LSU's Meghan Mannari
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Mannari Eclipses 1,000 Digs in Volleyball Win
Text smallerText larger
Published: October 14, 2012, 05:20 PM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - Meghan Mannari registered a match-high 27 digs and became the  latest member of the program's 1,000 career dig club as the LSU volleyball team wrapped up its season's long four-match homestand with a 3-1 victory over Alabama [25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23] Sunday at Maravich Center.

"Meghan is the next in line and has certainly carried the banner of our back row proudly and strongly," head coach Fran Flory said. "She'll go down in my book as one of the best. It's sad she missed the matches that she did earlier this season with that ankle injury. She's such a stabilizing force in our program on-and-off the court. Certainly, she's the core of our back row defense. Our back row isn't close to what it is without Meghan on the court."

For the second consecutive Sunday, LSU (8-11, 4-6 SEC) avenged a road loss from earlier in the season. The Tigers have won 12 of their last 13 meetings with Alabama (14-7, 3-6 SEC) since 2006.

Mannari reached the milestone halfway through the second set, and the 27 scoops is her second-highest output of the 2012 season. She also surpassed former All-American Daniela Romero (2003-06) for 11th place on LSU's all-time list and sits with 1,013 career digs. The 12th member of LSU's 1,000 digs club equaled a career-best with six assists.

"As much as everyone does say it, four years really does fly by," Mannari said. "I think I had a great mentor coming in with Lauren Waclawczyk (also a member of the 1,000 career digs club). She really helped lead the way my first couple of years. Playing alongside of Sam Delahoussaye, it's just been great. My blockers set up every play for me to help me get this honor. My coaches, I couldn't thank them anymore. They've given me a great four years."

LSU's back row was superb en route to an 87-72 digs advantage. Sam Delahoussaye registered 15 scoops, her 11th straight match with double figure digs. She also cut her total in half and moved to within 15 digs of joining Mannari at 1,000 career digs.

LSU tallied 70 kills and a .311 hitting percentage for the match. It marked the third time on the season that the Tigers have attacked at over a .300 rate. Malorie Pardo notched her seventh double-double and handed out a match-best 57 assists to go along with 15 digs.

Madie Jones powered home 25 kills, her second-highest career total, on a scorching .431 hitting clip. She ripped at least six spikes during three of the four frames and pulled within 22 kills of being the 19th player in program history to collect 1,000 career kills.

Desiree Elliott slapped 16 kills, while Helen Boyle compiled another double dip with 14 kills and 10 digs. For Boyle, she cranked seven of her 14 spikes during the fourth stanza. The Boyle-Elliott-Jones trio extended its streak to nine consecutive matches with 10 or more kills.

Khourtni Fears chipped in seven kills and six blocks whereas Cati Leak turned in six kills, 14 digs and three blocks. Leak has corralled 10 or more digs in six of her last eight outings.

Alabama was led by Laura Steiner's 19 kills, Sierra Wilson's 50 assists and Cristina Arenas' 22 digs. Wilson [50 assists, 11 digs] along with Kayla Fitterer [16 kills, 12 digs] compiled double-doubles for the Crimson Tide. Kanesha Burch came away with 10 kills and four blocks.

"We earned every set that we won," Jones said. "They didn't give us a whole lot of points. They didn't have a lot of errors, and they made us earn our points. That's a high level of success for us and a great step forward."

After splitting the first 12 points of the opening stanza, LSU pieced together 12 of the next 16 points to surge ahead to an 18-10 lead. Jones sparked the run with five kills. Alabama crept back to within 18-16 as Fitterer smacked two aces. The Tigers regained their bearings and rode Jones to the finish line en route to the 25-20 win. She finished the frame with nine kills on 13 errorless swings.

The second set was a back-and-forth affair that featured 19 ties and six lead changes. Neither team could string together momentum until Alabama ripped off three straight points to go up by a 22-19 margin. The Crimson Tide surge was led by Steiner and Burch kills sandwiched between a Steiner-Burch block on Elliott. LSU fired back with a 6-1 finishing kick to snatch the 25-23 triumph and a two-set advantage. Jones and Elliott combined for five kills, while a Fears-Pardo stuff on Steiner was the clincher. The Tigers racked up an impressive 23 kills and executed a 70 percent sideout rate during the set.

"I actually think the second set was the best set that we played all year because we stayed the course, and we didn't panic," Flory said. "This was the first time that another team has made a run, and we didn't panic. We just stayed within ourselves, stayed true to the game plan and continued to execute at a high level. To have 23 kills, that's a lot for us. I thought we did a great job at balancing what we needed to do cause Alabama made us earn every point."

Alabama came out of the locker room and led wire-to-wire during a 25-14 third set victory. The Crimson Tide pounded down 18 kills on 29 flawless swings for a .621 hitting percentage and converted at an 86 percent sideout level. Fitterer, Steiner and Andre McQuad teamed up for 13 of Alabama's 18 kills.

The two teams traded the first 14 points to start the fourth set. LSU used three consecutive Jones kills and a Fears spike to build an early 11-7 edge. Alabama turned the tables with eight of the next 10 points capped by back-to-back Arenas aces to claim a 15-13 advantage. The Tigers turned to Boyle, who ripped two straight kills to knot the tally at 15-15. Down 20-19, Jones ended a long rally with a cross-court spike which was followed by a Fears-Leak block on Steiner to give LSU a 21-20 lead. All square at 23-23, Boyle banged home her sixth and seventh kills of the set to lift the Tigers to the winner's circle.   

