In two absolutely critical matches this past weekend, the LSU volleyball team came up short in both, dropping to Tennessee on Friday and SEC leading Kentucky, Sunday.
The two losses move the Tigers to eighth in the conference standings entering Tuesday.
On Friday the Tigers fell to the Volunteers in straight sets. After Tennessee cruised to 25-17, 25-18 victories in the first two sets, the Tigers were more competitive in the third and found themselves up 20-16, late in the third and a bit later, 24-22. Unfortunately, the Vols proved to be too much, rattling off six straight points to take the third set, and the game.
Cati Leak and Gina Tillis each had 11 kills to lead the Tigers. Haley Smith led the way with 15 digs, also a tying a game best for both teams.
Sunday, the Tigers faired a little better against the Wildcats, but came away with another loss. The Tigers actually tied the Wildcats at one, following two sets. After the first two sets, Kentucky took over. The Wildcats shutdown the Tiger offense and held LSU to just 12 points in sets three and four.
Tillis matched her 11 kills from the Tennessee match, with Mimi Eugene posting 11. Smith once again led the Tigers in digs with 16.
It might sound extreme to say that the Tigers effectively ended their chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament with these losses, but the postseason looks bleak right now. Especially considering LSU’s overall record is below .500, at 9-13, likely means an at-large bid is not in the works.
At 5-6 in SEC play, LSU would need some major help to catch up to one of the three schools leading the standings (Kentucky, Missouri and Texas A&M) all of which have just two losses. The Tigers would probably have to win at least five of their final seven to just be in the hunt for the conference title.
Even if a postseason appearance seems unlikely, the Tigers still have goals achievable this year. The most obvious of which is getting the overall record above .500. This could have some special value with the seniors on the team, as the last time LSU finished with a record below .500 was the 2012 season when the current crop of seniors were freshmen.