LSU’s volleyball team was able to force a fifth and deciding set Thursday at Tennessee, but it was the Lady Vols that grabbed the lead midway through and pulled away for a 15-11 victory over the Tigers in the regular season finale.
LSU (9-13) closed out its coronavirus-impacted 2020-21 season, which lasted a school-record 159 days since the Tigers opened the season Oct. 17 at Texas A&M. The Tigers were 6-10 during the spring portion of their SEC-only schedule.
LSU opened with a 28-26 win in the first set but watched Tennessee storm back for wins in the second and third sets (25-23, 25-16) when the Tigers answered in the fourth set with a 25-18 victory.
The Tigers led in the early stages of the final set, the last time at 4-3 on Allie Morris’ kill when the Lady Vols went on a 7-2 run to lead 10-6 and never looked back.
Three LSU attack errors led to three points for UT which opened a 13-8 lead when the Tigers benefitted from three consecutive errors from the Lady Vols and closed to within, 13-11.
UT closed out the match with consecutive kills.
Senior left-side hitter Taylor Bannister, who is scheduled to take advantage of the NCAA’s additional year of eligibility return for the fall, led LSU with 22 kills and 16 digs. She finished the season with a team-best 385 kills.
The Tigers also got double-double performances from senior outside hitter Hannah Brister with 11 kills and 11 digs and setter Karli Rose with 26 assists and 13 digs, her 10th double-double of the season.
Middle blocker Whitney Foreman contributed 10 kills and five total blocks and libero Raigen Cianciulli added 19 digs and middle blocker Alia Williams 20 assists.
In Wednesday’s match, LSU followed suit and won the opening set (25-22) but couldn’t sustain its momentum and enabled Tennessee to rally for a 25-18, 25-23, 26-24 victory.
The Tigers rallied from a 20-17 deficit to win the first set, pulled even at 20-all and got a big kill from Foreman, benefitted from two errors and Anita Anwusi’s kill to win 25-22.
Bannister had a team-high 13 kills and nine digs, while Foreman added 11 kills and three blocks, Rose 42 assists and 12 digs and Anwusi five total blocks.