The LSU volleyball team will face its toughest challenge of the season and heads into the second leg of its three-weekend road swing with a pair of matches at Miami.
The Tigers (6-0) and Hurricanes (4-1) will meet at 6 p.m. Friday and again at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
LSU posted its second consecutive 3-0 weekend en route to the Rice Invitational title where the Tigers swept Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas A&M Corpus Christi before grinding out a four-set win over Rice. Khourtni Fears, Briana Holman and Katie Lindelow earned all-tournament team honors with Holman named MVP.
“It was another really good weekend,” LSU coach Fran Flory said. “The best thing that came out of the weekend was winning on the road. That is the key to any type of championship season. Secondly, our efficiency improved. We changed how we ran things. The first weekend we were an outside oriented team, and last weekend we were really able to rely on our middles.”
Miami, which is receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll, will be playing its first home matches of the season. The Hurricanes possess a balanced offens and have five players averaging more than 2.00 kills per set. Savanah Leaf has powered home a team-leading 3.84 kills per set to rank fifth among the ACC leaders. On the back row, Ryan Shaffer has gathered 4.58 digs per set, third-highest in the ACC.
“Miami has become a really great matchup,” Flory said. “We have a lot of respect for them and for their program. Their middles are really similar to Rice’s middles in terms of the system they run. They have a great right side hitter in Alex Johnson, and they do a really good job of staying balanced and understanding the game. Hopefully, this will prepare us for the SEC. We will play a lot of teams twice in the SEC. I am interested to see how our team is going to respond to playing Friday and implementing a separate game plan Saturday. The goal is for us to make the adjustments and adapt to them.”
LSU AT SFA, RICE: LSU (3-2-1)will look to build momentum heading into the start of Southeastern Conference play next week as they wrap up nonconference play with a game at 7 p.m. Friday at Stephen F. Austin (4-1-1) in Nacogdoches, Texas, and then face Rice at 1 p.m. Sunday in Houston.
In their last match, the Tigers beat previously unbeaten and 13th-ranked USC Trojans 1-0 Sunday at the Minnesota Gold Classic in Minneapolis, Minn.
SFA (4-1-1) , which won the Southland Conference regular season and tournament titles last season, is riding a two-game winning streak.
“This will be a tough weekend for our team to go back on the road and finish up our nonconference season against two quality opponents,” said LSU coach Brian Lee.