LSU Volleyball at the PMAC
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Volleyball Turns Tables on Kentucky in Home Opener
Text smallerText larger
Published: September 21, 2012, 11:44 PM (CT)
Updated: September 22, 2012, 01:48 AM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE - The LSU volleyball team used career-high efforts from Helen Boyle, Sam Delahoussaye, Malorie Pardo and Haley Smith to claim a gritty 3-2 victory over Kentucky [25-21, 22-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11] during its home opener Friday in-front of a spirited 1,471 fans at the Maravich Center.

In the process, LSU (5-7, 1-2 SEC) secured its first SEC victory and won its first five-set decision of the season. The Tigers have won nine of their last 10 home openers under head coach Fran Flory dating back to the 2003 season.

Kentucky (6-6, 0-2 SEC), who was receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll entering the week, had won seven of the previous eight meetings with the Tigers going back to 2008.

"What a nice crowd we had tonight, a great job by our marketing and promotions people," head coach Fran Flory said. "We really had to feed off of them because we got a little tired at the end of the third set. The momentum from the fans and the cheering really helped us when we needed it most. "Tiger fans are the best in the world, and we are very appreciative. They were the difference maker and get a big part of the credit for tonight's win."

LSU transitioned back into a 5-1 offense as Pardo handed out 60 assists to equal a career-best and corralled 13 digs to pick up her second straight double-double. The Tigers came away with 66 kills on a .219 hitting percentage.

Helen Boyle matched a career-high and powered home 18 kills to go along with 12 digs for her first double dip of 2012. From the middle, Desiree Elliott also ripped 18 kills on a .316 hitting clip and tacked on a trio of blocks. Madie Jones chipped in 14 kills and has secured double figure spikes in all five of LSU's victories this season.

"I thought that Helen was the key to the match," Flory said. "She put so many key swings away and kept the pressure on Kentucky.  They had to release to Helen who gave other people different opportunities. Even when they released to Helen, she was able to be effective and efficient."

Khourtni Fears cranked six kills and two blocks. Cati Leak picked up five kills, eight digs and three blocks, while Madi Mahaffey garnered three kills and three blocks off the bench.
 
LSU's back row limited the Wildcats to a .208 hitting percentage and totaled an 81-76 advantage in the digs department. Sam Delahoussaye reeled in a career-high 25 digs and converted on all 20 of her reception attempts. She has collected 10 or more digs in her last four outings, three of them coming as LSU's libero.

After picking up 23 total digs over her first eight matches, Haley Smith exploded for a career-best 18 scoops. She also was spotless on all 17 of her reception attempts.   

"You have to be thrilled with Sam," Flory said. "She stepped in and dug some people one-on-none.  She's worked so hard and never got the chance to wear that different color jersey. The fact that she gets to do that no matter what the circumstances are, it's her time to shine. There's no doubt that she is definitely shining." 

Kentucky was sparked by Ashley Frazier's 17 kills, Christine Hartmann's 43 assists and Stephanie Klefot's 29 digs. Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan added 14 and 12 kills, respectively, for the Wildcats. The Billings-Morgan duo also combined for nine blocks.

LSU saved its best effort for the fifth set. The Tigers belted 12 kills, compiled a .367 hitting percentage and sided out on 10-of-12 chances. Boyle, Elliott and Jones provided three kills apiece, while Delahoussaye sprawled out for seven digs during the stanza.

LSU raced out to a 2-0 advantage on Jones and Boyle kills. After Billings fired back with consecutive spikes to deadlock the tally at 2-2, the Tigers forced the Wildcats into consecutive hitting errors to regain a 4-2 lead. The two teams went back-and-forth, but LSU never surrendered the lead.

Ahead 7-6, the Tigers strung together back-to-back kills from Jones and Mahaffey. LSU tacked on a Leak sideout spike and forced Kentucky into another hitting miscue to grab an 11-7 edge. The Wildcats pulled back within two points on a pair of occasions, the latest at 13-11, before Elliott vaulted LSU into the winner's circle with consecutive spikes.

"We had 12 kills in the fifth set," Flory said. "When you have that type of performance, you are going to win.  Our offense is finally coming around, and we are thrilled about that because we've worked hard.  The key to tonight's win was our overall discipline. We worked really hard in practice to be the most discipline team that stepped on the court. That's what led us to the win in the end." 

