ATHENS, Ga. -- With a strong day from Tennessee's hitters and an all-around defensive effort, the Volunteers defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-21) on Sunday at the Ramsey Center.
The Vols (15-2, 1-1 SEC) won their first conference match of the season behind 11 kills, six digs and seven blocks by sophomore Kanisha Jimenez and 10 kills and four digs by junior Bri Holmes. Senior Lexi Dempsey recorded her team-leading eighth double-double of the season with 31 assists and 14 digs.
Freshman Erica Treiber posted a career day with seven kills and 10 total blocks, the most by a Tennessee player this year.
Tennessee out-dug Georgia 44-33; they also out-blocked the Bulldogs 13 to 8 in the three-set match. The Vols held Georgia to .076 hitting percentage, the eighth time this season they've held an opponent under .100.
"I was really excited about our defense today," Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. "We really want to try to out-dig our opponents, and we've been able to do that most of the year so far.
"We've really been working on our blocking lately. It's really neat to see the effort we're putting into practice transfer into matches. Our blockers did a fantastic job of making adjustments quickly."
Georgia is now 5-8 overall and 0-1 in the SEC.
After three weeks of road matches, the Vols are back home to host Alabama on Friday at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee will play at Missouri on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET).
The match was tied at 6-6 to open the match, but then the Vols went on a 12-3 run to take command of the first set 18-9. A few minutes later, a kill by Treiber and a block by Treiber and Jimenez completed the quick set, 25-15.
Three consecutive Tennessee blocks spelled a momentum shift in the second set. Georgia led early, but Tennessee eventually tied the score at 10-10 on a block by Treiber and Jimenez. The Vols blocked down the next two shots to take a 12-10 lead and stayed ahead the rest of the set.
Dempsey ran a versatile attack. By the two-set break, four players had at least five kills, led by seven from Holmes and Jimenez. Seven players had kills in the match.
After the break, Georgia again took an early lead. The Vols rolled off five consecutive points to go ahead 18-17 on a kill from the outside by Holmes. Georgia called a timeout, but Tennessee kept up the scoring after the break, winning two more points to cap the run at 7-0.
Jimenez put away a kill to end the match at 25-21.
"One of the things I've been pleased with all season is that we play hard during matches," Patrick said. "When we got behind, that didn't change. Now maybe we weren't playing as well as we wanted, but we kept playing hard. Eventually we were able to capitalize on some of Georgia's mistakes. Also, we capitalized on some balls that we were able to put down offensively."