the Tigers had a balanced offensive attack with a .314 hitting percentage behind 66 kills. They also held the Bruins to a .275 attacking percentage, thanks to 12 blocks. LSU won the advantage in digs 45-43, and both teams logged eight aces.
Robinson wowed the crowd all night as she finished with a .362 hitting percentage on her 23 kills. She also added six digs, three blocks and one ace. Right side Jade Demps turned in her first double-double as an LSU Tiger with 14 kills and 10 digs. Demps also added three blocks and one ace.
Middle blocker Anita Anwusi followed with 13 kills on 18 swings with one error for a match-high .667 hitting percentage, and she also led the team with six blocks, including two solo blocks. Outside hitter Sanaa Dotson rounded out the double-digit kills list with 12 and matched setter Maddie Waak with a team-high two aces. Waak recorded a career-high 51 assists in the win and secured her fourth career double-double with 11 digs. She also added two blocks (one solo) and two kills.
The Tigers opened the match with a 5-1 lead highlighted by two kills and a block from Robinson. The Bruins stormed back and tied the set at six, and the clubs traded points to nine before LSU scored three in a row to take a 12-9 edge to force a UCLA timeout. UCLA responded by scoring the following two points out of the timeout and later used a 3-0 run to tie the set at 17 to pressure LSU into a timeout. The Tigers returned to the floor and scored four of the next five points for a 21-18 advantage, and UCLA burned its final timeout. LSU kept the momentum, stretched its run to 6-0 for set point, and ultimately won the frame 25-20 on a Dotson kill. LSU hit .357 in the set, highlighted by five kills on six errorless swings from Robinson and four from Dotson.
LSU stayed hot and used a 4-0 run to build an 11-6 lead when UCLA called for time. The Bruins tried to chip into the deficit, but another 3-0 run made the count 17-10 Tigers, and the visiting club used their final timeout of the set. UCLA slowly took away some of the momentum, forcing LSU to take a timeout with the home team still ahead 21-16, but LSU scored four of the final six points to win the set 25-18 and grab a 2-0 lead. Anwusi and Demps each led the team with four kills, while Answusi dominated at the net with three blocks.
UCLA clicked on all cylinders to begin the set and forced LSU to use both timeouts, trailing 11-4. The Tigers scored three points out of the break, and the Bruins signaled for time to stop their progress. Although the home team pulled within one point at 21-20, the Bruins pulled out the set 25-20 to avoid the sweep.
The Bruins jumped out to another early lead at 6-3, and LSU used its first timeout of the set down 10-6. The Tigers scored the first point out of the timeout, but UCLA went on a 5-1 run to build its margin to 15-8, forcing LSU to call its final timeout. The Tigers battled back and went on a 10-5 run to come within one point at 19-18 when UCLA called its first timeout of the frame. After the visiting team scored two points out of the break, kills from Dotson and Robinson tied the set at 21 to force UCLA into taking its final timeout. A 4-0 run from the Bruins out of the timeout gave them the set victory 25-21 and tied the match, 2-2.
Both clubs traded points, but LSU was the first to eight as Demps’ kill made the score 8-7 for the teams to switch sides. Dotson aced the Bruins after the switch, and an incredible rally ended with Demps registering her 13th kill of the night for a 10-7 LSU lead. After UCLA’s timeout, LSU’s 4-0 run continued with a block, and the home team scored four of the final seven points to win the set 15-10 and take the match.
LSU and UCLA will play again at 5 p.m. CT Saturday at the PMAC.
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