BATON ROUGE – The LSU volleyball team, despite a conference-best 19 kill performance from junior Gina Tillis, fell to South Carolina 19-25, 25-20, 21-25, 22-25 Sunday afternoon at the Maravich Center.
With the loss, LSU fell to 7-12 and 2-6 in league play. South Carolina halted a four-match losing skid and improved to 14-5 and 2-5 in conference.
“I think we played hard at times and created opportunities, but then we went and shot ourselves in the foot,” head coach Fran Flory said. “The balance of our game was not together today. This match was decided defensively.”
“I thought our young kids had a really good match. Sydney Mukes in particular really stepped up with some nice swings. Gina continues to carry this team. She had a gutty, elite level offensive performance and she also handled her defensive responsibilities.”
The Tigers concludes stretch of three matches in six days on Wednesday when LSU faces off against Missouri in Columbia. First serve for the match is set for 7 p.m. CT. The match will be televised on the SEC Network and fans can also catch the action live on WatchESPN.com and the app.
LSU tallied 16 kills and an attacking percentage of .306, but the Tigers couldn’t match the Gamecocks on the offensive end with 17 attacks and just two errors for a .484 hitting percentage. USC controlled the first set and led by as many as six points. LSU closed it to 13-10 but the Gamecocks took the lead and won the first set, 25-19.
The Tigers dominated the second set and never allowed South Carolina to take a lead or even tie things up. Toni Rodriguez led the way for LSU with a set-best five kills to help the home team tie the match at one overall heading into the intermission.
After the intermission, LSU committed six attacking errors and nocked in 14 kills but wasn’t able to take the momentum. The Gamecocks dug 24 balls and tallied 15 kills. The third set featured seven tie scores and three lead changes. Down 17-24, the Tigers fought off four set points but ultimately fell 24-21.
With LSU leading 12-6 out of a timeout, the Gamecocks mounted a furious comeback to tie the match at 20. After the teams went back and forth, USC ultimately took the set 25-22 to win the match. Tillis dominated the set for LSU with seven attacks and a .333 hitting percentage. The Gamecocks hit .394 with 17 kills and just four errors in the frame.
> Tillis finished with 19 kills for her best conference performance this season. The junior has now finished as the squad’s leader in kills in 16 matches and six conference matches. Tillis totaled nine digs in the match as well.
>> Mukes and senior Tiara Gibson finished second in kills with 11. Olivia Beyer and Toni Rodriguez just missed out on double-digit kills with eight each.
>> Freshman Anna Zwiebel finished with 46 assists and nine digs on the afternoon. Zwiebel’s 45 assists were the most in a conference match this season.
>> Libero Cheyenne Wood led the team in digs with 15. There was a three-way tie for second with Zwiebel, Tillis and Kelly Quinn at nine.
>> LSU has yet to win a match at home. The Tigers are 0-10 inside the Maravich Center this season.
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