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Volleyball Begins Final Stretch with Matches Versus No. 8 Tennessee, at Auburn

Watch vs. No. 8 Tennessee Watch at Auburn Live Stats Match Notes +0
Volleyball Begins Final Stretch with Matches Versus No. 8 Tennessee, at Auburn

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU Tigers prep for four matches in eight days to conclude the 2023 regular season. 

LSU (11-13, 6-8 SEC) will begin its final stretch with two matches this week. First against No. 8 Tennessee (21-3, 12-2 SEC) at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center before heading to The Plains to face Auburn (18-8, 8-7 SEC) at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday, Nov. 19 at Neville Arena in Auburn, Ala. Both matches will be streamed on SEC Network+, with Lyn Rollins handling play-by-play duties. Garrett Walvoord and Paige Wetzel will be the analysts on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

With the NCAA Tournament on the horizon, every match matters for the Bayou Bengals. LSU, which currently has a No. 66 RPI ranking, can raise its ranking with wins against Tennessee, which is at No. 7 in the RPI rankings, and Auburn, who has an RPI ranking at No. 26. 

The Tigers split their matches last weekend with a three-set loss at No. 20 Florida and a five-set thrilling victory at South Carolina. LSU is ranked No. 7 in the SEC with a .240 hitting percentage behind 12.67 kills and 11.90 assists per set. The Tigers also average 1.46 aces, 1.97 blocks and 12.78 digs per set.

Outside hitter Jurnee Robinson leads the team and ranks No. 6 in the SEC with 3.86 kills and 4.48 points per set. Robinson has totaled four matches with 20 or more kills this season in addition to 56 blocks and 19 aces. Robinson has five double-doubles this season, with her most recent coming in the win over Alabama last weekend (14 kills, 11 digs), and has recorded three or more blocks in seven of the previous nine matches, including a season-high six blocks at South Carolina last weekend (Nov. 12).

Middle blocker Anita Anwusi ranks No. 2 in the league with a .370 hitting percentage behind 183 kills and leads the team with 75 blocks (0.84/set). Anwusi ranks No. 10 all-time with 421 career blocks and is coming off a season-high six blocks in addition to her career-high 16 kills at South Carolina last weekend. 

Right side Ellie Echter has dominated in the latter half of the season. In the last five matches, Echter has a team-high .373 hitting percentage and is second on the team with 54 kills (2.70/set). Echter has logged a career-high 13 kills in three of the last four matches and turned in a .400 hitting percentage in three of the last five outings. Overall, Echter has 72 kills and 18 blocks in 37 sets played this season.

Setter Maddie Waak ranks No. 10 in the SEC with 8.22 assists per set and has 2.18 digs per set, 22 aces and 14 blocks this season. Libero Erin Carmichael paces LSU with 28 aces and 2.22 digs per set. Carmichael currently ranks No. 33 among NCAA Division I active career leaders with 1,652 career digs.

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Versus No. 8 Tennessee

No. 8 Tennessee is riding a five-match winning streak as they stay in the hunt of capturing an SEC Championship title. The Lady Vols are the league leaders with a .299 hitting percentage (No. 7 in the NCAA), 14.65 kills (No. 2 in the NCAA) and 13.45 assists per set (No. 4 in the NCAA). Tennessee ranks No. 4 in the SEC with 1.64 aces per set, and its 2.25 blocks and 14.64 digs per set lead to a .185 opponent hitting percentage – the third lowest in the league. 

Right side Morgahn Fingall leads the team with 4.16 kills and 4.81 points per set, ranking No. 3 and No. 4 in the SEC, respectively, and also adds 24 aces. Outside hitter Jenaisya Moore follows with 3.57 kills per set (No. 7 in the SEC) and 3.89 points per set (No. 9 in the SEC). Setter Caroline Kerr ranks No. 4 in the nation with 11.51 assists per set and leads the team with 26 aces, and middle blocker Keondreya Granberry averages 1.11 blocks per set, which ranks No. 9 in the SEC, and she has a .336 hitting percentage that sits at No. 10 in the conference. Libero Yelianiz Torres averages 4.10 digs per set, ranks No. 3 in the league, and has 21 aces. 

Although LSU leads Tennessee 40-31 in the all-time series, the Tigers have dropped the last three head-to-head meetings, including a 3-0 loss earlier this season in Knoxville, Tenn.

at Auburn

Auburn is on a three-match losing streak, including Wednesday night’s five-set loss at Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. AU has held its opposition to a .201 hitting percentage, thanks to averaging 2.42 blocks per set. Both marks rank No. 4 in the SEC. Offensively, Auburn is .242 with 12.33 kills, 11.14 assists and 1.42 aces per set. 

Auburn is led offensively by outside hitters Madison Scheer’s 3.32 kills and Akasha Anderson’s 3.31 kills per set. Setter Jackie Barrett ranks No. 9 in the SEC with 9.29 assists per set and has 26 aces this season. Middle Blocker Kendal Kemp ranks No. 4 in the conference with 1.27 blocks per set (114 total), and libero Sarah Morton leads AU with 3.21 digs per set. 

LSU has a 48-15 advantage over Auburn in the all-time series and is on a seven-match winning streak, including a five-set victory last year at the PMAC. 

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