BATON ROUGE - Outside hitter Sanaa Dotson registered a season-high 21 kills and a.581 hitting percentage to lead the LSU Volleyball (5-6, 1-1) team in a five-set win over Alabama (8-6, 0-2) Saturday night in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in front of 1,013 fans.
The Tigers won the first set, 25-16, before dropping the next two, 25-22, 25-16. LSU forced the fifth set after an impressive fourth frame (25-14) that featured a .739 hitting percentage and earned the fifth set victory 15-12. The Tigers have won three consecutive SEC home openers.
The Tigers had 69 kills to Alabama's 52, and the Tigers also held a superior hitting percentage of .362 to .221 in the match overall. They also posted nine blocks while the Tide had five.
Behind Dotson's stellar performance, outside hitter Kylie Deberg recorded her third double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs, and libero Raigen Cianciulli tallied another 20-dig game with 21 to lead all players. Right side Taylor Bannister also added 11 kills.
Outside hitters Shaye Eggleston and Kendyl Reaugh led Alabama with 11 kills each. Right sider Kennedy Muckelroy had 10 kills, and outside hitter Sami Jacobs recorded 10 digs.
- LSU began the game firing on all cylinders, taking seven of the first eight points to build a 7-1 lead and force an Alabama timeout.
- Alabama returned from the timeout and went on a run of their own to cut the Tiger lead to 9-8.
- The teams traded points after that, battling to a 16-15 score in favor of LSU.
- The Tigers would break the deadlock, rallying for nine of the last ten points to win the set, 25-16.
- Dotson and middle blocker Anita Anwusi led the way with four kills and each and a hitting percentage of .800. Bannister and Deberg each contributed 3 kills, and the Tigers hit a collective .406.
- The teams fought to a 9-9 score to begin the second set, with Deberg and Alabama's Abby Marjama each clocking two early kills for their respective teams.
- Alabama would take the next four points to lead 13-9 and force an LSU timeout. LSU responded well after the break, winning six of the next eight points to tie things up at 15.
- The set would remain incredibly balanced, with 11 ties and five lead changes as Alabama led 20-18.
- After the Tide tacked on to their lead to make it 23-19, LSU rallied for three straight points to cut the lead to one and force an Alabama timeout. But the Tide took the last two points able to close it out, 25-22.
- Both teams hit .324 in the set. The Tigers were led by Deberg's five kills and Bannister's four kills.
- Alabama took a 6-4 lead thanks to a pair of kills from Shaye Eggleston. Despite a pair of kills from Anwusi, the Tigers would trail 12-6 before a timeout.
- Hannah Brister would fire two straight kills for the Tigers after the break, but Alabama maintained their lead, 19-13, leading to another Tiger timeout.
- The Tide kept their foot on the gas for the remainder of the set, ending the game on a 8-3 run to win, 25-16.
- The Tigers would be the team to jump out to an early lead in the fourth set, leading 9-4 with middle blocker Whitney Foreman recording two kills and a block assist.
- Alabama's Brooke Slussler put away two consecutive aces to trim the lead, but LSU would continue to lead 15-11 thanks to five early kills from Deberg.
- The Tigers won seven of the next eight points following the timeout to force another one from the Tide with the score at 21-12.
- LSU continued to apply pressure down the stretch of the fourth set, finishing on a 12-3 run to win the set, 25-14.
- The Tigers finished the set with seventeen kills without a single error and a hitting percentage of .739, while Alabama only hit .050.
- The fifth and final set was tense from the jump; six of the first eight points were via errors as Alabama led, 5-3.
- Three kills from Dotson would level the score at 7 and force a timeout from the Tide.
- Both teams fought valiantly, and there were seven ties before LSU began to pull away.
- With the score knotted up at 11, the Tigers won four of the final five points to close out the game, 15-12.
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. in Starkville, Miss. as they take on Mississippi State. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.