The Tigers only have a month left in their scheduled season and not much to show for it.
The season hasn’t gone as well as the Tigers would have hoped. They have a record of 9-14 overall and 4-8 in the Southeastern Conference. The few winning streaks the Tigers have had this season were short lived. The next month gives LSU an opportunity to end on a better note.
“I don’t think we’ve met our expectations for the season, but I think we’ve continued to improve,” said coach Fran Flory. “I think that we’ve stayed dedicated to the process, and we still have some great potential. Overall we’re disappointed with how the season went, but we also know we have to push through to the end.”
LSU has six games left. Of those six, five are teams LSU has already faced. However, the Tigers were never on the winning side of those games. Texas A&M and Ole Miss were the toughest losses for LSU because everyone had high hopes of coming out on top.
Playing teams LSU has already faced will give the team a confidence boost. It’s familiar territory, and the team is aware of its opponents’ systems and the way they control the ball.
“I think we’ll have a confidence stepping on the court — we’ve already shown that. We certainly had a chance against A&M to be successful,” Flory said.
LSU lost to Texas A&M 2-3 by scores of 26-24, 21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 13-15. LSU had a 2-1 lead starting the match, but ended up giving the game to the Aggies. This game was the closest LSU came to beating any of their opponents.
LSU was also very close to beating Ole Miss but fell with scores of 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 21-25, 14-16. Tigers started with a 1-0 lead after coming back in the first set. The game was full of back and forths as the Tigers fought. After pushing into a final fifth set and different leads, the Rebels came out victorious.
“We already played Ole Miss, and that was a close game,” sophomore outside hitter Taylor Bannister said. “I think we’re just gonna have to have that edge in order to get the results that we want or to get better results than we did in our last appearance.”
All season LSU hasn’t gone down without a fight. The team has fought until the very end of the match. They have improved in multiple areas. Although the season hasn’t turned out exactly as expected, LSU doesn’t plan to give up.
“I think that the message is that hard times are built for tougher people,” Flory said. “College athletics is about life lessons, the experiences in college are about learning and becoming better people. The lessons learned are going to be valuable. Sometimes you learn better when you’re not getting what you want, so I think it should be a valuable year for us.”
The hard times have continued to get harder as the season has gone on. Bannister suffered an injury. Bannister’s wrist was injured at practice, forcing her to wear a brace. Bannister has been the leading outside hitter for majority of the games this season, but now the team can’t rely on her passing game.
“Due to my injury, I can’t go back row and work on passing,” Bannister explained. “I can still block and hit. Fran has told me to reach high, get my arms back and my feet planted and be a dominating force in that area.”
Now LSU is faced with the challenge of filling Bannister’s spot. This isn’t an unusual circumstance for the team as they’ve been doing this all season. LSU is constantly moving players around trying to find the perfect system. The stats are matching the handbook and yet the team still faces losses.
“It’s an opportunity for personal growth and to get back to who we are and have a great product,” Flory said. “We have to have a vision of where we’re going, but we can climb up the rankings, and certainly that’s our goal.”