Volleyball Drops Five-Set Affair to Georgia

LSU's Madie Jones
LSU's Madie Jones
Steve Franz
Matt Dunaway
Matt Dunaway

BATON ROUGE - Madie Jones buried a career-high 26 kills, but the LSU volleyball team lost a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Georgia (29-27, 24-26, 25-23, 23-25, 6-15) on ESPNU's Wednesday Night Volleyball in front of a spirited 1,842 fans at the Maravich Center.

The Tigers (6-10, 2-5 SEC) had their seven-match winning streak end over Georgia (9-6, 3-3 SEC), while the Bulldogs notched their first win in Baton Rouge since 1997. The 1,842 fans was the fourth-largest crowd in program history.

Georgia managed a .253 to .212 hitting percentage edge and came away with 18 of the 25 blocks recorded during the match. The Bulldogs also held LSU without a service ace, a span of 86 straight matches dating back to Oct. 26, 2009 at Tennessee. 

Jones' 26 kills came on a career-best 70 swings. The last time a LSU player tallied 70 swings during a match was former All-American Marina Skender against then No. 7 Florida in 2006. Jones' previous career-mark was 23 spikes during a five-set triumph over South Carolina last season.

Malorie Pardo and Helen Boyle notched double-doubles for LSU. Pardo dished out a career-best 64 assists to go along with 14 digs. Boyle pounded 16 kills and corralled 18 digs.

Desiree Elliott cranked 18 kills but was limited to a .156 hitting clip. Khourtni Fears powered home eight kills on a crisp .412 hitting ratio and added five blocks. The eight kills for Fears tied a career-high.

LSU's had four players collect 10 or more digs, and the Tigers welcomed Meghan Mannari back to the lineup for the first time since September 8. Sam Delahoussaye fueled the back line and amassed 21 digs, her fourth 20-plus scoop effort of the season. Cati Leak tacked on 10 digs whereas Mannari charted nine scoops in her return.

UGA was sparked by Brittany Northcutt's 20 kills and 16 digs. Briana Bahr hammered home 19 spikes and garnered seven blocks, while Jasmine Eatmon secured nine kills and eight stuffs.

The setting tandem of Kaylee Kehoe and Maggie Baumert handed out 35 and 27 assists, respectively, for the Bulldogs. Kehoe finished with a double dip and scooped up 12 digs. UGA's back row was led by Allison Summers' 24 scoops. 

LSU continues its season's long four-game homestand Sunday versus South Carolina. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Maravich Center. Live video and live stats will be available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live.

Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center is free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program. 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. Georgia - October 3, 2012

Head Coach Fran Flory

On LSU not holding a 2-1 lead ...
"I was disappointed that we couldn't finish that fourth set. We didn't play like we were ahead. We didn't play like we were in charge. We played like we were the team down instead of controlling things and feeling like we could finish plays. You have to credit Georgia. They really and truly out hustled us. They out played us, and out worked us tonight. There is just no other answer than that."

On Madie Jones' performance ...
"I thought Madie did some nice things, but I also thought we left some plays for her out on the court. We trapped her a few times. Madie is supposed to be the queen of the fifth set, and we couldn't create for her in the fifth set. When that didn't happen, our confidence really disappeared. Madie had a great match up until that point, and we just need to do a better job of creating opportunities."

On trying to get Khourtni Fears more involved...
"We have to have Khourtni more involved. She has been hobbled with an ankle problem and a knee problem. She's just really not moving at the pace we need her to be. We don't really have an answer for that with [Marissa] Maas being out. Hopefully, Maas will be back, and she will get healthy soon. We will have an answer to involve that other middle whoever that's going to be. Khourtni has the physically ability, she's just really struggling with the mental side of the game. She has to understand when someone is running a crazy offense at you, you have to be balanced and disciplined with your block."

On having Meghan Mannari getting back on the court and switching her to libero ...
"We didn't anticipate doing that [switching Meghan to libero role before the fourth set], but we were having so much trouble digging at left back that we decided we needed to make that move. It wasn't what Sam Delahoussaye wasn't doing. Sam is not a left back defensive player, so we had to put Meghan in the libero jersey to try and have her sure up left back. I thought that was going to be the key. She made some nice plays and nice saves. She just couldn't sustain it. It was a great effort by her to try and step into that role again."

On Georgia's offense not allowing LSU to organize the block...
"I thought our block was just really undisciplined. We knew where they were going to set, we knew what they were going to do. Again, we couldn't get our kids to get in front of their hitters. It's the same story as we had at Arkansas the other day, just in terms of lining up hitters and having opportunities to press over. We know it's fixable. We thought we had it fixed, but we don't have it fixed enough."

On preparing for the South Carolina match on Sunday ...
"I think we need some time. We're not so much physically tired, but we are mentally tired. When you're mentally tired, it's hard to make your body move in the way it's capable of moving. Tomorrow is an off day for us. It'll give us some down time, and we can hopefully bounce back. I know we want that South Carolina match back [from a few ago]. It was a tough match for us on the road to lose in five sets. Certainly, they are still playing with a lot of confidence. We are going to have to be very prepared."

Middle Blocker Desiree Elliott

On what LSU needs to work on ...
"I guess our biggest problem was letting up. We came out really strong in the first set. During the second set, we had the lead and just let go. I guess we got too comfortable with our game plan. We made it a lot harder than it really needed to be, that's what we really need to work on."

On Madie Jones' performance...
"We definitely relied on her a lot. She was on fire tonight, and I need to step up my performance to help her because no one can do it alone. She needed help, but she did a great job."

On the importance of having Meghan back and what she brings to the team...
"It was great seeing Meghan back on the court again. She brings a comfort to the court. Whenever she's our there, there is a reassurance that everything is going to be okay. We're glad to have her back."

On what LSU needs to work on to get more blocks...
"Just being more disciplined, Georgia was a great blocking team. They are very disciplined. Going forward, we will definitely work on getting more in-front of hitters, being more disciplined and getting our hands up quicker over the net."

Outside Hitter Madie Jones

On her career-high 26 kills...
"That's all nice, but we didn't get the win in the end. I know I made a lot of errors as well, and I could have been better."

On adjustments Georgia made...
"Georgia did a great job of fighting back. I was hitting hard-cross most of the game. Then, they adjusted their defense. They did a great job digging balls and make me change what I was doing. They fought hard."

On having Meghan Mannari back on the court...
"I'm very happy to have Meghan back on the court. She brings a sense of energy, positivity, calmness and direction. I love playing with her. She's one of my best friends so to have her back on the court as one of our fellow seniors is great."

On what LSU needs to work on in practice for South Carolina game...
"We need to watch this game and start refocusing for Sunday. We have to work on shot selection. They got us a lot on tips and roll shots so we need to work on digging those. Our coaches will tell us to pin point a couple of other things, but we will be ready."




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