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LSU Volleyball Recap: Don't Panic

A rough start does not mean doom for LSU Volleyball.

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So far this semester, some teams have started strong, some haven't started, and some have started off poorly. Consider volleyball in the third category.

As of Sunday, the Tigers sat at 1-5, dead last in the SEC standings through two weeks of non-conference play. To make matters worse, the Tigers are not the victims of playing really tight games and dropping the deciding fifth set. In four of the five Tiger losses, LSU has reached five sets just once.

The Tigers season began with losses in all three matches at the American Campus Classic, which saw the Tigers dropping three straight sets to the third-ranked Longhorns, including a pretty thorough 25-12 first set loss.

Six days later, the Tigers dropped both of their matches on Friday to Ohio State Ohio and Michigan. Saturday the Tigers would finally break through with the first win of the season, 3-1 over Xavier.

The stats look like those of a team in last place. The Tigers rank last in the conference in hitting percentage, kills per set and blocks per set. LSU is third to last in opponent hitting percentage and second to last assists per set.

Even with what has basically been a terrible start, there is still reason to be optimistic.

Most obvious being, despite dropping the first five games of the season, LSU enters the third week of the season on a winning streak.

The team will be playing its first home game of the season this coming weekend with Purdue and Miami coming to Baton Rouge as part of the "LSU Tournament"

Although LSU is near the bottom of most statistical categories, they do lead the SEC in digs per set, a credit to a strong defensive presence which was expected entering the year. Also expected was that LSU's net presence would not be nearly as strong as it was last season  with Briana Holman, no longer on the team.

Most of the offensive stats such as kills, assists and hitting percentage should all improve together.

The star of the Tigers this year seems to be Cati Leak who not only leads the Tigers in kills and points, but also ranks in the top-10 in the conference in those categories but also digs and service aces.

If one needs more optimism one only need look at the SEC standings, which are a bit deceitful. Yes, LSU is one of just two SEC team at this point in the season with a record below .500.

It should be noted that Tennessee, which was picked last in the pre-season coaches poll, currently sits atop the conference. Also near the top is Missouri, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, all three were picked lower than sixth, where LSU was ranked.

Meanwhile, favorites Alabama and Kentucky, picked second and third, respectively, in the pre-season poll currently are 11th and 12th, through two weeks of the season.

Sure the rankings could be entirely flipped, but it seems unlikely that all the top teams suddenly just fell off, and all the bad teams suddenly improved drastically, especially before conference play.

Basically, there is enough reason to believe LSU is still in it.

Last year's squad overcame a slow start and still ended up making the tournament. While last year's slow start was not nearly as bad as this season, it is evident that LSU's season is not over despite a bad two weeks.