It was an unexpectedly long, but fruitful day for the third ranked LSU beach volleyball team Friday in Huntsville, Ala.
After beating Missouri State 4-1 earlier in the day in the CCSA championships and a schedule change moving the quarterfinals from Saturday morning to Friday night, LSU edged TCU 3-2 to advance to the CCSA Aqua Bracket semi-finals.
The Tigers (24-5) will play top-seeded Florida State at 2:30 p.m in the semis. The Seminoles (30-4) own two wins over LSU this season, 4-1 in Baton Rouge in the LSU Beach Challenge on March 6 and 3-2 in Gulf Shores in the March to May on March 13.
“The one thing that we know we have to pull off is defeating that team,” LSU head coach Russell Brock said of FSU. “We’ve been close, but close doesn’t cut it. We’ve got a shot tomorrow and it would be a great place to do it.
“The weather might be bad and it’s another scenario where timing may be off as far as the schedule, but those are all excuses and the team that responds best to whatever scenario is out there will have the best chance to win. We want to be that team.”
The Tigers got a third shot at Florida State with a dramatic Court 5 win from Olivia Ordonez and Kahlee York over TCU’s Josie Miller and Caroline White 21-15, 19-21, 15-6 to break the 2-2 tie for the quarterfinal win.
The LSU duo trailed 5-6 in the third set but swept the remaining 10 points. Ordonez seemed to block everything at the net and with everyone packed around Court 5, Ordonez and York won, sending the Tigers to the semi-finals.
“I’m really proud of the fives,” Brock said. “We’ve needed them to come through in big matches this year so to have them do it in such a clutch way in a big moment is a huge testament to the hard work they’ve put in the last few weeks to get better. We needed that tonight.”
LSU wasn’t not supposed to play its match against TCU until Saturday morning. But inclement weather is expected in the Huntsville area throughout the day Saturday. The Tigers found out just before 3 p.m. Friday that it would be playing TCU Friday night.
“That could have been something that derailed us or gave us an excuse,” Brock said. “All the way through the lineup, we battled. We knew TCU was going to come in with a lot of energy because that’s their M.O. To be able to stand up against that was huge.
“We love getting 5-0 finishes, but we also have to know we can finish when it’s tight.”