TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The LSU volleyball team will look to bounce back from a four-set loss to Auburn and concludes its weekend road swing with a Sunday matinee versus Alabama. It will be the first of two meetings between the Tigers and Crimson Tide this season.
Sunday’s first serve is on-tap for 1:30 p.m. from Foster Auditorium, and a free live audio webcast will be available inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.
LSU (13-4, 3-2 SEC) has a 33-22 series lead and won 12 of the previous 13 meetings with the Crimson Tide (15-5, 3-3 SEC) going back to the 2006 season. However, Alabama swept the Tigers during last season’s SEC opener in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide is being led by a pair of standout freshmen in Krystal Rivers and Brittany Thomas. Both players are averaging over three kills per set and rank among the SEC’s Top 10. They combined for 28 of UA’s 51 kills during its sweep of Texas A&M on Friday. Rivers’ .447 hitting percentage is fourth-best in the conference. Sierra Wilson’s 11.89 assists per set are second on the SEC leaderboard.
“As a coaching staff, we’ve challenged our players to redefine themselves,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We’ve made a lot of positive strides, and we’ve got good leadership on this team. In the start of matches, we haven’t shown the resiliency that we’ve needed to. This Alabama team is a team that you need to beat because they’re extremely efficient. They aren’t going to give you a lot. To be successful, we are going to have to make defining plays and score against them.”
LSU’s front row has registered 10-plus blocks during 11 of 17 matches which includes a 14-stuff effort last time out against Auburn. The Tigers have collected a SEC-leading 2.77 blocks per set on the season and already accounted for 79.9 percent of the team’s blocking total from 2012.
Briana Holman has produced double figure kills in 14 of her last 15 matches and nearly garnered her second career double-double with 12 kills to go along with nine blocks during the Auburn match. She has already eclipsed the century mark in blocks for the season.
Desiree Elliott has come away with 2.75 kills and 0.75 blocks per set in her last four outings at the middle blocker position. She enters Sunday’s match 14 kills away from passing former teammate Michele Williams (2008-11) for 17th place on LSU’s all-time list.
LSU’s outside attack of Helen Boyle, Cati Leak and Katie Lindelow will look to get back on track after being limited to a combined 19 kills on 94 swings at Auburn. Leak’s team-high 3.31 kills per set are 11th in the SEC rankings.
Malorie Pardo picked up her 10th double-double of the season, 35 assists and 16 digs against Auburn, which are third-most in the SEC. LSU has won all 12 of its matches this season when the Tigers compile over a .200 hitting percentage.
Haley Smith will look to start a new streak of 10-plus digs after being held to a season-low five scoops during the Auburn match. Smith’s 3.70 digs per set are 11th in the SEC.
LSU has earned 184 victories sparked by five 20-win seasons to go along with seven of the last eight SEC Western Division titles since 2005. The Tigers also are one of 34 programs to appear in six NCAA Tournaments during the previous eight-year stretch.
Desiree Elliott will continue LSU’s legacy of serving the community. She is teaming up with St. Vincent de Paul and Bishop Ott Shelter Program for her season-long senior class philanthropy project. The Tigers will be collecting items ranging from children’s clothes and shoes along with baby supplies and toys at every home match as part of the “Geaux Kids” initiative. Fans will be able to donate items inside the “Geaux Kids” boxes located at the Tiger Fan Zone.
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 and @lsuvb on Instagram.