BATON ROUGE - The LSU volleyball team heads into its 15th season under head coach Fran Flory and travels to the 26 West Longhorns Classic this weekend in Austin.
LSU faces off with tournament host and No. 2 Texas [Friday - 6 p.m.] along with No. 19 San Diego [Saturday - 9 a.m.] and Cal Poly [Saturday - 4 p.m.]. It marks the first time since the 1995 season that the Tigers will meet two ranked opponents on opening weekend.
LSU, who is receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 preseason poll and picked to defend its seven consecutive SEC Western Division titles, has compiled a 33-12 record during their first tournament of the season with Flory at the helm sparked by 12 straight winning opening weekends going back to 2000.
All three matches will have live audio and live stats available for free inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net, while Friday's LSU-Texas match will be televised by the Longhorn Network.
"We're excited to start the season," head coach Fran Flory said. "Certainly, we had a nice preseason camp. We have a veteran team with great senior leadership. Our younger players are also going to get a chance to make an impact. This team is prepared to start. We're excited to get on the court, and this weekend is going to be a challenge."
Elliott, a 2011 All-SEC Second-Team pick, was one of nine players selected to the 2012 All-SEC Preseason Team. She has already hammered home 630 kills during her first two seasons and her 3.40 per set average in 2011 ranked eighth among the SEC leaders. The 2010 SEC Freshman of the Year also tallied a team-leading 102 blocks to anchor LSU's front row defense.
Jones and Boyle give the Tigers a powerful 1-2 punch on the outside. Jones, another 2011 All-SEC Second-Team honoree, had a breakout junior campaign and belted a team-best 380 kills at a 3.55 per set average, sixth-best in the SEC during the 2011 season.
Boyle shouldered a six-rotation load and started 28 matches en route to the All-SEC Freshman Team. She compiled a balanced 2.06 kills, 2.93 digs and 0.38 blocks per set.
Pardo handed out 11.71 assists per set good enough for second place in the SEC and ninth nationally to claim a nod on the All-SEC Freshman Team. She also posted a SEC-best for freshman 11 double-doubles a season ago.
Mannari sparked LSU's back row defense with 518 digs at a 4.67 per set average to check in second on the SEC leaderboard. The 518 scoops was the third-highest total for a single season. During the offseason, Mannari claimed a silver medal training with the USA A2 program. She heads into senior season 189 digs away from becoming the 12th player in program history to reach 1,000 career digs.
Sam Delahoussaye joins Mannari on the back row. She has started her career with 92 consecutive appearances and has been a key contributor to LSU's ability to play excellent defense and pass well. She corralled 2.16 digs per set and totaled 10 double figure dig performances to rank fourth on the team.
"The freshmen class is significant," Flory said. "You have to give credit to [assistant coach] Jill Wilson who does the bulk of our recruiting. She has attracted other great class into our program. Lindelow is such a physical player and does a great job of finding a way to score. Leak has a great demeanor and knows her place as a freshman inside the culture of the team. Fears is going to be one of those high flyers. You can put her in the category with [former All-American] Brittnee Cooper who can play above the net and be awfully difficult to defend."
Dating back to the 2005 season, LSU has racked up a 159-55 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.
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.
Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center are free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program.