OXFORD, Miss. -- Down 0-2 with Ole Miss in complete control, the LSU volleyball team fought back to take down the Rebels 12-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-13 and capture its first Southeastern Conference win Wednesday night at the Pavilion at Ole Miss.
The Tigers improved to 6-10 and 1-4 in conference play. The Rebels dropped to 12-5 and 1-3 in the league.
The spark for the Tigers came in the third set when the defense combined for 21 digs and five blocks. Ole Miss hit less than .100 in two of the final three sets. Sophomore Olivia Beyer and freshman Sydney Mukes also provided a catalyst for the Tigers with two and four kills respectively.
"Tonight we played like Fighting Tigers," head coach Fran Flory said. "I am proud of our fight and our resiliency after we backed ourselves into a corner. We recovered and found a way to succeed. Olivia was outstanding off the bench and was the difference in the match. Hopefully this will allow us to gain a bit of confidence and trust moving forward."
LSU returns to Baton Rouge for a couple of days off before returning to action against Georgia at 12:30 p.m. CT Sunday. The matchup between the Tigers and Bulldogs will be streamed live on SECNetwork+ through WatchESPN.com and the app.
The Tigers hit .000 in the opening set on six kills and six attacking errors. On the other side of the court, Ole Miss finished the frame by putting 17 balls away and committing just four errors for a .317 hitting percentage. After LSU got the set to 15-10 after a timeout, the Rebels closed the set on a 10-2 run to win the set 25-12.
LSU improved with a .143 hitting percentage on nine kills and five errors. The Rebels came out on fire in the second set with 18 kills and just two errors for a .552 hitting percentage. The two teams went back and forth early in the set with Ole Miss eventually taking control and winning 25-18.
LSU found its rhythm in the third set. The Tigers finished with 12 kills and just six errors in the frame. Defensively, LSU showed off with a dominant five blocks and 21 digs. Beyer entered the match and provided a steady effort with two kills and three block assists. With Ole Miss closing in on LSU's lead, the Tigers took a timeout and finished the set on a 4-0 run to stay alive.
Senior Tiara Gibson led the way with an outstanding five kills and junior Gina Tillis followed with four to pace the Tigers. LSU put away a set-best 13 kills in the frame and committed just three errors. Up until 14-14, the Tigers and Rebels went back and forth. At the media timeout, the Tigers found their groove and went on an 11-4 run to push the match to a decisive fifth set.
After Flory took her final timeout of the match, the Rebels went on to take a 12-9 lead. LSU responded though with a kill by Mukes and by taking advantage of a pair of Rebel attacking errors to tie the set at 12 and force Ole Miss to take a timeout. Out of the timeout, LSU won three of the final four points thanks to a kill by Mukes and two more Ole Miss attacking errors.