BATON ROUGE - The LSU volleyball team heads into the home stretch of the regular season and opens up a four-match road swing Friday at Georgia.
First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT inside the Ramsey Center, and a free live audio webcast will be available at www.LSUsports.net/live.
LSU (11-13, 7-8 SEC) has won five of its last eight outings and will be looking to build on back-to-back victories over Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Georgia (13-11, 7-7 SEC) has lost three straight matches and four of its last six outings. However, the Bulldogs have posted a 7-3 home record in 2012.
UGA's offense is sparked by Briana Bahr, Tirah Le'ea and Brittany Northcutt, who have all posted over 2.50 kills per set. Bahr and Northcutt combined for 39 spikes during the Bulldogs 3-2 victory over LSU earlier this season at the Maravich Center.
Georgia's front row defense is fueled by Elena Perri's 97 blocks at a 1.09 per set average, fourth-best in the SEC rankings. Allison Summers has collected 4.67 digs per set to rank third on the SEC leaderboard.
"We have a very big task with two very big road weekends ahead of us," head coach Fran Flory said.
"This team is a team that's on a mission. We feel that there are things out there that we can still accomplish and that we can still get better. We have fought through so many different things that, in the end, I think good things happen if you fight though the hard times. Our mindset is that we're going to keep playing hard. For teams that are still improving and able to get that effort level out of their players at the end of the season, it goes a long way in talking about how great the players are in our program."
After her 25-kill performance last time out against Ole Miss, Madie Jones jumped four spots into sixth place on the SEC's kills list. She has provided double digit kills during all 11 of LSU's victories for the season and heads into Friday's match 14 spikes away from passing Meagan Davis (1998-2001) for 17th place on the program's all-time list.
Desiree Elliott has chipped in 3.58 kills per set, ninth among the SEC leaders. She has buried 54 kills on a .351 hitting clip over her last four outings.
Helen Boyle has compiled a balanced 3.07 kills and 3.05 digs per set during SEC action. The Boyle-Elliott-Jones trio has ripped 77.4 percent of LSU's kills in conference play.
Malorie Pardo recently moved past former All-American Sam Dabbs with a 44-assist effort during the Ole Miss match for seventh place on LSU's all-time list. She has come away with 10 double-doubles, tied for the SEC's top spot during league action.
A key to LSU's back-to-back victories over Mississippi State and Ole Miss has been the combined 68.2 sideout efficiency totaled by the back row unit.
Megan Mannari continues to be impressive from the libero position. Her 4.84 digs per set are second in the SEC, and she has secured over 20 scoops in five of her last seven appearances.
Sam Delahoussaye has garnered a perfect passer rating in 13 of her last 14 efforts. For the season, Delahoussaye has corralled 361-of-372 of her reception attempts.
"We knew they (the back row) were strong going into the season, and the great part is that they have not failed us," Flory said. "There have only been a couple of matches where we have not won the serve-pass battle, and that's the key. If we can win serve-pass and more specifically the passing battle for this team, then our offense lends itself to be pretty effective. Both Meghan and Sam have really set a standard. They have paved the way for the young kids following them and learning from them in playing this position and how you need to mature in this spot."
Dating back to the 2005 season, LSU has racked up a 170-68 record and is one of 25 programs nationally to secure bids to six of the last seven NCAA Tournaments.
The Tigers have collected seven consecutive SEC Western championships highlighted by the overall league championship in 2009. It's the second longest streak in SEC history, only behind Florida's 14-year run on top of the SEC's Eastern Division from 1995-2008
Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center is free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program. LSU's final home match is scheduled for Wednesday, November 21 versus Arkansas at 8 p.m. televised by ESPNU
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.
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.