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LSU head coach Fran Flory
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Flory, Volleyball Hold Annual Media Day
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Published: August 19, 2014, 04:38 PM (CT)
Updated: August 21, 2014, 09:08 AM (CT)
by Clyde Verdin, Associate SID

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A little over a week away from the first match and tournament of the season, head coach Fran Flory and select members of the LSU volleyball team held its annual media day session at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Tuesday afternoon, previewing the start of the season and what to expect in the upcoming year.

Flory, entering her 17th year at the helm of the program, was joined by seniors Helen Boyle and Malorie Pardo, junior Katie Lindelow and sophomore Briana Holman. The hour-long session began with Flory recapping last season and previewing the Tigers who return six starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s group, along with a freshman class of seven players that has been ranked as high as 13th in the nation.

Boyle, a native of Eureka, Missouri, is 195 digs shy of becoming just the 13th LSU player in team history to accumulate 1,000 during a career heading into her senior season, while also sitting sixth on the active kills list in the Southeastern Conference with 649.

Serving as the only setter the team had on the roster last year, another senior in Pardo will also look to crack a pretty exclusive club by season’s end, as her 3,684 career assists are currently fifth all-time, with an opportunity to become just the third Tiger in program history to amass 4,000 in a tenure.

Lindelow has proven her versatility in a myriad of ways over the course of the past two years, producing both defensively and offensively, as the outside hitter also saw time as a defensive specialist. Lindelow drilled a team-leading 31 aces, had 207 kills and 385 digs playing in all 32 games last year.

Holman begins her second year at LSU, earning a nod as one of the top returning players in the Southeastern Conference as she was named preseason All-SEC last week. The middle blocker started in 31 of 32 matches for the team during her freshman campaign, finishing second on the team with 391 kills, averaging 3.01 per set, while her defensive edge led to an SEC-leading 1.54 blocks per set.

LSU has earned 190 victories sparked by five 20-win seasons to go along with seven SEC Western Division titles since 2005. The Tigers also are one of 29 programs to appear in at least seven NCAA Tournaments during the past nine seasons.

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.

A transcript of the media day quotes are below

HEAD COACH FRAN FLORY

On the upcoming season…
“First off, thank you guys for being here. The start of the school year is always so much fun and certainly a ton of fun for our program, for soccer and of course football as we get excited for three great seasons to come. Our season last year ended in the NCAA tournament in a step that we needed to take several years prior to that. In the postgame news conference after that, our season this year started. The passion that our team talked about with the excitement of playing in that environment at that venue at Washington, purple and gold of course it was awesome, it felt like it was home for us, and playing a team that made it the Final Four toe-to-toe and giving them a nice run was a great kick start for what we plan to accomplish this year.”

“We have added the No. 13 recruiting class, seven newcomers that are going to be real special for the next four years. But maybe the biggest addition that we have had was the start of a leadership academy that our department started with Jeff Janssen leading that charge. If you see our poster it says ‘Compelled.’ Compelled means doing a little bit more than is asked in the right way for all the right reasons and never saying ‘stop’.”

“We have 18 players on our roster. I think that’s the largest volleyball team that we have ever had. What a way to start with one of the best and most talented groups that we have ever had. I’m not going to profess to winning championships, I’m going to let our actions speak for themselves.”

On Briana Holman’s sophomore campaign…
“Let me just go on the record and say that if Missouri didn’t have the season that they did, Bri would have been the freshman of the year. I had just about every coach in the league say that. But Missouri went undefeated in our league and Carly Kan was amazing. Bria’s experience when she got here was not super high. A lot of people say that after you have a freshman breakout season like she did, you have a sophomore slump. But the change in Briana Holman and the amount of effort that she has put in to not being a great volleyball player, necessarily, but being great teammate means that she is going to have another special season. I have no doubt about it.”

On the expectations this season…
“Certainly high expectations, and I don’t want to put a cap on that because I was a part of the ’90 and ’91 teams that went to the Final Four. The experience level is there. Will we have to have some freshmen contribute? Yes. Most teams that win championships don’t have many freshmen contributing at a high level because experience in college athletics is the key. But our freshmen are special. Mimi Eugene has brought a different level. She graduated high school early and joined us in January. That experience has really transpired in a positive way. Gina Tillis is going to be special. Elly Ogle is going to be special. So the expectations are high not only for this year but the remainder of their careers.”

On Malorie Pardo possibly being her best setter ever…
“Coming into the SEC as a freshman, that’s a tough rope to hold. She did a great job of that. She has weathered the storm. All of those experiences make me believe that Malorie will have a special year.”

