Tennessee tops Miss State in straight sets
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball team captured its first sweep in Southeastern Conference play Sunday against Mississippi State (5-13. 1-4 SEC).
The Lady Vols (14-4, 5-1 SEC) move to 10-1 in home games this season, ending their five-game home stand with a 4-1 record.
Tennessee was led by freshman Lily Felts' fifth-straight double-digit kill game. The team also totaled its highest service ace output of the SEC season with six in the match.
After taking the first set 25-22, the Lady Vols were locked in a tight second set before tallying the final three points in the frame winning 25-23. Off an assist from sophomore Callie Williams, Felts tied the score at 22 all before putting Tennessee in front with an ace. Freshman Raquel Perinar finished off the set hitting it off the block for her sixth kill of the match.
In the third set, Tennessee led the entire way as kills from Erica Treiber and Sedona Hansen helped the Lady Vols jump out to a 3-0 advantage. They would finish off the sweep of the Bulldogs with a 25-19 third set win
The combination of senior Erica Treiber and sophomore Addisyn Rowe proved to be a tough to stop in the middle of the court. The middle blockers combined for 17 kills on 32 swings finishing with a hitting percentage of .375 in the match.
Treiber finished with a team-high five blocks in the match making it the eighth time this season she has had five or more blocks in a match. It was her second consecutive after having six blocks in the win over Alabama on Wednesday.
From Coach Rackham:
On having a 10-1 record inside of Thompson-Boling Arena: "It's something we take great pride in. When you have a great fan base, the crowd has helped us tremendously. Being able to understand how important it is to win at home especially in conference play is key because getting some of those road matches are difficult."
On Callie Williams and her attacking ability: "Callie has a lot of grit and is a tough player. She likes to score points on her own. She is a fun setter in that way. It is just about her picking and choosing her time to be successful. She's gotten pretty good at it and we have just tried to help her expand on that with some other decisions."
From Callie Williams:
On keys to victory: "Mississippi State was digging a lot of balls so, the key for us was to keep our minds in it and working hard. Hitters had to make plays and be smart." - Callie Williams
On playing for Coach Rackham: "She's very consistent and a very good coach. She has been a mentor to all of us and someone we really respect. We have totally bought in to what she's been teaching us." - Callie Williams
Tennessee limited Mississippi State to just a .154 hitting percentage making it the fifth time in six conference games the Lady Vols have held their opponents to under .200 hitting. Overall, it is the 12th time this season as Tennessee is 11-1 in those matches.
Callie Williams led the team in assists for the fifth time this season, totaling a match-high 21 in the victory. She also recorded two kills and now has 22 on the season (0.34 kills/set) which is on pace to surpass her output from last season.
With a team-high five blocks in the match, Erica Treiber finished with a total of 11 in the week bringing her to within 20 blocks of fourth place on the all-time Tennessee blocks list. Her two solo blocks today is a season-high for the senior, tying Addisyn Rowe for the most in a single game this season.
Tennessee's six service aces tied the second largest output of the season and marks the seventh time this year the Lady Vols have aced their opponents five or more times.
Tennessee will play eight of its next ten matches on the road starting with No. 18 Kentucky on Wednesday night. The Lady Vols dropped a closely contested four-set match to the Wildcats earlier this season inside of Thompson-Boling Arena.
First serve for Wednesday's match is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (ET) on SEC Network.