STARKVILLE, Miss. - The LSU volleyball team (18-7, 9-5 SEC) took care of business on the road, defeating Mississippi State in straight sets by scores of 25-20, 25-8 and 25-21 in the Newell-Grissom Buidling.
The Tigers were led by freshman Taylor Bannister, who finished with a match-high 10 kills on 17 attempts for a .412 hitting percentage. Junior Toni Rodriguez added nine kills while sophomore Jacqui Armer registered eight kills. Freshman Raigen Cianciulli anchored down the back row with a match-high 15 digs. Senior Gina Tillis added 10 digs while sophomore Anna Zwiebel finished with 32 assists.
Fran's Final Thoughts
"This is a match that we can mark off. We are excited to come here and get the win. At times we played really, really well and then we kind of let our foot off the throttle. I was proud of our fight and really proud of our preparation. Starkville is never an easy place to play but this is one of the best execution levels we have had in this building in a long time."
The Tigers started off strong with a 6-3 lead. Mississippi State tied the set up at 9-9 but the Tigers went on a 6-1 run to lead the Bulldogs 15-10 into the media timeout. The Tigers added a 5-0 run that helped push their lead to nine, 20-11. Mississippi State went on a 6-2 run to come within five, 22-17, but the Tigers won the first set 25-20.
LSU started the second set by scoring nine of the first 10 points of the set, including back-to-back kills by Tillis in the first three points. The Tigers pushed their lead to 14-3 and then to 19-5 before Mississippi State called timeout. The Tigers only allowed the Bulldogs to score three more points in the set, taking the set 25-8 and a 2-0 lead on the match.
LSU started the second set with two straight points and went on to take a 6-3 lead. The two teams went point-for-point before the Tigers went on a 4-1 run to take a 12-7 advantage and led 15-8 at the media timeout. The Tigers led 16-9, but Mississippi State went on a 4-0 run to cut the Tigers lead to 16-13 and eventually tied up the set at 17-17. The set was tied up again at 20-20 before the Tigers went on a 5-1 run to win the set 25-21 and the match.
- In the second set, the Tigers only allowed the Bulldogs to score eight points, which is the fewest points allowed since the 2014 season and ranks tied for sixth in program history in fewest points allowed.
- The last time the Tigers had at least 18 wins in a season was in 2014. The Tigers finished that year 20-9 and 14-4 in the SEC, earning a post-season bid to the NCAA Tournament.
- The win is the first win in Starkville since the Tigers win on September 28, 2012. The Tigers now lead the all-time series versus Mississippi State 58-9. The last time the Tigers beat the Bulldogs twice in a season was in 2012.
The Tigers return home next week, playing host to Auburn on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. CT in the Maravich Center. The match will air live on the SEC Network and will be available on WatchESPN.com and the app.