On the offense…
“Our signature is that our offense is fast. We are fast and physical. We are going to feed our middles first. We have two of the best middles in league if not in the country with Briana and Khourtni Fears. Khourtni has come back and is as ready as she has ever been. Our right side is probably our second option. Cati Leak and Madi Mahaffey are great options on that side. And having Elly Ogle really helps. Last year Malorie was our only setter. Thank goodness she stayed healthy for the entire year. Having Elly, we can switch into a 6-2 and have offense in three spots. That is what might potentially happen. It’s not going to happen in the beginning because we are not ready. We have some firepower that we haven’t had in the past.”

On the defense…
“We are known for, and are ranked very high, in digs per game. Briana and Khourtni will hopefully make sure we are up there in blocks. I think that our serving will improve and when your serving improves your defense will improve. Cheyenne Wood has one of the toughest serves I have ever seen. It’s nasty.

On the impact of the SEC Network…
“LSU speaks to the nation. We are everywhere. If you look at our recruiting we are typically Texas based, Texas, Louisiana and the southeast. Recently because of the excitement of the SEC Network, teams are able to recruit nationally. You see early commitments from people all over the country going to SEC schools, which means we are going to get that much better as a league..”

On where LSU stands in the SEC…
“I think Florida is who we are chasing, and I say that almost every year. They have some great players, some physical players and some great newcomers. Kentucky has a strong base. They lost some big kids but they are always good. Craig Skinner always does an amazing job. Missouri lost two very big impact players, but I expect them to replace them. I expect us to be in the top portion of that league.”

PLAYER QUOTES

MALORIE PARDO

On how the high expectations feel coming into the season…
“It actually feels really good to have high expectations. The end of last season is going to carry over like Fran said. Knowing that we can do the things that we want to do and we are goal oriented feels really good. Going to the NCAA tournament, we know what it means, and we know how to do it now.”

On how the results from last year will motivate the team this year…
“It was very exciting getting to go to Washington and play, and seeing the teams and playing quality programs. We now know what we have to do in practice and in games to get back to the tournament and get further and possibly to the Final Four hopefully. It’s our goal. But we know what to do now and we know how hard it is to do and how hard we have to work. “

On Coach Fran…
“She’s awesome. She can be serious, but she can also be fun, which is a great balance. I’ve heard of some coaches not being so fun in the gym and I’m glad she has that aspect with her. Volleyball is fun. It’s a sport. You’re supposed to have fun playing it and she allows us to do that.”

HELEN BOYLE

On if this is the most excited you’ve been going into a season…
“Definitely. Being a senior, it’s my last go-around so I’ll have to make the best of it.”

On the coaching staff…
“It’s the best staff out there. They treat us great on the court and great off the court. They want us to be well-rounded people and not just student-athletes.”

On the freshmen talent coming in…
“They’re amazing. I can’t wait to see them grow and come back next year and watch them be even better. They come in there, and they are competitive and they’re up there with all of us.”

On the biggest challenge coming into the season…
“I think being consistent throughout the year is going to be our challenge. We’re going to be really focused on Florida and Kentucky. We need to focus on all SEC schools.”

BRIANA HOLMAN

On how good at the net they can be this season…
“Offense is one of our strongest points on the team. I think we’re going to attack a lot of people offensively.”

On goals for the season…
“We have a motto for one step. So we’re taking one step at a time. Right now, we’re just focusing on the tournament we have next weekend. Then, we’re going to focus on each game individually. Then we’re trying to win the SEC and then we’re going to focus on the NCAA Tournament.”

On what the team can improve on from last season…
“Our serve-receive and our defense is something that we really need to focus on. And we have been focusing on it all offseason and preseason so far.”

KATIE LINDELOW

On the edges being a real strength…
“We got a ton of us. Last year it was just a few, and we kind of alternated throughout matches. But there’s I think there are seven or eight outsides this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see who matches up well with different teams and different opponents that we get to play against. I think it’s going to change pretty often, but there’s definitely some standing out in practice.”

On what incoming freshmen is going to have the most impact…
“With Mimi coming in the spring, and being here a semester early, I think it helped her out a lot. It gave her a little edge, not just in volleyball, but in school and in the culture of our program. She’s really got a head start. Everybody has stepped in and they’re playing great roles in practice. They’ve all got great attitudes and they work hard off the court in the weight room and stuff like that. I think they’re all going to contribute in a different way.”

 

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