HOUSTON - The LSU volleyball team will continue its challenging non-conference schedule at the Tiger Classic which was moved to Fox Gym on the Rice campus due to Hurricane Isaac.
LSU (1-2) will still meet Rice [Friday - 10 a.m.], No. 12 Washington [Friday - 7 p.m.] and No. 7 Purdue [Saturday - 1 p.m.]. The Tigers face off with their third and fourth ranked opponents on the young season. Admission is $5, and only cash will be accepted at the door.
"While we're disappointed that we aren't playing at home, we certainly understand the circumstances," head coach Fran Flory said. "We wish everybody well in the state of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region during the recovery process after Hurricane Isaac."
"We have three tough matches ahead of us, and the challenge before our team is big," Flory continued. "I'm extremely appreciative to our administration who allowed us to evacuate Baton Rouge on Tuesday. Rice has been wonderful in hosting us this week. We feel like we're in a good spot and made some great strides in practice this week. We'll get to lineup tomorrow and see how it goes."
LSU is coming off a pair of setbacks to No. 2 Texas and No. 19 San Diego before sweeping Cal Poly to conclude the 26 West Longhorns Classic last weekend.
Meghan Mannari has been solid on LSU's back row and is 45-for-45 on her reception attempts to start 2012. Her 4.22 digs per set are 10th in the SEC rankings, and she enters the weekend 151 scoops away from becoming the 12th player in program history to reach 1,000 career digs.
Desiree Elliott reached 10 or more kills in two of her three starts last weekend en route to 26 West Longhorns Classic All-Tournament honors. Her 3.33 kills per set are 10th among the SEC leaders.
Madie Jones is right behind Elliott and powered home 3.11 kills per set to rank 13th in the SEC. Both Elliott and Jones ripped 12 kills apiece during LSU's sweep of Cal Poly.
Khourtni Fears and Cati Leak opened their freshmen seasons with three starts. Leak pieced together a double-double, 11 kills and 15 digs, versus Cal Poly, while Fears fueled the LSU front row with 11 blocks highlighted by six stuffs against No. 19 San Diego.
As a unit, LSU's offense will look to improve on its .156 hitting clip after the Tigers committed 60 hitting errors last weekend.
"I don't think we understood how many hitting errors we were making last weekend," Flory said. "As a coaching staff, we had the players trying to do some things that they weren't real comfortable with. We're going to have to open up a bit more, hit some different shots and be more creative offensively. The players have done a fantastic job of adapting to it and understanding different ways to play the game. When you get players to understand how to play this game, it becomes simple and things start progressing extremely fast."
Dating back to the 2005 season, LSU has racked up a 160-57 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.