Gritty Performance Lifts Volleyball Over South Carolina in Five
Anita Anwusi, Jurnee Robinson and Ellie Echter led LSU with 16, 14 and 13 kills, respectively in the five-set win over South Carolina.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – With its back against the wall and season on the line, LSU fought together and overcame South Carolina 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 21-25, 25-19, 15-11) Sunday afternoon at the Carolina Volleyball.
LSU improves to 11-13 with a 6-8 mark in league matches, and South Carolina falls to 10-14 and 4-11 in the SEC. With the win, LSU increases its winning streak against South Carolina to six consecutive matches and is 7-1 in the last eight matches.
The Tigers registered a season-high .359 hitting percentage behind 65 kills and set a season-high of 16 blocks, marking the sixth time LSU has reached double-figure blocks this season. LSU also had seven aces, 63 assists and 48 digs in the win.
Middle blocks Anita Anwusi matched a career-high 16 kills and had a season-best .682 hitting percentage to go along with six blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Jurnee Robinson registered a career-high six blocks in addition to her 14 kills, eight digs and one ace. Right side Ellie Echter landed 13 kills and stuffed the opposition six times, and right side Jade Demps rounded out the top hitters with 12 kills and a career-high .500 hitting percentage.
Setter Maddie Waak handed out 32 assists, while Emily Mitter turned in 24 assists with six digs and an ace. Libero Erin Carmichael totaled 14 digs and two aces, leading the team in both categories.
A 3-0 run for LSU tied the set at 13, but South Carolina went into the media timeout with a 15-13 lead. The Tigers scored on five of the next seven rallies to grab an 18-17 lead and overall had an 8-3 run to go ahead 21-18, burning through both Gamecocks’ timeouts. South Carolina fought back, but the Tigers took the set 25-22. Robinson led the team with four kills and two blocks, and Anwusi followed with three kills.
LSU found themselves down 15-9 at the media timeout thanks to a 6-2 run by South Carolina. The Tigers chipped away at the deficit and pulled within one point at 19-18 but were pressured into a timeout after two quick points by the Gamecocks to push the lead to 21-18. LSU scored on four of the next five points to tie the set at 22, but South Carolina edged the Tigers with a 26-24 win to tie the match. Ecther went off for seven kills on 13 errorless swings for a .538 hitting percentage in the stanza.
The Bayou Bengals jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but four unanswered points gave the Gamecocks their first lead of the set at 5-3. From there, the clubs tied 11 times to 15-15 before South Carolina strung a few points together and went ahead 20-17, which encouraged an LSU timeout. The home team scored two more points out of the break to cap a 4-0 run and build a 22-17 margin. LSU pulled within three points at 23-20 when South Carolina called a timeout, and the Gamecocks responded as they closed the set, scoring two out of three for the 25-21 victory and 2-1 match lead.
The Tigers pounced on the Gamecocks early in set four, leading 6-2 when SC burned its first timeout. South Carolina battled back and pieced together a 5-1 run highlighted by four unanswered points to tie the set at 13 and ultimately held a 15-14 lead. Down 16-15, LSU rattled off three consecutive points to take back the lead at 18-16 and was ahead 21-18 when South Carolina signaled to use its final timeout. LSU kept the pressure on, scoring four of the final five points, including the last three. Robinson and Demps tallied four kills in the frame to lead the Tigers.
LSU led halfway through the fifth set 8-6 behind a 3-0 run when the clubs switched sides. South Carolina quickly tied the score after a slight intermission but had to call timeout, trailing LSU 11-9. After a kill from the Gamecocks, the Tigers closed the match on a 4-1 run that featured two blocks and two kills. Anwusi, Echter, and Robinson had three kills in the set with no errors, as the team hit .600 as a unit. Echter also erupted defensively with four blocks in the set, including two solo blocks.
LSU will host No. 11 Tennessee at 7 p.m. C.T. on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.
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