Volleyball to Meet Arkansas for Senior Night
BATON ROUGE - The LSU volleyball team wraps up the 2012 season and meets Arkansas as part of ESPNU's Wednesday Night Showcase at the Maravich Center.
First serve is on-tap for 8 p.m., and fans will have the opportunity to "Geaux Free" to Wednesday's match compliments of the Advocate. Fans are encouraged to participate in "Geaux Give Thanks" and bring canned goods that be collected at each PMAC entrance to benefit the Baton Rouge Food Bank. Gates will open to the public one hour prior to first serve.
"Certainly, those four players have meant the world to our program and to our staff," head coach Fran Flory said. "They've left their heart and soul for this program. The neat thing is they're all very balanced student-athletes. As a coach, the goal is that when they come in as freshmen is that they'll mature and truly become people that you feel will carry the legacy of your program forward. All four of them have accomplished that. The respect I have for them has nothing but grown exponentially for what we've had to go through this season. I'm proud of them. I'm sad they're playing their last match but certainly bigger and better, and much brighter things ahead for them."
LSU (12-16, 8-11 SEC) is looking to snap a season's long three-match losing streak, its longest in SEC play going back to the 2004 season. Conversely, Arkansas (21-8, 12-6 SEC) has registered three consecutive victories and more than likely will qualify for the program's first NCAA Tournament since 2006.
Earlier this season, the Razorbacks claimed a four-set victory over LSU back on September 30. Arkansas garnered a .310 team hitting percentage for the match behind Roslandy Acosta and Janeliss Torres-Lopez's 15 kills apiece. Torres-Lopez committed only one error during her 20 swings en route to a blistering .700 ratio. For the season, Torres-Lopez is ranked among the SEC's Top 10 with a .350 hitting clip and has tallied a team-leading 111 blocks for a 1.02 per set average.
LSU's defense bottled up the SEC's active kills leader, Jasmine Norton, to a negative hitting percentage when the two teams met in Fayetteville. She has ripped 400 kills on the season and her 3.67 per set average checks in at sixth place on the SEC leaderboard.
"The LSU-Arkansas match is always a fiery contest," Flory said. "Typically there's a lot on the line. There's a lot of pride on the line for us this year. Certainly, they're trying to position themselves for the NCAA Tournament. I think they're more than likely in NCAA tournament with a RPI inside the Top 30, which is a great step for their program and for the SEC. We have to understand that to be in the NCAA's next year, we're going to have to beat those teams. We have one more shot to do it and start building some positive momentum for next season."
Madie Jones has ripped 3.89 kills per set during conference place, fourth-best among the SEC leaders. She has pounded 1,099 career kills and heads into Arkansas match 12 spikes away from moving past former All-American Brittnee Cooper (2006-09) for 15th place on the program's all-time list.
Delahoussaye will finish her career by playing in all 121 matches over her four years. She has sprawled out for 1,056 career digs, firmly placed in the No. 12 position on LSU's all-time list. Her 2.98 scoops per set this season are 18th in the SEC.
Mannari has captured 1,185 career digs, and recently eclipsed Detra Brown (1983-86) for the No. 9 position on LSU's all-time dig rankings. She has secured 4.83 digs per set and upped her average to a 5.20 per set average. Both feats are good enough for second place in the SEC.
Desiree Elliott got back on track with a 12-kill effort at Tennessee. Her 3.42 kills per set are 11th in the SEC, second-highest among middle blockers. She enters Wednesday's match 18 kills away from becoming the 20th player to total 1,000 for her career.
Marissa Maas has provided a spark during LSU's last six matches. She has tallied 22 kills and 25 blocks in the six-match run. The Richmond, Texas, native belted a season-high seven kills during the Florida match and tacked on seven blocks at Tennessee.
"At this point in the season, there are a lot of coaches that are complaining that their players have kind of quit and aren't playing super hard," Flory said. "Our players are continuing to play hard and are continuing to show great passion for our program every time they take the court. I couldn't be prouder of their effort from last weekend. I sure wish we could have got a couple W's, but we stood toe-to-toe with two veteran teams (Florida and Tennessee) for long stretches. Hopefully, we'll be able to get those critical points to put us over the top versus Arkansas."
Live video for Wednesday's match will be available at www.ESPN3.com or via the "Watch ESPN" app. Live stats will be carried inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live.
At every home match, LSU will be collecting pet supplies at the fan zone as part of its "PAWS in the PMAC" campaign to benefit the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society.
Dating back to the 2005 season, LSU has racked up a 171-71 record and is one of 25 programs nationally to secure bids to six of the last seven NCAA Tournaments.
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.