BATON ROUGE – LSU Volleyball (6-9, 2-4 SEC) was defeated by No. 20 Florida (11-5, 4-1SEC) on Saturday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, 3-1. LSU took a hard-fought first set, 25-22, but dropped the next three, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19.
The Tigers were led by outside hitters Kylie DeBerg, who had 13 kills and two blocks, and Sanaa Dotson, who contributed 10 kills on a .435 kill percentage.
Outside hitter Hannah Brister played in the final two sets and clocked eight kills and a hitting percentage of .438. Setters Ella Larkin and Karli Rose handed out 19 and 18 assists, respectively.
LSU held Florida to a hitting percentage of .214, well below their season average of .299, behind 12 blocks. Florida served well however with seven service aces, while the Tigers finished with no aces.
Middle blocker Lauren Forte led the Gators with 15 kills on 23 swings and just two errors (.565) and added four blocks. Outside hitter Merritt Beason followed with 13 kills, and outside hitter T’Ara Ceasar rounded out the top hitters and had a double-double with 12 kills, 20 digs and had a match-high three aces.
- Both teams went on impressive runs early in the set as the teams tied seven times and had five lead changes. Florida fired four straight points to lead 8-5, but LSU won five straight points of their own shortly after to take a 12-10 advantage.
- After a timeout, the Gators took six of the next seven points to lead 16-13. LSU, led by Dotson’s five kills, continued to fight ferociously, tying the game at 21 and forcing a Gator timeout.
- Florida won the next point, but LSU took the final four points of the set to win 25-22.
- It was the Gators’ first set loss since Sept. 24. Dotson led the way for the Tigers with five kills and a .625 hitting percentage.
- Florida jumped out to a 7-3 lead thanks to two kills from Forte before middle blocker Whitney Foreman’s second kill of the set made it 7-4.
- The Gators took four of the next five points to lead 11-5 and force an LSU timeout. After the timeout, the Tigers went on a 5-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 13-10.
- Florida continued to hold a steady lead with the score at 17-12. Two kills and a service ace from Ceasar pushed it to 20-12.
- LSU fought valiantly, with outside hitter Taylor Bannister recording a late solo block and kill, but Florida was able to pull away, winning 25-17.
- Florida exploded on a 9-0 run early to lead 10-2 and force an LSU timeout.
- DeBerg clocked two early kills, and a 3-0 Tiger run made it 14-9 before Florida responded with two straight kills.
- LSU kept chipping away at the Gators’ lead, and Brister came off the bench to log three kills and help cut the lead to 21-18.
- The Gators would close the set out on a 4-0 run, taking the set by a score of 25-18.
- The set was evenly fought throughout and a Brister kill made it 6-6, the sixth tie in the early going.
- Two kills from middle blocker Allee Morris and one from Rose gave the Tigers a 12-9 lead, but Florida won three straight points to tie it up.
- After Brister fired two straight kills to give LSU a 15-13 lead, the Gators won six of the next seven to take a 19-16 lead.
- Florida’s Beason recorded two late kills for the Gators, and they won four of the last five points to close out the set, 25-19.
The Tigers will be back in the PMAC at noon on Sunday, Oct. 10, to complete the back-to-back weekend against No. 20 Florida. The match will shown on SEC Network.
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