Volleyball Sweeps Texas A&M in SEC Opener
Assistant Communications Director
BATON ROUGE – In front of the fifth-largest crowd in school history, the LSU volleyball team swept Texas A&M to win its Southeastern Conference opener and move to 10-2 on the season Friday night inside the Maravich Center.
The Tigers hit .294 with freshman Taylor Bannister leading the way at 13 kills. Senior Gina Tillis along hit .333 with 11 kills and 12 digs. Junior Olivia Beyer also reached double-digit kills with 10 on the night and a career-high .528 hitting percentage. Anna Zwiebel totaled 40 assists and Raigen Cianciulli finished with a team-best 22 digs.
Fran's Final Thoughts
“The most important thing is to hold serve at home and our team knows that as our goal for the remainder of the season. This was a really important match for us. We had some near misses at North Carolina and Baylor. We felt like we let those matches get away and the challenge tonight was to finish the job and I think they did a great job.”
On the support from the crowd tonight…
“This was as electric of a crowd as I’ve ever had and I’ve coached here for twenty years. It was a great crowd and they were engaged. We talk about having positive energy on our team and sharing that and being enthusiastic. The crowd fed on that and fed us through our lull we had in the third set, they carried us. We haven’t had those types of crowds here very often and we certainly hope they’re going to come back. It was an amazing atmosphere and honestly a contributing factor to the win.”
On the balanced attack tonight…
“We know we have to be balanced to be successful. When we don’t have to do that and Anna (Zwieblel) is able to distribute the ball throughout our entire lineup then we’re hard to defend. In the third set we kind of went away from that, our ball control failed a little bit, but we still stayed the course. I’m proudest of the third set, the first two sets were great, but we were more balanced and did a better job in the third set after our backs were against the wall. It was exciting to see the ending and everybody did their job when they had to and that’s the sign of a really good team.”
LSU took command from the beginning by leading throughout the opening set. Bannister dominated the Aggies with seven kills on nine attempts for a .667 hitting percentage. The Tigers led by as many as six points in the set and with a 24-20 lead, Tillis put away her only kill of the set to take a 1-0 lead.
The home squad hit a match-best .419 in the second set led by Tillis with seven kills. After evening the match at 3-3 early in the set, LSU fired off four points in a row to take the momentum. Texas A&M fought off four set points before Bannister gave LSU a 2-0 lead.
Texas A&M seized the momentum early in the third set and led by as many as four points. After tying the set at 16, the Tigers went back and forth until a pair of attacking errors by the Aggies gave LSU the match.
LSU returns to the court for the second match of its doubleheader weekend at Kentucky. The match begins at 12:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on SEC Network + through WatchESPN.com and the app.
>> The Tigers put together their second home win of the season, matching last year's wins at home.
>> This SEC opening victory is the first SEC opening victory since the 2011 season and the first SEC opening victory at home since the 2012 season.
>> The 10-2 record is the best record through the first 12 games of the season since 2013.
>> Gina Tillis finished with a double-double of 11 kills and 12 digs, her sixth double-double on the year and her 22nd in her career.
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