No. 12 Volleyball Faces Ole Miss in SEC West Showdown
OXFORD, Miss. - The No. 12 LSU volleyball team wraps up the first leg of the SEC schedule and plays its fourth match in eight days Friday at Ole Miss. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. inside the Gillom Center and the match will be televised live on Fox Sports Network [FSN].
"Ole Miss is a tough, tough match on their home court," head coach Fran Flory said. "We're going to have to be an awful lot better Friday night than we were [yesterday] on our home court. That's certainly a concern walking off the court [last night], but this team has stepped up to challenges throughout the season. Hopefully, they will continue to do that."
LSU (17-1, 8-1 SEC) is coming off a 3-1 victory Wednesday over Arkansas where the Tigers received a career performance from Desiree Elliott. The freshman middle blocker racked up 11 kills on a .600 hitting percentage and added eight blocks.
In conference matches, Elliott ranks second with a scorching .432 hitting percentage and has notched 1.29 blocks per set.
LSU's defense also frustrated the Razorbacks into a .122 team hitting percentage. It marked the eighth time on the season that the SEC's best defensive unit has limited their opponents to under a .150 ratio.
The Tigers sided out at a 76 percent clip during their three set victories versus Arkansas. On the season, LSU has won 24 of 25 sets when compiling a 70 percent or better efficiency.
Lauren Waclawczyk has pulled in 253 digs and her 4.08 digs per set are sixth in the SEC. She has reached the 20-scoop plateau on five occasions. The San Antonio, Texas, native also has fired in seven aces in her last four matches to check in with 0.34 aces per frame to surge into fifth place on the conference list.
Sam Delahoussaye and Meghan Mannari have both supplemented the Tiger back row and averaged more than 2.50 digs per set. Mannari has posted three straight double figure dig performances highlighted by a team-best 14 digs against Arkansas, while Delahoussaye has sprawled out for 10 or more digs in five of her last eight outings.
"It wasn't our best night [against Arkansas], but we're moving forward," Waclawczyk said. "We have a big match on Friday against Ole Miss. Our passing, when it was on, it was on. We had our ups and downs. We're going to get in the gym, fix our little quirks and be ready to go."
Angela Bensend, the SEC's kills per set leader, has reeled off 12 consecutive matches with double digit kills. The Tigers have won 29 of 31 matches when Bensend reaches 10 or more kills.
Madie Jones, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, garnered five of her nine kills against Arkansas during sets three and four. The Plano, Texas, product has ripped over a .400 hitting percentage in six of her nine conference outings.
Michele Williams continues to headline the SEC's middle blockers with 3.25 kills per set. She also is among the league's Top 10 with a .345 hitting percentage and a stout 1.00 blocks per set.
Brittney Johnson conducts the LSU offense to over a .300 hitting clip eight times, including four efforts during SEC action. She also has secured a team-best eight double-doubles, including four in her last seven matches.
Ole Miss (12-5, 6-2 SEC) has strung together three straight sweeps and are a match and a half behind LSU in the SEC Western Division race. Regina Thomas paces the SEC and ranks ninth nationally with a blistering .408 hitting percentage. She also is the conference leader with 1.25 blocks per set. The Rebel back row is anchored by Morgan Springer, who averages 4.86 digs per set to rank second in the SEC.
Live stats for Friday's match are available in the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net. Fans also can follow live in-match updates on the team's official blog at http://lsuvolleyball.posterous.com.