No. 20 Tennessee volleyballers edge LSU

LSU’s volleyball Tigers took No. 20 Tennessee to five sets Saturday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center before losing 14-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 13-15.

‘Libero Raigen Cianciulli of LSU became the Southeastern Conference’s career leader in digs at 2,146 after her match-high 23 digs.

The Vols (16-3, 8-1 SEC) won the attacking battle, with 63 kills on a .261 hitting percentage. LSU logged 58 kills on a .203 hitting percentage. The Tigers (8-12, 4-7 SEC) had 69 digs to Tennessee’s 63, but the Vols had more service aces (11-6) and blocks (12-6).

“I thought we played really tough,” LSU coach Fran Flory said. “We did not play well, but we played tough and stood toe-to-toe with a good team. Their blocking took us out of our offense a little bit, but I am proud of our defense, and we had some great individual performances. We feel if we can be more efficient and play well, we will have a better opportunity next time.”

LSU had four players hit double-digit kills for the first time this season. Right side Taylor Bannister recorded her third double-double of the season, tallying 13 kills and 12 digs. Outside hitters Sanaa Doston and Hannah Brister each recorded 12 kills, and middle blocker Anita Anwusi added 10 kills and four blocks.

Setter Ella Larkin posted 47 assists and 8 digs, and outside hitter Paige Flickinger had three aces, two kills, and eight digs.

Tennessee was led by outside hitter Breana Runnels, who posted a double-double on 21 kills and 14 digs. Middle blocker Danielle Mahaffey had 13 kills and seven blocks, and right side Morgahn Fingall logged 11 kills and five blocks.

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