GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The LSU volleyball team extended No. 16 Florida to four sets but fell 25-22, 22-25, 11-25, 13-25 on Friday in front of 3,150 fans at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Entering the match, the Gators (22-4, 16-1 SEC) had registered a .308 team hitting percentage, which not only paced the SEC but was second nationally. LSU (12-15, 8-10) limited the high-octane Florida attack to a season-low .177 hitting percentage.
Florida used six stuffs in the fourth set to double its total and gain a 12-8 blocking advantage. The Gators also outdug LSU by a 73-60 margin. The victory enabled Florida to clinch a share of the SEC regular-season title.
Madie Jones fueled LSU’s offense with 11 kills, while Marissa Maas pounded home a season-best seven kills on a crisp .375 hitting percentage and added three blocks. Khourtni Fears chipped in five kills and three stuffs.
Cati Leak and Desiree Elliott slapped seven and five kills. But the duo committed 19 of LSU’s 27 hitting errors. Elliott came away with a career-high 11 digs, the first time she has reached double figures.
Malorie Pardo nearly missed her 12th double-double of SEC action. The sophomore setter passed out 27 assists, eight digs and three kills on four errorless swings.
Meghan Mannari sprawled out for 19 digs and recorded LSU’s only ace. The 19 scoops for Mannari allowed her to pass Detra Brown (1983-86) for the No. 9 spot on the program’s all-time list. The Tigers were plagued by a season-high 17 service errors.
LSU completes its four-match road swing Sunday at Tennessee, which is receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll. First serve is set for noon from Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.
Swimming and diving
MEN LEAD AT INVITATIONAL: In Houston, the LSU swimming and diving program recorded multiple NCAA provisional cuts and season bests during Day 2 of the Phil Hansel Invitational hosted by the University of Houston.
The No. 19 Lady Tigers are competing against 13 women’s teams, while the No. 20 Tigers are competing against four men’s teams. After the second day, the men’s team is in first place with 694.5 points, and the women are fourth with 324.5 points.
Alex Bettridge won the one-meter springboard competition with a score of 305.20. The Austin, Texas, native’s mark was a career best and bettered her seventh best all-time program score.
“She competed like Alex can compete when she turns the trigger on,” diving coach Doug Shaffer said.
Prelim competition will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, and the finals start at 5 p.m.