GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 15 Florida survived LSU for a 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-27) victory Saturday afternoon at the Exactech Arena.
LSU (10-7, 4-3 SEC) hit a season-low .124 thanks to Florida’s (12-3, 4-1 SEC) 15.5 blocks which is the most of any LSU opponent this season. The Tigers totaled eight aces in the setback and won the battles in digs, 61-60.
“You know, I wish the way we played in set two, three and four was the way we played at the beginning of the match,” said head coach Tonya Johnson. “We put ourselves in some tough situations, but we definitely had our opportunities. We left a lot of points on the floor tonight.”
Outside hitter Sanaa Dotson led the Tigers with 15 kills and logged 10 digs for her third consecutive double-double and sixth total this season. Dotson also had two blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Alia Williams recorded a career-high 14 kills behind a .571 hitting percentage and added a team-high three blocks. Setters Josie Vondran and Maddie Waak finished with 25 and 15 digs, respectively. Vondran contributed three kills and Waak finished with one ace.
Libero Ella Larkin registered a team-high 18 digs and set a new career-best with six aces. The last LSU Tiger to get six aces in a single match was Meghan Mannari versus Alcorn State on Sept. 4, 2010. Larkin led a group of four players with double-digit digs which included defensive specialist Jill Bohnet (12), outside hitter Paige Flickinger (12) and Dotson (10).
- The Tigers took their first lead of the match at 8-7 thanks to a 4-0 scoring run, but the Gators led 15-11 at the media timeout after an 8-3 burst highlighted by five unanswered points.
- Florida stretched its lead to 19-12 when LSU called its first timeout. The Gators continued to grow their margin, but the Tigers trimmed the deficit 23-18 after a 4-0 run that forced the home team to burn a timeout.
- UF came out of the timeout and claimed the next two points to win the set 25-18.
- LSU took an early timeout trailing 6-2 but responded with its own 6-2 run to tie the stanza at eight. The Gators would not give up the lead however and led 15-11 when the Tigers used their final timeout of the set.
- Once the Gators reached 20 points, the Tigers went on a 3-0 run highlighted by two kills from Dotson and Florida called a timeout as they clung to a 20-18 lead.
- The run continued on the other side of the timeout as Williams landed consecutive kills followed by an ace from Larkin that gave LSU its first lead of the frame at 21-20. Florida took its final timeout after Dotson’s kill put LSU ahead 23-22.
- Williams and right side Hannah Jacobs teamed up for a block and after a LSU attack error, Florida committed a serving error to hand LSU the set, 25-23.
- Dotson paced the Tigers with six kills followed by four from Jacobs.
- Florida jumped out to another early lead and LSU signaled for time trailing 11-6. The Tigers answered by scoring five of the next six points, making it a one-point set at 12-11 when the Gators used their first timeout.
- A quick 4-1 run by UF increased its lead back to 16-12 and LSU called its final timeout. Moments later, the Gators called their final timeout after another 5-1 run from the Tigers tied the set at 17.
- The Gators closed out the set on an 8-2 run to win it 25-19.
- At the media timeout, Florida led LSU, 15-10 and the Tigers called their first timeout down 18-12.
- LSU scored the next three points out of the break and trimmed the lead to 18-15 when Florida quickly called for time.
- The Tigers continued to fight and used a 4-0 run to tie the score at 19. From that point on, both clubs tied five times, but a Florida kill, and ace ended the set with a 27-25 result in favor of the Gators.
LSU and Florida will conclude the series with a 2 p.m. CT match Sunday on SEC Network +
(LSU Media Press Release)