LSU’s Flory hits 400 wins, volleyball rallies to beat South Carolina on the road

Published 1:45 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021

Fran Flory notched her 400th win as the Head Coach of LSU Volleyball (8-11, 4-6 SEC), as they defeated South Carolina (11-7, 3-5 SEC) on Wednesday night in five sets. The Tigers dropped the first two sets, 23-25, 21-25, before fighting all the way back to win the next three, 25-16, 25-18, 15-12.

“I do not win any matches, the players score the points,” Flory said humbly. “I am proud to be coaching at LSU and proud to have great players and great staffs that has helped me get to this point.”

The comeback, known as a “reverse sweep,” is the first for LSU since Nov. 24, 2017, when the Tigers trailed 0-2 to Tennessee before winning three consecutive sets.

“It was a gutsy performance from our kids,” Flory said. “We grew up in this match. South Carolina is a tough team and a tough place to win. For us to maintain our composure and have great poise with out backs against the wall, I cannot say enough about how maturely we played.”

In an incredibly well-fought match, the Tigers edged the attacking battle, recording 61 kills on a .273 hitting percentage, while South Carolina mustered 56 kills on a .177 hitting percentage. The Tigers had 10 service aces to the Gamecocks’ six, and were able to dig the ball out more effectively (67-57). LSU also used its height to their favor, posting 15 blocks as a team while South Carolina had just six.

LSU had three players reach double-digit kills, including outside hitter Kylie DeBerg’s 15 kills and 13 digs (her sixth double-double of the year) on a .405 kill percentage, as well as four service aces. Right side Taylor Bannister added 14 kills, eight digs, and seven blocks.

Outside hitter Hannah Brister made a huge late-match impact, tying her season-high with 14 kills behind a .407 hitting percentage and added 12 digs for her first double-double this season in just three sets.

Libero Raigen Cianciulli had 13 digs, while setter Ella Larkin posted 45 assists and 9 digs. Middle blockers Anita Anwusi and Allee Morris combined for 11 total blocks.

“I am very proud of Ella Larkin in how she ran and managed the offense even when our first contact was not great,” Flory said. “Hannah Brister was the one who made the difference in the match. I am very excited for our team to have that kind of performance and win this type of match on the road. It was a huge performance for us.”

South Carolina was led by outside hitter Kyla Manning, who posted a double-double on 16 kills and 12 digs. Outside hitter Lauren McCutcheon also had a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs, and libero Morgan Carter added a match-high 14 digs.

Set 1

  • The Gamecocks opened with a 3-1 lead before three Tiger points, including an ace from outside hitter Paige Flickinger that gave LSU the lead.
  • In a set with 14 ties and nine lead changes, a kill and ace from DeBerg gave LSU an 8-7 advantage. With the score tied at 12, South Carolina took three straight to lead 15-12 into the media timeout.
  • Middle Blocker Mikayla Robinsons’ third kill of the set gave South Carolina a 19-16 lead. The Tigers won six of the next eight points to lead 22-21 and force a South Carolina timeout.
  • The Gamecocks battled back, winning four of the last five points to take the set, 25-23.

Set 2

  • Outside hitter Sanaa Dotson started the set with two immediate kills as LSU led 5-3. Two aces from Bannister and a DeBerg kill helped push it to 10-4.
  • South Carolina went on a 7-1 run to tie things at 11. A kill from setter Mallory Dixon put the Gamecocks ahead before another Bannister kill leveled things.
  • In another heated set, the teams exchanged long rallies and powerful serves. After an attacking error by the Gamecocks knotted it at 18, two DeBerg aces put the Tigers up, 20-18.
  • After tying it for the 12th time of the set at 21, the Gamecocks won the final four points to win the second set, 25-21.

Set 3

  • The Tigers took five consecutive points early in the third set to lead 5-2, but South Carolina produced a 4-0 run later to gain an 8-7 advantage.
  • With a 10-10 scoreline, LSU went on a 5-1 run to lead 15-11 going into the media timeout.
  • LSU kept their momentum going, stretching the lead to 17-12 and then 23-14.
  • Two late kills from Brister gave the Tigers a 25-16 set victory. LSU hit .393 in the set with a 75.0 side-out percentage, while South Carolina hit .062.

Set 4

  • After dropping the first point of set four, the Tigers exploded for eight consecutive points led by Brister who had four kills.
  • Two Gamecock kills trimmed the lead to 8-3 before Brister’s fifth kill in the early going.
  • The Tigers kept their advantage for the entire set. South Carolina cut the deficit to 17-14 before two Bannister kills re-established a comfortable lead.
  • LSU was able to pull away and force a decisive fifth set, winning set four, 25-18.

Set 5

  • LSU jumped out to a 5-2 lead thanks to kills from Bannister and Anwusi.
  • South Carolina took the lead, 8-7, before two Brister kills and one from DeBerg made it 10-8 LSU.
  • The Gamecocks fought back to tie it again at 10 before two more Bannister kills put the nail in the coffin. The Tigers won the final set, 15-12.

UP NEXT

The Tigers are back in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to take on No. 20 Tennessee this weekend. The matches will be played on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. They will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and ESPNU, respectively.

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