BATON ROUGE – After opening the match with a statement by winning the first set, the LSU volleyball team could not carry the momentum as the Tigers fell 14-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-17 to Ole Miss Friday night at the Maravich Center.
The Tigers dropped to 7-16 and 2-10 in Southeastern Conference matches with the loss. The Rebels improved to 14-10 and 3-8 in the league with the victory.
“I thought in the first set we played the way we are capable of playing every match,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We have to be a little more mentally tough and have to trust ourselves. We also cannot just rely on Gina (Tillis) and Tiara (Gibson) to put balls away. Our outside hitters have to give us a shot. You cannot beat anyone unless your outside hitters put a ball away.”
LSU takes the remainder of the weekend off from competition before continuing its home stand next weekend. The Tigers take on Georgia at 7 p.m. Friday and Mississippi State at 1 p.m. Sunday. Admission to all home matches is free and fans are reminded to Geaux Clear.
The Tigers opened with one of their best first sets in conference play. LSU totaled 14 kills with a strong .323 hitting percentage, including six kills by Gina Tillis. The defense had a strong showing with 14 digs and limiting Ole Miss to a .061 hitting percentage. In the set, LSU led from the beginning and took a 12-7 lead to force the Rebels to take their first timeout. The Tigers led by as many as 10 points in the set and ultimately won 25-14.
The Rebels bounced back strong to take the second set, 25-16. LSU hit just .125 with 10 kills on 32 attempts to Ole Miss’ .333 with 11 kills on 27 attempts. The Rebels had three service aces and the Tigers had three service errors. After trailing 10-13, Ole Miss bounced back to win the next eight points to take a 21-13 lead. The Rebels closed out by winning four of the next seven points to even the match at one.
The Rebels carried their momentum into the third set to take a 2-1 lead. Ole Miss hit .205 with 15 kills to LSU’s .070 on 9 kills and six attacking errors. After LSU took a timeout down 5-10, the Rebels went on a 10-4 run to take a 20-9 lead. The Tigers won the next five points but it was not enough, as the Rebels took the set 25-17.
Ole Miss took advantage of LSU hitting below .100 for a second-straight set to win the match. The Tigers hit .027 with just nine kills compared to the Rebels’ 15 kills at a .270 percentage. LSU took an 11-7 lead early in the set but after Ole Miss pushed it to a 16-14 lead in its favor, Flory took her second timeout. The Rebels closed out the set and match on a 9-3 run for the win.
>> Tillis finished as the team leader in kills with 15 and second in digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Tillis has now recorded double-digit kills in 15 matches this season.
>> Tiara Gibson also finished with 10 kills for second on the team. It marked the fifth conference match that Gibson has finished in double digit figures.
>> Freshman Anna Zwiebel finished in the top spot in assists with 27.
>> Kelly Quinn served as the squad’s libero for a second-straight match. Quinn finished with a team-best 19 digs on the night.
>> LSU has yet to win a match at home. The Tigers are 0-11 inside the Maravich Center this season.
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.