LSU No. 1 nationally ranked women’s volleyball team, on an 11-match win streak when the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, restarts its engines this weekend with four matches in the Houston Baptist Tournament.
Led by six players who all returned for a second senior season taking advantage of the NCAA’s one-time offer of an extra year of eligibility, the Tigers are determined to the finish the job they started a year ago.
“The approach has definitely not changed,” said senior Kristen Nuss, who was just named CCSA Preseason Player of the Year. “We still have that national championship goal. Being No. 1, we’re not really satisfied with it. Yes we’re No. 1 to start the season, but we want to be No. 1 to end the season.”
LSU opens the season at 11 a.m. Friday vs. Houston Baptist, then play Texas A&M=Corpus Christi at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the Tigers will take on New Orleans at 8 a.m. and finish against Houston Baptist once more at 2:30 p.m. Fans can follow @LSUBeachVB on twitter for in-match score updates.
Nuss is one of the six Tigers’ two-time seniors along with Claire Coppola, Taryn Kloth, Toni Rodriguez, Jess Lansman and Olivia Ordonez.
“Every year we try to figure out how to be better than the year before,” LSU beach volleyball coach Russell Brock said. “With every single piece back, you’ve either got to hope that everybody has improved or maybe you tweak some things. That’s the process of working our way through the season and looking at options within the competitive environment that may give us that leg up.”
Lineups have not been set, because there is a waiting list of talented impact players.
The one sure thing is the pairing of Nuss and Coppola since they have 103 career wins as the third NCAA pair to reach the 100-win mark. Two seasons ago, Coppola and Nuss set a school record for wins in a season at 33-4 including 16 straight wins.
LSU was 12-2 last season after playing what became its two final matches of the year on March 7 at TCU’s Fight in the Fort in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I try not to think about how many days it’s been since we put on the jerseys and got to play somebody else,” Brock said. “Now we can look forward to something that is really close and we’re really excited to be doing it again. We’ve got a great squad so we have high expectations.”