"Helen was a little uncomfortable today, and I'm not sure why," Flory said. "We just allowed her to play. We backed off and decided to let her play her way into the match. Great players play their way through those types of situations, and I thought that was an indication of Helen is going to be a great player."

LSU returns to the road Friday for its lone meeting with Auburn during the 2012 campaign. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Student Activities Center, and a free live audio webcast will be available at LSUsports.net/live. 

Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center is free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program. LSU's next home match is scheduled for Friday, October 26 versus SEC newcomer Texas A&M at 7 p.m.

At every home match, LSU will be collecting pet supplies at the fan zone as part of its "PAWS in the PMAC" campaign to benefit the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society.

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.

Volleyball Postmatch Quotes
LSU vs. Alabama - Oct. 14 2012

Head Coach Fran Flory

On executing the game plan in second and fourth sets...
"I actually think the second set was the best set that we played all year because we stayed the course, and we didn't panic. This was the first time that another team has made a run, and we didn't panic. We just stayed within ourselves, stayed true to the game plan and continued to execute at a high level. To have 23 kills in the second set, that's a lot for us. I thought we did a great job at balancing what we needed to do cause Alabama made us earn every point."

On Madie Jones' performance...
"Madie has been so true to this program and so true to this team. She knew this match was important to all of us. When Madie decides to bring that level, she's a very dangerous player. Honestly for the last three or four matches, Madie has been amazing. She's putting up big numbers and has really carried an impressive load. More than should be expected, but certainly we're happy she can carry that type of load."

On Helen Boyle's performance...
"Helen was a little uncomfortable today, and I'm not sure why. She's fighting a little injury with her knee. I don't know if she was uncomfortable with that, but we couldn't really get her through. We just allowed her to play. We backed off and decided to let her play her way into the match. Great players play their way through those types of situations, and I thought that was indication of Helen is going to be a great player."

On Meghan Mannari achieving 1000 digs...
"Meghan is the next in line and has certainly carried the banner of our back row proudly and strongly. She'll go down in my book as one of the best. It's sad she missed the matches that she did earlier this season with that ankle injury. She's had to battle a few different injuries in her career because she would have eclipsed that 1,000-dig mark earlier. She's such a stabilizing force in our program on-and-off the court. Certainly, she's the core of our back row defense. Our back row isn't close to what it is without Meghan on the court."

On preparing for Auburn this coming week...
"It's a matter of how we bounce back. I think we're over the mental fatigue hurdle that we struggled so much with through the middle and beginning of this SEC season. I think the light is at the end of the tunnel. When you see the finish line and you have a goal that you're going towards, it's a whole lot easier to bring a level of execution, intensity and focus to the gym. I think where we were trudging through before, I think we now see we took that step. If we keep taking those steps where we are so efficient, we'll be awfully difficult to beat. Having a .311 hitting efficiency for us in a match is a huge step. I don't know if our kids really understand it, but we 'll certainly make sure they do this week in practice."

Outside Hitter Madie Jones

On her performance and having 24 set kills in a four-set match...
"Fran really talked to us before the match about knowing what our role is on this team and bringing it to this game. My role on the team is the terminator, and I really tried to bring that to this match. It was a lot of fun, this was one of my favorite games we've played all year."

On LSU's approach against Alabama and how it was successful...
"We earned every set that we won. They didn't give us a whole lot of points. They didn't have a lot of errors, and they made us earn our points. That's a high level of success for us and a great step forward."

On Meghan Mannari achieving 1000 career digs...
"I'm so happy for Meghan and so proud of her. She's the hardest worker. She's a really fun teammate that brings the right energy and the right passion to every practice and every game. She deserves this recognition and this accomplishment."

On how LSU needs to prepare for Auburn this coming week...
"We need to watch some film and know what we are going to be up against. We need to rally together for this last half of the conference and get some focus. If we do those things, we should be good. "

Libero Meghan Mannari

On what the team did to win the second and fourth sets
"We lost the first time around at their place, and we had a lot of emotion coming into this match. We knew what we wanted. We wanted revenge, we wanted a rematch. I think our team did great job at staying calm and staying intense. We just played on our side and did what we were supposed to do. When it came down to it at the end, we made more plays than they did and took care of business."

On achieving 1000 digs career at today's match...
"As much as everyone does say it, four years really does fly by. I think I had a great mentor coming in with Lauren Waclawczyk (also a member of the 1,000 career digs club). She really helped lead the way my first couple of years. Playing alongside of Sam Delahoussaye, it's just been great. My blockers set up every play for me to help me get this honor. My coaches, I couldn't thank them anymore. They've given me a great four years."

On Madie Jones' performance...
"We actually named Madie the terminator. When we need plays, Madie's the one we are going to set the ball to. I think she did a great job at not only getting kills but also keeping the ball in play. She trusted in our defense that we were going to make the play behind her, set her up again and give her the ball to finish the play. That's just what she did today. She did a great job."

On preparing for Auburn...
"Auburn is always an emotional match, and we always go into it with a lot of heart. They are one of our biggest competitors. We always play tough against them. We need to make sure we are ready both mentally and physically to play them."

 

ABC Insurance
Uploaded Ad
Flores MBA Program
The Cook Hotel and Conference Center
Visit Baton Rouge