LSU made a strong opening statement behind five Boyle kills to win the first set by a 25-21 margin. There were eight ties and five lead changes. Down 14-13, the Tigers ripped off five straight points capped by a Boyle-Elliott block to take control of the frame. Kentucky got back to 23-21, but a service error followed by an attack error gave LSU the win.

The Wildcats grinded out 25-22 and 25-17 victories during the next two sets. Kentucky turned up the defensive pressure and forced LSU into 16 of its 27 hitting errors. The Wildcats also went 30-for-40 in their sideout chances. Frazier popped four kills during each frame.   

The two teams split the first 16 points of the fourth set. Boyle and Elliott cranked four kills coupled with a Kentucky hitting mistake which enabled LSU to fire out to a 13-8 lead. The Wildcats crept back to within 17-16 as Billings, Morgan and Frazier hammered home consecutive kills. At 22-20, Elliott slapped her fifth kill of the frame followed by a Jones spike and a Wildcat attacking error to give LSU a 25-20 victory.   

"We needed this win big time," Boyle said. "We hadn't been on our home court, and I don't know the last time we've been able to beat Kentucky so it felt really good to win. Everyone did their job which was what we needed.  It's what Fran [Flory] told us to do and that's why we won because everyone did what they were supposed to do."

LSU finishes its brief homestand Sunday and meets Missouri for the time as SEC rivals. First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. inside the Maravich Center with live video and live stats available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live.
 
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.

Admission to all 2012 home matches is free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program.

Volleyball Postmatch Quotes - September 21, 2012
Kentucky vs. LSU

Head Coach Fran Flory

On the home crowd...
"What a nice crowd we had tonight, a great job by our marketing and promotions people. We really had to feed off of them because we got a little tired at the end of the third set. The momentum from the fans and the cheering really helped us when we needed it most. "Tiger fans are the best in the world, and we are very appreciative. They were the difference maker and get a big part of the credit for tonight's win."

On the game plan...
"I think we controlled the ball really well. We felt like we needed to run a 5-1 offense so we could send our middles to the pin and not be stuck with three people hitting high on the pin in all rotations. We chose to go with Malorie [Pardo]. It's nothing that Jackie [Gerig] didn't do. It was a matchup choice for us. I thought Malorie was back to her old self. She controlled the offense, and the passers did a fantastic job of putting the ball in her hands. When she was out of system, she was creative. We've been waiting and dying for that to happen. We worked really hard on it all week during practice and I thought she was very effective tonight." 

On Sam Delahoussaye...
"She stepped in and dug some people one-on-none. You have to be thrilled with Sam.  She's worked so hard and never got the chance to wear that different color jersey. The fact that she gets to do that no matter what the circumstances are, it's her time to shine. There's no doubt that she is definitely shining. 

On Helen Boyle...
"I though that Helen was the key to the match. She put so many key swings away and kept the pressure on Kentucky.  They had to release to Helen who gave other people different opportunities. Even when they released to Helen, she was able to be effective and efficient.  For her to have that many swings in those types of difficult out of system situations and to hit .200, that's an unbelievable performance. 

On the Fifth set...
"We had 12 kills in the fifth set. When you have that type of performance, you are going to win.  Our offense is finally coming around, and we are thrilled about that because we've worked hard.  The key to tonight's win was our overall discipline. We worked really hard in practice to be the most discipline team that stepped on the court. That's what led us to the win in the end." 

Outside Hitter Helen Boyle

On the home crowd
"We needed this win big time. We hadn't been on our home court, and I don't know the last time we've been able to beat Kentucky so it felt really good to win."

On everyone doing their job...
"Everyone did their job which was what we needed.  It's what Fran [Flory] told us to do and that's why we won because everyone did what they were suppose to do."

On Sam Delahoussaye...
"Sam did an unbelievable job on the back row. There wasn't a ball that I didn't think she could get. She got every ball either up, or she touched it. There was no ball that just hit the floor."

On playing Missouri Sunday...
"We still just have to focus on our side and do exactly what we did tonight. If we do that, I think we will have a good shot." 

 

LA Dental
Visit Baton Rouge
Ford
Kraft - JELL-O Dessert Mold Kit
Flores MBA Program
ABC Insurance