LSU's Desiree Elliott with her family and coach Fran Flory
Photo by:Chris Parent, LSU Athletics Student Photographer
Senior Sweep: Volleyball Dumps Alabama
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Published: November 30, 2013, 04:46 AM (CT)
by Matt Dunaway, Associate SID

BATON ROUGE – The LSU volleyball team sent its lone senior Desiree Elliott out on a winning note as the Tigers swept Alabama [25-22, 25-23, 25-21] during the regular season finale for both teams Saturday at the Maravich Center.

It was the Tigers (18-12, 8-10 SEC) fifth sweep of the season and 10th straight home victory over Alabama (24-9, 11-9 SEC) dating back to the 2004 season. LSU will turn its attention to Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Selection show where the Field of 64 will be announced at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.

For Elliott, she popped six kills and added three blocks. She has hammered 1,169 career kills which is four shy of eclipsing Regan Hood (2001-04) for 13th place on LSU’s all-time list.

“I am certainly proud of the effort and preparation these players put into this match,” head coach Fran Flory said. “A 3-0 win to end the season against a very good Alabama team is a great way to end the regular season. I am proud of them. I am proud of Desi (Desiree Elliott) for having a great effort tonight. Her stats weren’t great, but her spirit and her fight really lead the way. It is really nice to have that on senior night.”

“The team played absolutely phenomenally, and a win against Alabama is the icing on the cake,” Elliott said. “These four years have been so great. The team came out, and they were dedicated. They played with their hearts. I’ve really enjoyed playing with them.”

Malorie Pardo distributed 40 assists, added 10 digs and slapped two aces to claim her team-leading 19th double-double of the season. She fueled three hitters to 10-plus kills as LSU’s offense racked up 50 kills and a .288 hitting percentage compared to Alabama’s 46 kills and .226 hitting ratio.

“I am proud of Malorie,” Flory said. “I really challenged her. I put it on her to lead the team in a pretty aggressive way. I asked her to be better than what she had been. She hasn’t been terrible, but she hasn’t been great. That is a huge step for her. The biggest difference from Wednesday’s match to today’s match was Malorie Pardo. I am super proud of her effort and preparation. I am really happy for her because she put in the extra work. It just goes to show you if you do a little more good things will happen to you.”

Cati Leak cranked a match-leading 14 kills on a .464 hitting clip to go along with nine digs and three blocks. It marked the sixth straight match that Leak has ripped 10-plus kills. Briana Holman belted 13 kills and was involved in four of LSU’s eight blocks.

Helen Boyle and Katie Lindelow bounced back in a big way for the Tigers. After tallying a combined 13 kills and 13 errors on 59 swings during the Ole Miss match, Boyle came away with 10 kills, 14 digs and three blocks en route to her sixth double dip of the season. Lindelow tacked on nine kills, 10 digs and was a spotless 28-for-28 on her reception attempts.

LSU’s backcourt defense was sparked by Haley Smith’s match-leading 15 digs which moved her to within three scoops of Paula Rideau (1983) for seventh place on LSU’s single season digs list.

Alabama was paced by Krystal Rivers’ 12 kills, Sierra Wilson’s 37 assists and Kryssi Daniels’ 13 digs. Brittany Thomas garnered eight kills but was held to a .079 hitting percentage on her 38 swings for the Crimson Tide.

“Obviously, we didn’t play well against Ole Miss,” Pardo said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with a win. We knew it wasn’t (going to be) easy today, but we weren’t going to stop fighting. We still had the desire to win. We were going to let the last game of the season end like we wanted it to. Everybody had that extra little chip on their shoulder, and it showed tonight. Everyone did phenomenally, and we did our jobs to help the group as a whole.”

Alabama raced out to a 9-4 edge during the opening set. Thomas popped three kills coupled with three LSU hitting miscues. The Tigers chipped away and scored nine of the next 14 points to even the ledger at 13-13. Boyle and Lindelow teamed for five kills. The two teams would split the next eight points before LSU ripped off four straight points capped by Holman, Lindelow and Boyle kills in succession to grab a 21-17 edge. The Crimson Tide pulled back within two points on two occasions, the latest at 24-22. However, Elliott ended a long rally with a kill through the middle to vault LSU to the 25-22 victory.

Set two started with the Crimson Tide building a 13-6 advantage. Rivers and Thomas led the charge for Alabama with two kills apiece. Down 16-11, LSU battled back with seven of the next eight points to turn the tables and snatch an 18-17 lead on an Elliott kill. The Crimson Tide would go back ahead 21-20, but LSU used a strong finishing kick to claim the 25-23 win. Boyle hammered two kills, while Holman closed out the frame soaring over the Alabama block with a sideout spike.

Out of the locker room, LSU started the third set with a 10-3 flurry. The Tigers received three Lindelow kills, two Leak kills and a pair of Pardo aces. LSU led wire-to-wire and connected for a match-best .344 hitting clip during the frame. The Crimson Tide would get back to within 23-21, but the Tigers had the final answer with Lindelow and Leak spikes to close out the sweep. 

