OMAHA, Neb. - A season-high 15 aces helped LSU (2-3) knock-off Ball State (2-4), 3-1 (19-25, 25-14, 25-13, 25-23) to conclude the Bluejay Invitational Sunday afternoon to at D.J. Sokol Arena.
The win ends a three-match skid for the Tigers, who hit .266 behind 52 kills on 49 assists. LSU had a solid defensive match where they dug 51 balls over four sets and recorded nine blocks to hold Ball State to a .144 hitting percentage - the lowest of any LSU opponent this season.
Outside hitter Jurnee Robinson had a match-high 17 kills, a season-high four blocks, and had three digs and two aces. Robinson earned a spot on the 2023 Bluejay Invitational All-Tournament Team after leading LSU with 43 total kills over three matches.
Five LSU Tigers registered multiple aces for the second time this season. Libero Erin Carmichael led the charge with five aces, marking the first time a Tiger has reached five aces in a single match since LSU alumni Taylor Bannister and current outside hitter Paige Flickinger accomplished the feat at Auburn in 2021.
Right side Jade Demps ended the match with 11 kills, seven digs, three aces and one block, while Flickinger had a match-high 13 digs in addition to eight kills and two aces. Middle blocker Anita Anwusi also had eight kills in the win.
Setter Maddie Waak directed the offense with 36 assists, three blocks, three kills and two aces, and freshman middle blocker Angie Lee led LSU with six blocks in her collegiate debut and also landed four kills.
An 8-1 run gave Ball State an 11-4 lead when LSU called its first timeout of the match. Although the Cardinals' lead ballooned to 10 at 19-9, the Tigers scored three consecutive points to force a Ball State timeout at 19-12. Ball State answered with a 5-1 run, making the score 24-13, but LSU stormed back with a 6-0 run highlighted by four consecutive aces from Carmichael. However, the Cardinals survived the threat and won the opening set, 25-19.
LSU built off its first set late momentum and opened with an ace from Flickinger to jumpstart a 9-3 run for the Tigers. After the Cardinals scored three points in a row, the Tigers responded with four straight points to increase their lead to 13-6 and force a Ball State timeout. Ball State scored the first point out of the break, but another 8-2 burst by LSU made the score 21-9 as they rolled to a 25-14 set win. The Tigers served five aces in the set and had a .370 hitting percentage led by five kills from Robinson. LSU also held Ball State to a .000 hitting percentage, with Lee leading the way with three blocks.
The Tigers took a 7-2 lead thanks to a 6-0 run that featured back-to-back aces from Waak. Moments later, another run made the score 12-5 when Ball State requested a timeout. LSU grew its lead to as many as 10 after a solo block by Flickinger made the score 22-12 and encouraged a Ball State timeout. After the Cardinals scored the first point out of the timeout, LSU scored the following three points to win 25-13. LSU recorded a .444 hitting percentage with four kills each from Robinson and Anwusi and held Ball State to a .000 attacking percentage for the second consecutive set.
Ball State opened the fourth by scoring the first four points, but LSU snatched the momentum back with a 6-1 run to take a 6-5 lead. After eight ties to bring the score to 14-14, Ball State landed a kill to take a 15-14 lead into the media timeout. The clubs continued to trade points, but a 3-0 run gave LSU some separation with a 20-18 lead, and the Tigers outlasted the Cardinals, 25-23. Robinson had four kills and one block to lead LSU in a set that featured 13 ties and nine lead changes.
LSU returns to Baton Rouge, La., to face UL-Lafayette at 11 a.m. CT on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.