8-31-18 Volleyball vs. Duke

Assistant coach Sarah Rumely watches her team from the sidelines during the Lady Tigers' 1-3 loss in the PMAC against Duke on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.

LSU has a history of aggressive play on the volleyball court.

Second-year assistant coach Sarah Rumely is looking to continue to make the LSU offense more dynamic with explosive play at the net. By using every weapon available to her, she believes that she can achieve this goal.

“We have special athletes that can get high above the net,” Rumely said. “Last year, we played a faster offensive tempo to make it dynamic, but this year we want to make that dynamic piece comes from being able to play high above the net.”

Even though the Tigers dropped two of their first three games, they showed a lot of offensive success against Baylor, Marquette and Texas State.

Despite the slow start to the season, Rumely isn’t worried about the Tigers’ play.

“I believe the offense is in a good position,” Rumely said. “We wanted to kill the ball at 40 percent, and we killed around 38 percent.”

The numbers favored the offense in the opening weekend, but the success started from the defensive side.

“The ability is to direct a dig to a setter and kill the dig is the goal,” Rumely said. “We did this better against Texas State, and are heading in the right direction.”

While the offense is booming, one person received high praise from Rumely. Recently moved outside hitter Taylor Bannister has shown improvement in the first few weeks of the season, totaling double digit stats in all games.

“[Bannister] is a special player,” Rumely said. “She can play above anyone, which makes her very difficult to defend. She was our biggest offensive threat over the weekend.”

Bannister led the Tigers in the first three matches of the season, using the dynamic strategy that Rumely preaches. She can play above the net and hit the ball hard anywhere on the court — exactly what her coaches want.

While Rumely is happy with her offense, she still sees ways in which the team as a whole can improve, from the setters to the outside hitters and everybody in between.

“Setters are the quarterbacks of any offense,” Rumely said. “Their job is to find the open attacker and put them into a position to be successful. If we can achieve that, our offense will keep improving.”

Even though it is early in the season, Rumely took notice of the sharp defensive play supporting the offense to convert kills. She also is looking forward to the offense becoming more forceful.

But above all, she is looking for passion to put them over the hump.

“I am looking for tenacity to finish plays on the court,” Rumely said. “I am also looking for players to take pride in the offensive part of the game, and see what edge we can bring to the game that we have not brought before.”

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