The Daily Reveille
Friday, Nov. 12, 2010
Tigers prepare for tough SEC weekend on the road Mark Clements Sports Contributor
It’s coming down to the nitty gritty. With just five matches left on the slate, it’s crunch time for the LSU volleyball team. The No. 15 Tigers (22-2, 132) hit the road again this weekend, traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., on Friday to take on No. 21 Tennessee (21-5, 12-4). They finish the weekend Sunday in Lexington, Ky., against the Kentucky Wildcats (1412, 8-8). “Those two teams are always really good teams, especially on the road,” said senior middle blocker Tania Schatow. “We just need to be focused because we don’t get all week and work hard.” The two-match swing is one of the toughest the Tigers will face this year.
SHAINA HUNTSBERRY / The Daily Reveille
LSU junior middle blocker Michele Williams attempts to return the ball Oct. 29 during the Tigers’ 3-0 win against Mississippi State. LSU has five matches left.
LSU defeated both schools at home earlier this season. But LSU coach Fran Flory said it’s a whole new matchup on the road. “Tennessee at Tennessee is
always a tough match, and we haven’t had great success at Kentucky since I’ve been here, so we’re looking forward to it,” said Flory, who has not won at Kentucky since
LSU to compete in NCAA Regional Hunter Paniagua Sports Contributor
The successes and disappointments of the regular season will mean little for the LSU cross country team Saturday when it competes in the NCAA South Central Regional meet in Waco, Texas. Regardless of prior finishes, every team competing in the regional meet has a chance to make it to the 2010 NCAA Championships, but teams must finish in the top two to fulfill the opportunity. LSU has never qualified for the championship meet as a team, but coach Mark Elliott expects the Tigers to take on the challenge. “We’ll go there and try to compete hard as a team and finish out the season on a more positive note teamwise,” Elliott said. Last year, the men’s team finished 18th at the regional meet while the Lady Tigers finished 21st. Arkansas took home the men’s title, and SMU led the way for the women. Elliott said juniors Richard Chautin and Laura Carleton may contend for individual spots at the national meet. Both Chautin and Carleton have paced their respective teams in every meet this season. Individuals can qualify by finishing in the top five of runners not on qualifying teams, which Elliott said would be a historical accomplishment for the two walk-ons. No LSU walk-on has ever qualified for the NCAA championships, Elliott said, but scholarship runner
Joseph Simuchimba did so for the Tigers in 2007. In 2008, walk-on Jacob Simmons finished just one place shy of qualifying. “While we’re not known as a cross country power, we do pretty decent at the regional meet,” Elliott said. LSU will try to bounce back from a disappointing finish at the Southeastern Conference Champi-
onship meet Nov. 1. The men’s team finished ninth and the women’s team placed 11th despite many of the runners recording personal bests. Elliott said he expected the teams to place higher but felt his team just ran into stiffer competition. Contact Hunter Paniagua at email@example.com
2006. “We need to regroup. We need to get a little bit better, but I actually think the style of play will be a little better for us.” The Friday afternoon matchup is going to be a showdown of two of the best in the Southeastern Conference. Both LSU and Tennessee sit in the top four in the conference in nearly every statistical category, including hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, assists, kills and digs. The Tigers are coming off a huge comeback win against Ole Miss last Sunday, and sophomore outside hitter Madie Jones said the team needs to keep the momentum going. “Those are two great teams, and we know we’re going to have to prepare really hard and just keep going,” Jones said. “It’s not over yet. We want to win out the SEC,
that’s one of our goals, so I think we’re just going to keep going at it.” If the winning ways do continue, the team could be on track to set LSU volleyball history. The Tigers have not finished with two or fewer losses since the 1991 season, when they made an NCAA Final Four run. And with just five matches left on the schedule, the Tigers are gearing up for this year’s postseason play. “This is key,” Flory said. “This is a great road trip for us in terms of preparing for the NCAA tournament. They’re two NCAA tournament teams that we’ll play.” First serve Friday afternoon is slated for 2:30 p.m., and the Sunday matchup is set for a 12:30 p.m. start. Contact Mark Clements at firstname.lastname@example.org
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