Volleyball Drops SEC Opener at No. 22 Kentucky, 3-1
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The LSU volleyball team rallied to take the first set over No. 22 Kentucky but ultimately dropped the SEC opener 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 18-25, 13-25) Friday night at Rupp Arena.
LSU (5-6) reached double figures in blocks for the second time this season as they finished with 11 blocks, but Kentucky (3-6) out-hit the Tigers .3365-.135 and had four aces on the night.
Outside hitter Jurnee Robinson led the Tigers with 13 kills and finished with five blocks. Middle blocker Anita Anwusi followed with eight kills and four blocks. Setter Maddie Waak totaled 31 assists, four digs, three kills and one block, and defensive specialist Ella Hemmings recorded both of LSU’s aces. Libero Bri Anderson led the defense with 16 digs, and middle blocker Angie Lee led at the net with six blocks.
LSU drew first blood with a kill from Robinson, but a UK 7-0 run put the home team ahead, 8-2. The Tigers responded by tying the set at 14 behind a 12-6 run highlighted by five unanswered points, but Kentucky took a 15-14 lead into the media timeout. LSU scored the first two points out of the timeout to take a 16-15 lead, and after six ties, the Tigers scored consecutive points to go ahead 23-21 and force a Wildcat timeout. Kentucky tied the set at 23, but an error by the home team, followed by a kill from Robinson, gave LSU the first set, 25-23. Robinson had six kills in the set, matching Lee with four blocks in the frame. LSU registered seven blocks in the opening set.
Four unanswered points helped build a 5-2 advantage for LSU. Although Kentucky battled back and led 12-11, the Tigers scored on four of the subsequent five rallies to regain the lead 15-13 at the media timeout. Kentucky went on its own 4-0 run out of the break and led 17-15 when LSU called its first timeout of the match. The Wildcats kept their foot on the gas and pressured the Tigers to use their final timeout down 22-18, and although LSU would fight off two set points, Kentucky evened the match with a 25-22 set win.
Kentucky held a six-point lead at 9-3 and blew through both LSU’s timeouts after increasing its margin 17-9. The Wildcats continued its run on the other side of the timeout and led 21-11 before calling a timeout, with the Tigers scoring four consecutive points to cut into the lead, 21-15. LSU trimmed Kentucky’s lead to five points at 22-17, but the Wildcats held off the Tigers and won the third set, 25-18.
The Wildcats scored the first four points of the set and led 15-7 at the media break. LSU fell behind 18-7 and called its first timeout, but an overall 9-0 run stretched Kentucky’s lead to 21-7 as they ran away with the set, 25-13.
LSU has a week off before playing three consecutive home matches at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, beginning with a 7:30 p.m. CT match against Missouri on Friday, Sept. 29.
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