LSU's Khourtni Fears
Photo by:Hilary Scheinuk, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Volleyball Drops Inaugural SEC Match with Texas A&M
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Published: October 26, 2012, 10:36 PM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - Desiree Elliott belted a season's best 22 kills, one shy of a career-high, but the LSU volleyball was handed a 3-1 defeat by Texas A&M (20-25, 25-22, 11-25, 16-25) as the two teams met for the first time as SEC rivals Friday at the Maravich Center.

The victory enabled Texas A&M (16-5, 8-4 SEC) to keep pace with Arkansas atop the SEC Western Division standings. The Tigers (9-13, 5-8 SEC) were limited to a .152 hitting percentage and a 46 percent sideout efficiency, while the Aggies countered with a .244 hitting ratio to go along with a 63 percent sideout clip. 

"We knew we had to win the serve-pass battle if we were going to stay in this match and have a chance to win," head coach Fran Flory said. "We didn't do a very good job of it. Down the stretch, we got out of system offensively. From our setters to our hitters, we tried to be a little bit too perfect. We put too much pressure on ourselves to make plays rather than turn it into a transition match, which is really and truly the type of match that we needed. We tried to turn it into an offensive termination match, that's not our strength. We did not really follow the game plan through the whole match."

Elliott's 22 spikes came on a team-leading .390 hitting clip. She was the only LSU player to reach double figure kills.

Malorie Pardo handed out a match-best 45 assists and amassed 18 digs to claim her ninth double-double of the season. She fueled Khourtni Fears to a career-high nine kills to go along with four blocks. Madie Jones also tallied nine kills but was bottled up for a season-low .049 hitting percentage.

Helen Boyle tacked on seven kills and 16 digs whereas Cati Leak came away with six kills, 12 digs and three blocks.

Defensively, LSU was able to garner an 83-77 advantage in the digs department. Meghan Mannari collected a match-high 23 digs for the Tigers. 

Texas A&M's Allie Sawatzky nearly compiled a triple-double with 42 assists, 10 kills and eight kills. The Aggies also received a double dip as Alisia Kastmo popped 16 kills and corralled 13 digs. She also slapped four of A&M's seven aces for the match.

Lindsey Miller buried 12 kills on 25 errorless swings en route to a .480 hitting clip. She also registered a match-best six blocks. The Aggie back row was sparked by Megan Pendergast's 21 digs.

"I think the key was we knew we were trying to serve a whole lot tougher, and we were going to give a few errors serving. The frustration level is the part that really took away from our game plan. We got consumed with not making the last play instead of figuring out how to create the next touch and the next positive play. That's something we've preached all year, that's disappointing to see us revert to how we performed tonight. Tonight was a match of a bunch of seniors playing a few seniors and a bunch of freshmen. So, the veteran team (Texas A&M) took over If one part doesn't go well, they have another part to turn to."

LSU looks to bounce back Sunday versus Mississippi State. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the match will be carried live by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS), Cox Sports Television (CST) and ESPN3.com with Lyn Rollins and Missy Whitmore calling the action. Live stats also 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. Texas A&M - October 26, 2012

Head Coach Fran Flory

On tonight's match...                                                    
"We knew we had to win the serve-pass battle if we were going to stay in this match and have a chance to win. We didn't do a very good job of it. Down the stretch, we got out of system offensively. From our setters to our hitters, we tried to be a little bit too perfect. The bottom line is we just did not balance very well on the offensive side. We put too much pressure on ourselves to make plays rather than turn it into a transition match, which is really and truly the type of match that we needed. We tried to turn it into an offensive termination match, that's not our strength. That's not what we needed to do. I think we went away from what we needed to do. We did not really follow the game plan through the whole match."

On Desiree Elliott's performance...
"We knew the game plan was to set our middles as many balls as we could. We got Desiree a lot of swings. She did about as much as she could do to win the match for us, 22 kills on 41 swings is certainly outstanding. We couldn't get Khourtni (Fears) enough swings certainly not in transition to take the pressure off our outsides. For the first time, I don't think our outsides carried a very big load because we didn't do a good job of creating opportunities for them. We didn't move them enough. I think we just became too one dimensional."

On having a hard time finding a rhythm...
"I think the key was we knew we were trying to serve a whole lot tougher, and we were going to give a few errors serving. The frustration level is the part that really took away from our game plan. We got consumed with not making the last play instead of figuring out how to create the next touch and the next positive play. That's something we've preached all year, that's disappointing to see us revert to how we performed tonight. Tonight was a match of a bunch of seniors playing a few seniors and a bunch of freshmen. So, the veteran team (Texas A&M) took over If one part doesn't go well, they have another part to turn to."

On the game plan against Texas A&M...
"We practiced against the second contact swing the entire week. I think we did a really good job of being tuned in. However, we did a poor job of executing and staying the course. We knew she (Allie Sawatzky) was going to score. We allowed it to frustrate us rather than understand she's going to score a few here and there. You have to make sure that she doesn't score so many that she takes over the match, and I thought at times she took over the match."

On the connection between Khourtni Fears and Malorie Pardo...
"It is getting better. We tried to get more swings, and we just could not get that message through. Honestly, we didn't ball control well enough in the rotations that Khourtni was front row to get her more swings. That's the unfortunate part about it. Khourtni's getting better and better, we're going to keep working with her. She's going to be a force in the future. As we get better, we need Khourtni to continue to improve."

On Sunday's match against Mississippi State...
"Well, we have to decide that we're going to be true to our system and true to who we are and not try to reinvent ourselves in the middle of the match. I think we didn't do a very good job at that at Mississippi State in Starkville and they were able to turn it into their type of match for a big portion of that match there. We're going to have to do a better job of being more resilient and having better poise and composure. That was the message in pregame, to be poised, to be composed, and we just really didn't follow that, and that's unfortunate for us."

Middle Blocker Desiree Elliott

On Texas A&M's adjustments ...
"At the beginning of the match, it seemed like both teams came out kind of slow. Both teams have really fast pace. We move around a lot and have great defenses. It started off kind of slow, and then A&M turned it on. They served tougher. Their offense, they ran it faster. Since we started off slow, we couldn't catch up to them by the end of the game."

On the team's performance...
"We have good passes all the time. Whenever we do, we can run our offense to the best of our abilities. When we do that, we're really quick. Madie Jones on the outside, me going middle, Khourtni Fears in middle, teams can't stop us because we're fast. But, whenever teams attack us like that, we can't catch up to their pace. We have a hard time getting into system."

On Sunday's match against Mississippi State...
"Every time we play Mississippi State it's always a good match. They're really scrappy and really fast. They have great defense as well. We'll be ready for that type of match. We have to adjust some things. We have to come out fast because we know Mississippi State will come out attacking. That's what we're going to focus on."

 

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