AUSTIN, Texas - Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones ripped 12 kills apiece to catapult the LSU volleyball team to its first victory of the 2012 season and a 3-0 sweep [25-19, 25-21, 25-15] over Cal Poly Saturday at Gregory Gym during the final day of the 26 West Longhorns Classic on the University of Texas campus.
LSU (1-2) also received a double-double from Cati Leak. She posted career-highs with 11 kills to go along with 15 digs. Malorie Pardo passed out 35 assists coupled with six digs and three blocks. The Tigers connected for a .239 hitting percentage compared to a .124 clip for Cal Poly (0-3).
"I thought our change in the lineup to what our kids were a little more comfortable with from a systematic standpoint was a huge part of our success," head coach Fran Flory said. "The stats don't show it, but Marissa Maas did a nice job of stabilizing a couple of spots for us."
Defensively, LSU won both the blocking and digging battles. The Tigers garnered an 8-4 blocking edge and a 50-39 digging advantage. Meghan Mannari secured 13 digs, while Khourti Fears chipped in four kills and three blocks. Jaclynn Gerig tacked on one kills, one assist and one dig in her LSU debut.
The Mustangs were led by Molly Pon's eight kills, Kate Walters' 22 assists and Nicole Kessler's 11 digs.
"We've worked very hard on our blocking," Flory said. "I'm proud of our effort, but I'm not satisfied. I thought we could have been better and left some blocks on the court. There were scenarios where if we would have taken one more step or been more discipline, we could have been out of this match earlier. We have to learn how to play together behind our new blocking scheme, but this weekend was a step in the right direction."
LSU erased an early 5-3 deficit and turned the tables on Cal Poly during the first set. Up 13-12, the Tigers used an 8-2 spurt behind a pair of kills from Elliott and Jones. LSU also collected a 75 percent sideout efficiency in the opening stanza and Leak hammered the clinching spike for the 25-19 win.
"Cati weathered the storm extremely well," Flory said. "Everybody served at her, and I thought she passed fairly well being a freshman in her first weekend. For her to have 11 kills and hit .233 today is a really nice match for her. If we can get those types of numbers on a consistent basis, she's going to be solid player for us."
Set two was showcased by eight ties, the latest coming at 21-21. LSU rode Jones to pair of kills sandwiched between a Cal Poly attack error. Fears provided the finishing touches on the 25-21 triumph to give the Tigers a two-set edge.
LSU controlled the third set from start-to-finish. Ahead 6-5, the Tigers ran off 11 of the next 12 points and won going away 25-15 to wrap up the sweep. Elliott smacked four kills, while Jones added two kills and a block to spark the run.
"Madie and Desiree are going to have to lead the way for us especially in early going," Flory said. "They've carried the load for us in the past and been successful in the past for us in those roles. We've been trying to move Madie around and create more offensive opportunities for her in different spots. You can't find out if you're ready for those types of things until you try them in a match situation."
LSU continues its challenging non-conference slate and plays host to the Tiger Classic as No. 9 Purdue, No. 14 Washington and Rice visit the Maravich Center. Live video and live stats for every tournament match will be available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter.
Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center are free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program.