COLUMBIA, S.C. – Despite a season-best 16 kills and career-best .424 hitting percentage by redshirt sophomore Toni Rodriguez, the LSU volleyball team fell 20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25 to South Carolina Friday night.
The Tigers dropped to 7-14 and 2-8 in conference play on the season. The Gamecocks improved to 15-6 and 3-6 in league play with the win.
“We had some bright spots tonight with the play by Toni and Sydney (Mukes),” head coach Fran Flory said. “Ultimately, we did not have enough people do their jobs for us to win. “We are certainly disappointed as our staff felt we had our team very prepared. We’ll go back to work again tomorrow and keep working to find a solution.”
LSU continues its Southeastern Conference weekend on the road at 11 a.m. CT Sunday against No. 9 Florida. The match between the Tigers and Gators will be televised live on SEC Network and streamed on WatchESPN.com and the app. Florida owns a 19-2 record overall and 9-1 mark in conference. The Gators are on a six-match win streak and are 6-1 at home this season.
LSU was unable to match South Carolina on the offensive end as the Tigers finished with just eight kills on 25 attacks. On the other side of the court, USC put the ball away with 18 kills at a .394 hitting percentage and allowed LSU to finish with just nine digs. After LSU tied the set at 16, South Carolina won seven of the last nine to force Flory to take a timeout. The Gamecocks won two of the final three points to take the opening set.
The Tigers combined to find balance in the second set with a .342 hitting percentage and by doubling its digs with 17. Sophomore Lindsay Flory had a strong showing in the second frame with 15 assists for the Tigers. After a 14-14 tie, LSU went on to hold a lead throughout the remainder of the set. After LSU held a 24-21 lead, USC was able to cut it to a one-point lead but a Rodriguez kill sealed the set for the Tigers.
The third set, which featured 11 tie scores and four lead changes, went in favor of the Gamecocks, 25-22. The Tigers hit .233 in the set with 11 kills and four attacking errors compared to USC’s 19 kills. As a defense, LSU finished with three blocks and totaled just nine digs. After the two teams were tied at 21, the Gamecocks won four of the final five points to take the momentum.
The final set once again went back and forth with South Carolina eventually taking the match. With USC holding match point, the Tigers were able to fend off one but a kill by Alicia Starr closed out the match for USC. In the set, Tillis and Rodriguez shared the lead in kills with five each. The Tigers hit .316 with 17 kills and just five attacking errors.
>> Rodriguez finished with her best attacking output this season with 16 kills for just two shy of her career best set against Xavier in September 2015. The St. Amant native also blew away her career-best mark in hitting percentage with a clip of .424.
>> Tillis finished second on the team in kills with 15. The junior also added six digs on the night.
>> Freshman Sydney Mukes was the final Tiger to reach double-digit kills on the night. Mukes totaled a career-best .333 hitting percentage as well.
>> Lindsay Flory entered the match in the second set for the Tigers and finished with 38 assists for a career best.
>> Libero Cheyenne Wood ended the night with double-digit digs for the ninth time in conference play. Wood totaled 18 digs on the night.
>> Defensively, the Tigers totaled nine blocks compared to the Gamecocks’ four. On the other side, USC finished with 57 digs compared to LSU’s 49.
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