GULF SHORES, Al. (BRPROUD.com) – The No. 6 Tigers dropped opening sets on four courts, but pairs on Courts 2, 3 and 5 prevailed to defeat No. 2 TCU, 3-2, and keep LSU’s championship hopes alive.
Just like in the Cal match on Wednesday, the match came down to Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope and Sierra Caffo on the fives. LSU had lost its two previous meetings against the Horned Frogs in the regular season – a team that was ranked No. 1 for multiple weeks throughout the year. With their 32nd win of the season, the Tigers have set a new program record for wins in a season.
“We don’t need the adrenaline to wear off because we are going to need some tomorrow,” said head coach Russell Brock. “I don’t know that we know who we play yet, but the whole day is just about taking it one point at a time. So we’ll figure out who the next one is and get ready and figure out how to have energy. If we play like we just played, we can beat anybody in the country.”
For the second year in a row LSU knocked TCU out of the NCAA Championship. The Tigers will be back in action Saturday at 2 p.m. CT in another elimination match on ESPN2 against the loser of USC and FSU who will meet Saturday morning.
LSU was sent into the elimination bracket after getting swept by UCLA earlier in the day. Friday’s matches were delayed by nearly three hours because of thunderstorms on the beach, but by the time LSU and TCU went to battle, the sun was out. Teams still had to battle windy conditions in Gulf Shores.
The first court to finish was Court 1 – the only dual that was only two sets. LSU’s Bella Bauman and Parker Bracken fell, 21-13 and 21-16.
The remaining courts finished up just a few minutes apart from each other.
Court 2 was the first of those four the wrap up as Kylie Deberg and Kelli Greene-Agnew got LSU on the board. They lost the opening set, 21-17, but battled to a 21-15 victory in the second. The dominated much of the third set, but TCU made it interesting and brought it within one as LSU held match point. Deberg sided-out to close it, 15-13.
On Court 3, Reilly Allred and Holly Carlton put LSU up 2-1. They were the only LSU pair to win the first set, 21-14. TCU responded to take the second set though, 21-14. Allred gave them a 15-10 third set win with a cut shot from right to left.
Grace Seits and Ellie Shank dropped the first set, 21-15, but responded to take the second, 21-17. The dropped the third set, 15-11. As that concluded, the NCAA Championship Friday record crowd’s attention shifted to Court 5 where Caffo and Rasnick-Pope were serving for match point.
The LSU Court 5 duo struggled in the opening set, falling 21-14. They came back strong to take the second set, 21-16. Playing to 15 in the third set wasn’t enough and as the beach crowd shifted to the east from Court 4 and south from Court 3 Caffo floated a serve over the net. On the return, Rasnick-Pope left her feet and laid out to her right to keep the ball up and got the ball over after a set from Caffo. TCU’s return attack went wide left as LSU clinched the match, 3-2, and ended TCU’s season.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics).