LSU volleyball claims Tiger Classic title

The LSU volleyball team racked up 18 blocks, nine apiece from Briana Holman and Madi Mahaffey, as the Tigers battled their way to a five-set victory over San Diego State 25-17, 18-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11 to claim the Tiger Classic championship Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

With the victory, LSU (3-0) secured its first undefeated weekend since 2010. The last time the Tigers faced San Diego State (2-1) was during the 1991 season, when LSU went to its last NCAA Final Four.

“I said it before the match that we have to be patient with our blocking,” LSU coach Fran Flory said. “It’s a work in progress, and it’s going to show up at some point. I really didn’t expect it to happen tonight, but I’m certainly happy that it did. We were very disciplined, and we did a really good job of getting in front of their hitters in key situations. We weren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we did a great job of taking away their hitters best opportunities and making them hit a secondary shot. Ultimately, that’s the goal of every blocker.”

Holman had a team-leading and career-best 15 kills on a .359 hitting percentage. Cati Leak, the Tiger Classic MVP, added her third double-double of the weekend. She buried 14 kills and reeled in 12 digs.

Desiree Elliott and Malorie Pardo collected Tiger Classic All-Tournament team honors. Pardo handed out 41 assists to go along with eight digs, while Elliott had nine kills, six digs and five blocks. The 41 assists brought Pardo’s career total to 2,441, and she is 18 assists away from passing Luciana Santana (1992-95) for sixth place on LSU’s all-time list. Elliott’s nine spikes enabled her to pull within 30 kills of Meagan Davis (1998-2001) for No. 18 on the program’s leaderboard.

Laura Whalen and Katie Lindelow fueled LSU’s back row group with 14 and 12 digs, respectively.

San Diego State had three players notch double-figure kills, headed by Raegan Shelton’s 22 spikes. Johnna Fouch distributed a match-high 56 assists whereas Courtney Vaccarello added a match-best 25 digs for the Aztecs.

Earlier in the day, Pardo dished out a career-high 68 assists to go along with 13 digs and sparked Cati Leak and Desiree Elliott to career performances in a 29-31, 25-19, 27-25, 25-23 over UC Davis.

It was the first-ever meeting between LSU (2-0) and UC Davis (0-2) in volleyball.

Leak had a career-best 31 kills on 62 attempts and her .452 hitting percentage was her third-highest career output. The last time a LSU player amassed 30 kills in a match was Carmis Frankis, who had 30 kills against South Carolina on Oct. 23, 1998.

Elliott provided 22 kills on a .487 hitting ratio and reeled in 12 digs to compile her first career double dip. The 22 kills equaled her second-highest career total and enabled her to move past former All-American Lauren DeGlrolamo for 19th place on LSU’s all-time list. Emily Ehrle and Madi Mahaffey tallied six kills apiece, while Mahaffey added four blocks.

LSU’s back row unit was led by Katie Lindelow’s career-high 28 digs, and the Tigers came away with a solid 65 percent sideout efficiency. Laura Whalen recorded 10 digs and was a perfect 26-for-26 on her reception attempts.

Kaylin Squyres (24 kills, 10 digs) and Devon Damelio (15 kills, 16 digs) notched double-doubles to lead UC Davis.