KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The LSU volleyball team wraps up a SEC season's long four-match road swing and faces off with Tennessee, who is receiving votes in the latest edition of the AVCA Top 25 poll.
Sunday's first serve is slated for 12 p.m. CT from Thompson-Boling Arena, and a free audio webcast is available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live.
Earlier this season, LSU (12-14, 8-10 SEC) dropped a five-set decision to Tennessee (20-6, 13-4 SEC) back on October 10 at the Maravich Center. The Tigers posted 18 blocks highlighted by a career-best 10 stuffs from Khourtni Fears, while Desiree Elliott ripped 20 kills to go along with eight blocks.
On the back row, Meghan Mannari secured 29 digs in her first full match back at the libero position after missing the first six matches of SEC action due to injury.
Tennessee notched its eighth fifth set victory of the season Friday over Auburn. The Lady Vols are fueled by Kelsey Robinson's 4.10 kills per set, good enough for second place in the SEC rankings. From the front line, DeeDee Harrison has registered 95 blocks and her 1.19 stuffs per set also are second on the SEC leaderboard. Leslie Cikra cranked 20 kills to equal a career-high during the Auburn victory.
UT's offense is directed by Mary Pollmiller, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Year. She has handed out 10.60 assists per set, while Ellen Mullins has captured 4.54 digs per set. Both feats are fourth-best in the SEC.
"Like Florida, Tennessee is another physical match-up for us," head coach Fran Flory said. "This road trip is certainly the most difficult of our season. To end the season, our players have a nice focus and passion. Our goal is to keep our players focused on the details and keep them relaxed to enjoy playing together these last few matches."
Last time out, LSU battled hard to extend SEC frontrunner and No. 16 Florida to four sets. The Tigers held the high-octane Gators to a season-low .177 hitting percentage.
Madie Jones slapped a team-leading 11 kills during the Florida match and has reached double digit spikes in 15 of her last 17 outings going back to September 16. The Plano, Texas, native enters Sunday's contest nine kills away from surpassing Michele Williams (2008-11) for 16th place on the program's all-time list.
Desiree Elliott will look to get back on-track. During her last two matches, Elliott has been held to nine kills and a negative hitting percentage. Her 3.40 kills per set are still 11th in the SEC and second-highest among middle blockers.
Helen Boyle is one of five players in the conference to be ranked inside the SEC's Top 20 in both kills and digs per set during league play.
Marissa Maas has moved her way into the starting lineup in four of the last five matches. She has provided 19 kills and 18 blocks during the five-match run.
Malorie Pardo went over the 1,000-assist plateau for the second straight season during the Florida match. She has tallied 12 double-doubles, all coming against SEC opponents.
Meghan Mannari and Sam Delahoussaye have sparked the LSU's back row to a SEC-leading 16.52 digs per set during conference matches. Mannari's 4.87 digs per set are second among the SEC leaders and her 19-scoop effort at Florida allowed her to vault past Detra Brown (1983-86) into sole possession of ninth place on LSU's all-time list.
Fans also can follow Sunday's match via the program's 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 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.