“We had a mission from warmups until the match was over,” Pardo said. “We knew we had it. Before the game, we all sat in the locker room and talked individually about what we were going to do. I think that really helped out there because we trusted everybody next to us. Even the people on the bench communicated with us. Everything that we did to prepare led up to the win.”

“Our season has been a rollercoaster,” Flory said. “As we said, things were stabilized today. We have been waiting all season for this. As a coach, the last match you have to get them in that mode. I think we finally got them in it. The question is do we get to play again (next week in the NCAA Tournament). That is out of our hands. I am certainly proud of how they remained poised and composed. I called a couple timeouts. I told them I’m just calling this timeout to stop things and regain our composure. They understood that for the first time all season, and they responded to it. All of them responded to it. All of them came out to play. I am really proud of their effort.”
   
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.

Volleyball Postmatch Quotes
LSU vs. Alabama – November 30, 2013

HEAD COACH FRAN FLORY

On bouncing back from Wednesday’s match and winning the final match of the regular season…
“I am certainly proud of the effort and preparation these players put into this match. A 3-0 win to end the season against a very good Alabama team is a great way to end the regular season. I am proud of them. I am proud of Desi (Desiree Elliott) for having a great effort tonight. Her stats weren’t great, but her spirit and her fight really lead the way. It is really nice to have that on senior night.”

On the team’s performance …
“Our season has been a rollercoaster. As we said, things were stabilized today. We have been waiting all season for this. As a coach, the last match you have to get them in that mode. I think we finally got them in it. The question is do we get to play again (next week in the NCAA Tournament). That is out of our hands. I am certainly proud of how they remained poised and composed. I called a couple timeouts. I told them I’m just calling this timeout to stop things and regain our composure. They understood that for the first time all season, and they responded to it. All of them responded to it. All of them came out to play. I am really proud of their effort.”

On Malorie Pardo’s effort  …
“I am proud of Malorie. I really challenged her. I put it on her to lead the team in a pretty aggressive way. I asked her to be better than what she had been. She hasn’t been terrible, but she hasn’t been great. That is a huge step for her. The biggest difference from Wednesday’s match to today’s match was Malorie Pardo. I am super proud of her effort and preparation. I am really happy for her because she put in the extra work. It just goes to show you if you do a little more good things will happen to you.”

On the difference for LSU’s pin hitters between Wednesday’s match and today’s match …
“I thought Helen (Boyle) particularly took some big swings in key situations. Helen hasn’t had that demeanor recently. She has kind of been swinging to keep the ball in play. (Katie) Lindelow figured it out during the second set. She figure out that she had to work one step harder to have better court vision and enough momentum to get through the ball. I am proud of their adjustments. This was a work ethic win for our team. This wasn’t a game where we hoped someone would come out and lose to us. It was us wanting to work hard and create opportunities tonight.”

On LSU’s serving during today’s match …
“We knew how to serve to them. In the past, we have had great serving game plans, but we didn’t necessarily execute them. I am really proud of our effort. Malorie served the best she’s served all year in that rotation. We matched her up serving in that rotation on purpose during all three sets so she could exploit that. It was great focus by everybody. Desi served really well. We did a great job of staying with our game plan. Even when they made a nice play out of it, we didn’t panic. We went back to it. We stayed the course. In the end, that is what happened.”

MIDDLE BLOCKER DESIREE ELLIOTT

On finishing the regular season strong …
“The team played absolutely phenomenally, and a win against Alabama is the icing on the cake. These four years have been so great. The team came out, and they were dedicated. They played with their hearts. I’ve really enjoyed playing with them.”

On staying consistent and not panicking …
“(Assistant coach) Sam (Ojie) always says to stay calm within the storm. So, no matter what happens, we just have to stay calm and focus on the next step. That’s what they did. They played amazing, and I’m so proud of them.”

On Malorie Pardo’s performance …
“This past week at practice, Malorie was working super hard. She wanted to play hard for us, and she did. She played perfectly tonight, and I couldn’t ask anything more from her.”

SETTER MALORIE PARDO

On bouncing back from Wednesday’s loss to Ole Miss …
“It was really important. Obviously, we didn’t play well against Ole Miss. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with a win. We knew it wasn’t (going to be) easy today, but we weren’t going to stop fighting. We still had the desire to win. We were going to let the last game of the season end like we wanted it to. Everybody had that extra little chip on their shoulder, and it showed tonight. Everyone did phenomenally, and we did our jobs to help the group as a whole.”

On trusting the process and staying calm within the storm …
“We had a mission from warmups until the match was over. We knew we had it. Before the game, we all sat in the locker room and talked individually about what we were going to do. I think that really helped out there because we trusted everybody next to us. Even the people on the bench communicated with us. Everything that we did to prepare led up to the win.”

On sending Desiree Elliott out with a victory …
“She’s been a big part of this program for the four years. She really wanted to win in three (sets), and she had that extra fight. We wanted her to go out with a win in the way that she wanted to. So, we played for each other on the court, and we played for her. That was the one thing that was a constant message – we were going to do this for Desi, and we were going to do this for everybody next to us. It paid off.”

 

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