LSU volleyball sweeps Georgia

LSU's Taylor Bannister leads the volleyball Tigers into their season opener this week.

LSU’s senior left-side hitter Taylor Bannister became the school’s No. 2 leader in career kills during Saturday’s 3-1 Southeastern Conference victory over Georgia at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers (9-11) followed a marathon 3-2 win over the Bulldogs on Friday for a weekend sweep going into the March 24-25 season finale at Tennessee. Both matches are scheduled for 2 p.m.

Bannister, who had a season-high 30 kills in Saturday’s match, piled up a team-high 18 kills to reach 1,605 in her career. She passed both Leah Bennett (1,590) and Wendy Stammer (1,592).

“We have said from the beginning that Taylor is special,” LSU volleyball coach Fran Flory said. “For her to have the night she had, which is National Player of the Week type numbers, and then to come back tonight and have 18 kills in four sets is just a breakout weekend. She is still growing and getting better, and the best is yet to come.”

Paige Flickinger had a double-double with 14 kills and 21 digs, while Hannan Brister added 13 kills, setter Karli Rose 46 assists and five digs and Ragen Cianciulli 27 digs in LSU’s win on Saturday by a score of 25-19, 14-25, 25-13 and 30-28.

LSU won two of the first three sets and grabbed a 4-0 lead in the fourth set after Brister’s service ace. Georgia rallied to tie the score at 6-6 and 9-9 when the Tigers pulled ahead 19-16 with the 13th lead change of the set and were able to pull out the narrow win.

LSU began the weekend Friday by claiming the first two sets – 25-16, 25-17 – before dropping the next two 20-25, 22-25 – and rallying to win the match 15-13.

The Tigers had a season-high .321 attack percentage.

Bannister’s season-high 30 kills were her highest single-game total in almost three years. Brister added 13 kills and Rose added a double-double with 49 assists and 11 digs.

Cianciulli contributed a double-double with 20 digs and 10 assists and Flickinger 13 digs.

Bannister contributed three kills in the fifth and decisive set, part of 4-0 run, that put LSU ahead 9-8. Brister added a block, while Allee Morris and Rose combined on a block to make it 11-8.

“I keep saying this team is getting better and finally the proof is being shown,” Flory said. “It’s fun to see them win and see the training and their fight pay off.”

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