Both the LSU women’s and men’s cross country teams opened their 2021 season in successful fashion Friday with wins in the LSU Invitational at University Club.
The women won with a team score of 18, and the men tallied 21 points for their win. LSU’s Katy-Ann McDonald also won the women’s individual title with a 5k time of 17 minutes, 56.75 seconds.
“I saw some good things today; it’s always good to get the first one in the books,” LSU cross country coach Houston Franks said. “I thought we executed pretty well and showed some toughness. “That’s one of the things you look for early in the season. Conditions were hot and humid today, but I thought we competed really well this morning.”
Davis Bove (19:09.6) and Jackson Martingayle (19:12.6) were the top two finishers for LSU as they placed second and third, respectively. Those two finishes were the best of Bove’s and Martingayle’s cross country career.
LSU’s team score of 21 beat runner-up New Orleans’ team score of 40 by 19 points.
Will Dart crossed the finish line in fifth place with a personal best 6k time of 19:31.6, and was followed by Cade Martin who place seventh overall with a time of 19:42.3. Freshman Evan Pardo made his LSU debut with a scoring performance as he was the fifth LSU runner to cross the line for a 10th place finish with a time of 19:53.7.
McDonald ran away for the individual title, almost a full minute clear of the rest of the field. It is the second career cross country win for McDonald as she also won this event back in 2019. She averaged 3:35.4 for each kilometer she ran Friday.
LSU’s team total of 18 was 30 points clear of UNO, which placed second with a score of 48 points.
The duo of Ashley LaJocies (18:55.5) and Gwyneth Hughes (18:59.40) both cracked 19 minutes as they worked towards a two-three finish together. It makes it three straight races that LaJocies has scored for LSU and it’s Hughes’ first career race scoring for the Tigers. The times for both LaJocies and Hughes were personal bests.
Alicia Stamey came through the finishing chute in a time of 19:13.8 to place fifth overall, and Shelby Spoor was LSU’s final scorer in seventh place with a personal best of 19:58.2.
LSU’s women volleyball team scored its second consecutive win for the first time this season with a 10-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Samford Friday night to open the Samford Invitational in the Pete Hanna Center.
“I thought we came in undisciplined and unprepared, but we are fortunate to be able to turn it around and play some good volleyball in sets two, three, and four,” LSU head coach Fran Flory said. “In those final three sets we were very efficient and low-error.”
Outside hitter Kylie Deberg recorded her seventh consecutive match with double-digit kills as she paced the Tigers with 16 kills and added one ace and eight dig. Outside hitter Sanaa Dotson followed with 12 kills and hit .321 in the match, marking her second-straight match with a hitting percentage over .300.
“I was super proud of Sanaa Dotson who came in and had key moments for us when our normal key players struggled a little bit,” Flory said.
Setter Ella Larkin finished with 35 assists, eight digs, and four blocks. Middle blocker Whitney Foreman led all players with eight blocks and chipped in seven kills on 20 errorless swings (.350).
Defensive specialist Emmaline Walters anchored the defense with 12 digs and also had an ace, while libero Raigen Cianciulli followed with 11 digs.
“When we can get into uncomfortable situations and still succeed, then those are good situations to be in because it helps us grow as a team and gain confidence in understanding our system,” Flory said.
Outside hitter Lauren Deaton recorded a match-high 20 kills for Samford and contributed two aces, eight digs and a solo block. Outside hitter Kenya McQuirter turned in 12 kills, and outside hitter Sarah Hayes Farley rounded out the Bulldogs top hitters with 10 kills.
The Tigers (4-4) play again Saturday at 4 p.m. vs. Troy.