Volleyball Closes SEC First Half vs. Alabama

LSU's Helen Boyle
LSU's Helen Boyle
Steve Franz
Matt Dunaway
Matt Dunaway

BATON ROUGE - The LSU volleyball team wraps up its season's long four-game homestand and the first half its SEC schedule Sunday versus SEC Western Division rival Alabama. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. inside the Maravich Center.

Fans will have the opportunity to "Geaux Free" to Sunday's match compliments of the Advocate. Gates will open to the public one hour prior to first serve. As part of "Family Day", there will be prematch kid inflatables and carnival games outside on the PMAC Pad. It's also "Teacher Appreciation Day" where the Tigers will recognize professors and staff members.

LSU (7-11, 3-6 SEC) carries a 32-22 series edge over the Crimson Tide (14-6, 3-5 SEC). Earlier this season, Alabama swept the Tigers in Tuscaloosa to end LSU's 11-match winning streak in the series. The Crimson Tide connected for a .430 hitting percentage over the final three sets of a 3-1 triumph over South Carolina on Friday.

Kayla Fitterer cranked 19 kills on a crisp .436 hitting clip during first meeting between the two teams and has posted a 3.67 per set average to rank sixth on the SEC leaderboard. Alabama also is led by Sierra Wilson's 10.94 assists per set, second-best in the SEC rankings, along with Cristina Arenas' 3.36 digs per set from the libero position.  

"Alabama is an awfully improved team, and they are coming in here with a much better record than in years past," head coach Fran Flory said. "After winning our first meeting in Tuscaloosa, they are going to come in here with a point to prove because they haven't won at the PMAC in a while. We are aware of that, and we'll be ready for that match. I think we will have a nice game plan put together, and we'll be a lot more balanced offensively than we were when we played them at their place."

LSU is coming off a 3-2 setback to preseason SEC favorite Tennessee where the Tigers racked up a season's best 18 blocks. Khourtni Fears and Cati Leak posted career-highs with 10 and 7 stuffs, respectively.

Fears has produced 1.13 blocks per set to rank fourth in the SEC and became the first player to record double figure stuffs in a match since former All-American Brittnee Cooper accomplished the feat during the 2009 season.

The Tigers are sparked offensively by Helen Boyle, Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones. All three players have combined for 78 percent of LSU's kills during SEC play and buried double figure kills in eight straight matches going back to Sept. 16.

Boyle has compiled an impressive 3.28 kills and 3.08 digs per set in SEC matches. She is one of seven players in the conference to be ranked among the SEC's Top 20 in both categories.

Elliott is coming off a season's best 20 kills during the Tennessee match. She also has been strong at the net and recorded 39 of her 62 blocks over her last eight efforts.

Jones has reached 10 or more kills in all seven of LSU's victories on the season and comes into Sunday's match 47 spikes away from becoming the 19th player in program history to secure 1,000 career kills.

Malorie Pardo has eclipsed 50 assists during five of LSU's last seven matches. Her 10.64 helpers per set are fourth, while her six double-doubles are tied with Boyle for the conference lead during SEC matches. 

LSU's back row has amassed a SEC-leading 17.77 digs per set during SEC play. The senior duo of Meghan Mannari and Sam Delahoussaye are both approaching the 1,000 career digs mark. They head into Sunday's match 14 and 30 scoops away, respectively, from the milestone.

Live video and live stats for Sunday's match will be available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. 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.

Dating back to the 2005 season, LSU has racked up a 166-66 record and is one of 25 programs nationally to secure bids to six of the last seven NCAA Tournaments.

The Tigers have collected seven consecutive SEC Western championships highlighted by the overall league championship in 2009. It's the second longest streak in SEC history, only behind Florida's 14-year run on top of the SEC's Eastern Division from 1995-2008.

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.




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