No. 15 Volleyball Preps for Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 15 LSU volleyball team ends its final SEC road weekend with a Sunday stop at Kentucky. First serve is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CT inside Memorial Coliseum.
Earlier this season, LSU notched a powerful sweep over the Wildcats in Baton Rouge. The victory put the brakes on a four-match Kentucky winning streak in the all-time series. Michele Williams powered home 14 kills to go along with six blocks, while Brittney Johnson passed out 32 assists and corralled 17 digs. Defensively, the Tigers forced Kentucky into 20 hitting miscues and a .107 hitting percentage.
"Kentucky is a place where we haven't been successful in the past," head coach Fran Flory said. "They're a big, strong and physical team. They outreach us in positions, blocking can't be deciding factor. We were able to create that type of match in Baton Rouge, and we'll have to certainly recreate that situation if we want to be successful on Sunday."
LSU (23-2, 14-2 SEC) has emerged with six consecutive victories, the last two by a 3-1 margin where the Tigers had to overcome an early one-set hole. The Tigers enter Sunday's action with a 2.5 match lead over Ole Miss in the SEC Western Division race.
Williams powered home 14 of her team-high 15 kills during the last three sets of a four-set triumph Friday at No. 21 Tennessee. The Magnolia, Texas, native has reached double digit kills on 15 occasions and her 3.20 kills per set on a .326 hitting percentage are eighth in the SEC.
Johnson has directed three or more hitters to 10 or more kills in nine of LSU's last 17 matches. She turned in an all-around dominating performance with 43 assists, nine kills and eight digs against the Lady Vols. Her 10.80 assists per set are at the top of the SEC rankings.
Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones have teamed up for 16 double figure kill performances during SEC action. The duo also rank eighth and 10th in hitting percentage, respectively. Over her last six matches, Tania Schatow has stepped up to provide 29 kills and 25 blocks.
LSU's defense continues to set the standard and has held its opponents to a league-low .162 hitting percentage. Lauren Waclawczyk has racked up 12 consecutive double digit dig efforts from the libero position, while Meghan Mannari has reached that same feat in six of her last 10 outings.
Kentucky (15-12, 9-8 SEC) is coming off a sweep of Arkansas where four Wildcats posted 10 or more kills. The Wildcats have tallied 12 of their 15 wins at home this season and strung together three straight wins over LSU in Lexington dating back to the 2006 season.
For the season, Whitney Billings, Blaire Hiler and Lauren Rapp have popped over 2.40 kills per set. Rapp also has been solid at the net with 1.03 blocks per frame to rank 10th in the SEC. On the back row, Stephanie Klefot has garnered the conference's fifth-most digs at a 4.21 per set ratio.
Live stats for Sunday's match are available on LSUsports.net inside the Geaux Zone. Fans also can follow live in-match updates on the team's official blog at http://lsuvolleyball.posterous.com.