BATON ROUGE – After nearly two weeks of preseason camp, the LSU volleyball team is ready Saturday’s Purple & Gold Scrimmage scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Maravich Center.
Admission to the scrimmage and every 2013 home match is free compliments of the “Geaux Free” program. Leading into the scrimmage, LSU will play host to a free kids clinic beginning at 4 p.m. for children eighth grade and under where the Tigers will instruct basic volleyball skills. Check-in for the clinic begins at 3 p.m. and spots can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“First off, I really like this team,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We’re one week away from our first true match. The players are physically and mentally ready for the season to begin. I’m excited about how they’ve prepared, and we’ve accomplished a great deal in our preseason camp. The flow of our offense is something that I expect to get a little better throughout the next week, and hopefully we’ll begin to make that step tomorrow at the Purple & Gold Scrimmage.
LSU returns five starters led by Helen Boyle, Desiree Elliott, Khourtni Fears and Cati Leak, who accounted for 63.7 percent of the team’s kills last season. Malorie Pardo has already compiled 2,285 assists over her two seasons and heads into 2013 ranked seventh on LSU’s all-time list.
With one week before the season-opening Tiger Classic at the Marvich Center, Flory would like to see her squad fine-tune a few areas of its game.
“We have to make sure we become a better serving team,” Flory said. “It’s been a point of emphasis since the spring, and we’ve worked really hard to improve in that area. The bottom line for this group is our lineup is going to be very fluid, and we’re going to play a lot of people. As we get into the season, I think our blocking will become a factor. One of our goals is to make a big move in those areas.”
The Tigers have five newcomers looking to make an instant impact. Emily Ehrle and Laura Whalen have transferred in from Texas Tech and Texas State, while Briana Holman was listed among Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50.
“Four of the five have done a great job,” Flory said. “Unfortunately for Katie Dunlap, she’s been out with a concussion. They’ve done an amazing job and stepped right into our system. As coaches, we were confident that they were going to be able to do that. Emily has done an amazing job on the pin and has a chance to start for us. Back row, Laura has done an excellent job. It’s taken her a little while to get into the flow of our system, but she’s getting comfortable with the more reps she takes. Briana is super athletic and a truly special player. She’s going to be a key contributor. It’s going to take Katarina some time because she plays with a different rhythm and flow. She’s a balanced and intelligent player. I like the attitude that all of these players have come in with, and it’s very exciting to see where we’re going to go. The competitive level in our gym has definitely changed.”
LSU has earned 171 victories, an average of 21.4 wins per season, to go along with seven of the last eight SEC Western Division titles since 2005. The Tigers also are one of 34 programs to appear in six NCAA Tournaments during the previous eight-year stretch.
LSU will square off with Texas-San Antonio (Aug. 30 – 7 p.m.), UC Davis (Aug. 31 – 10 a.m.) and San Diego State (Aug. 31 – 7:30 p.m.) for the season-opening Tiger Classic at the Maravich Center. Admission is free courtesy of The Advocate’s “Geaux Free” program.
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 and @lsuvb on Instagram.