LSU Volleyball Sweeps South Carolina - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

LSU Volleyball Sweeps South Carolina

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BATON ROUGE – Malorie Pardo handed out 46 assists and sparked the LSU volleyball team to a season's best .359 team hitting percentage as the Tigers dismissed South Carolina [29-27, 25-23, 25-12] Sunday at the Maravich Center.

 

LSU (7-10, 3-5 SEC) put its two-match losing skid in the rear view mirror and avenged a five-set loss to South Carolina (13-6, 2-6 SEC) from earlier this season.

 

"It was key that we had to fight through for this win," head coach Fran Flory said. "The confidence level that comes from this type of win can certainly be a jumpstart. We decided this was a restart to the season after the Georgia match. We acted like this was the first match of our season and we're going to see what we can accomplish. We still feel like we have a lot to accomplish in this season."

 

Offensively, the trio of Helen Boyle, Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones combined for 44 of LSU's 53 kills for the match. The 46 helpers for Pardo was a SEC-best during a three-set match in conference play this season.

 

Jones cranked 15 kills on 29 errorless swings en route a .517 hitting clip, while Elliott fired in 14 spikes on a crisp .407 attacking ratio and added a match-leading six blocks. Boyle tacked on 15 kills and 13 digs to secure her fifth double-double in her last six outings. Cati Leak made the most of her opportunities and powered home five kills on 11 swings for a .455 hitting percentage. She also collected 14 digs.

 

"I think that we redefined ourselves," Flory said. "We did a better job during the latter part of this week and figured out how to use our personnel a little better. The balance we had with Cati Leak was a little more efficient even though she had a little less swings. She was involved in the offense which provided open opportunities for our big three of Helen Boyle, Desiree Elliott and Madie Jones."

 

LSU's back row defense racked up 64-46 advantage in digs and had four players garner double figure scoops. Meghan Mannari returned to the libero role and sprawled out for a match-high 18 digs, while Sam Delahoussaye chipped in 13 scoops.

 

South Carolina was led by Juliette Thévenin's 18 kills and Taylor Bruns' 34 assists. Thévenin and Paige Wheeler corralled 12 digs apiece, while Bethanie Thomas popped 10 kills for the Gamecocks.

 

"I think the two days off on Thursday and Friday really helped us physically and mentally because we were tired," Mannari said. "We just needed a break. Those two days off gave us a momentum change and a mentality change. It gave us time to gain our intensity back. We wanted to come on the court and restart a whole new season with today's match. I think we did a good job of doing just that."

 

The first set featured 20 ties and 12 lead changes with neither going ahead by more than a two-point margin. South Carolina held the first two set point chances at 24-23 and 25-24. However, the Tigers used kills from Pardo and Jones to draw even. LSU fought off a third set point down 27-26 on Jones' seventh spike of the stanza. Thévenin followed with a USC hitting error and Boyle delivered the deciding kill to lift LSU to the 29-27 dramatic victory.

South Carolina was poised to even the match at a set apiece. The Gamecocks built a 17-10 advantage after a Bruins kills. However, LSU ripped off 12 of the next 13 points to turn the tables and snatch a 22-18 lead. Elliott powered home four of her seven kills in the set, while Boyle added three kills to ignite the run. Down 23-19, South Carolina pieced together a final flurry with three Thévenin kills coupled with a Pardo ball handling error to knot the tally at 23-23. LSU regrouped and Jones provided back-to-back kills to vault the Tigers to the 25-23 comeback win.

 

LSU used that momentum and raced out to a 15-5 lead to start the third set. The Tigers never looked back and led wire-to-wire. Boyle powered home three consecutive kills, while Elliott banged home the deciding spike during the 25-12 rout. LSU also converted on 9-of-13 in the sideout department.

 

"That [second] set was a set of runs," Flory said. "We seized that momentum and maintained it. The good thing for us, though, is that when we take those opportunities, we've given them away with a serving error and killed our own runs. Once you get a team on their heels and keep applying pressure, it's awfully hard for them to make a play against you."

 

For the second straight week, LSU will be showcased on ESPNU's Wednesday Night Volleyball when the Tigers meet preseason SEC favorite Tennessee. First serve is slated for 7 p.m., and live stats will be available inside the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net/live.

 

Admission to all 2012 home matches at the Maravich Center is free compliments of the Advocate's "Geaux Free" program. 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.

 

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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