ATHENS, Ga. — Malorie Pardo equaled a career-high 60 assists, had 10 digs and saved three match points on her serve during the fifth set to propel the LSU volleyball team to a 3-2 win over Georgia — 20-25, 25-17, 25-16, 21-25, 18-16 — Sunday at the Ramsey Center.
LSU (17-8, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) saved six total match points during the deciding set to maintain its one-match lead over Arkansas, a three-set winner over Auburn, in the SEC Western Division.
Pardo fueled the Tigers to a .316 team hitting percentage as LSU had four players with double-figure kills.
“This is a team that is beginning to believe that it’s going to win no matter what when it steps out to the court,” LSU coach Fran Flory said.
“We’ve worked extremely hard to get to that point, and it’s nice to see the players reap the benefits of their hard work. I don’t think we want to be down six match points every match. We had so many players contribute make key moments. That’s the sign of a team that continues to get better, and I believe that our best volleyball is still ahead of us.”
Madie Jones had five of her 21 kills during the fifth set, Michelle Williams had 19 kills and seven blocks, Desiree Elliott had 12 kills and five blocks, and Helen Boyle had 11 kills and 10 digs.
Meghan Mannari had 24 digs and three aces.
Georgia (10-16, 6-10) was paced by Kathleen Luft’s 20 kills. Briana Bahr had 15 kills, and Brittany Northcutt had seven kills and 19 digs.
LSU hosts No. 17 Florida at 7 p.m. Friday inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Admission is free courtesy of the Advocate’s Geaux Free program.
TIGERS AWAIT NCAA TOURNAMENT SELECTION SHOW: The LSU soccer team turns its attention to the NCAA postseason as the Tigers anticipate their fourth NCAA tournament berth in five seasons. The field of 64 is set for announcement at 3:30 p.m. Monday with a live webcast at NCAA.com.
The Tigers (13-7-1, 8-3 SEC) are poised for an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament or the first time since 2009. LSU is ranked No. 30 in the NCAA’s latest Ratings Percentage Index released Wednesday and has a 3-1-1 record against teams ranked in the Top 25.
“We’re all excited for Monday,” said senior Allysha Chapman, the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. “We’ve earned a spot in the NCAA tournament and hope to get a good draw. We know we’re a great team when we play the way we’re capable. We just have to play our best soccer consistently when we get there, and if we do that, I know we can make a good run.
“I think it was really a blessing in disguise to lose in the first round of the SEC tournament because we’re all getting much needed rest that will help us prepare to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament,” Chapman said.