PULLMAN, Wash. -- No. 19 University of Tennessee advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after coming from two sets down to defeat Colorado State in five sets.
This marks the 10th time in program history the Lady Vols have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and the first time since the 2011 season.
Led by a career-high 19 kills and 15 digs from freshman Lily Felts, the Lady Vols completed the comeback over the Rams (, winning the decisive fifth set 15-12. Senior Erica Treiber closed out the match with her fourth kill of the final frame as she tucked it just inside of the sideline.
With Tennessee down 5-4 in the fifth set, sophomore Callie Williams stepped up to the service line and aced Colorado State to tie it. With Williams serving, the Lady Vols went on a 4-0 run to take a 8-5 lead into the switch.
Colorado State would come back to tie the fifth at 11-11. Tennessee turned to All-Southeastern Conference selection Erica Treiber to help close out the match. The Unionville, Mich. native deposited an over pass to the floor to put the Lady Vols up for good. After a timeout from coach Tyler Adams, they set the senior who found space just inside the sideline to seal the come-from-behind victory.
In the final three frames, Felts had 12 of her team-high 19 kills which included seven in the fourth set alone. This was the fourth double-double of the season for the Knoxville, Tenn. native and the 11th double-digit kill match for the All-SEC Freshman Team selection.
After dropping the first two sets, Tennessee jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the third frame with Felts on the service line. Six Lady Vols had multiple kills in the set as they never trailed in the third, winning 25-18 on a kill from freshman Danielle Mahaffey.
After back-to-back kills from junior Tessa Grubbs gave Tennessee an early 7-5 edge in the fourth set, UT held onto the lead from that point stretching it out to as much as a seven-point advantage before Grubbs sixth kill of the set. She would finish the match with 18 kills, marking the 11th time this season she has contributed 18 or more kills in a match.
From Coach Adams:
On what was talked about in between sets two and three:
"I didn't say much. We have had our backs up against the wall a lot this year. We have had a lot of five-set matches and a lot of close matches that didn't even go to five. We've had our backs against the wall and this group has always found a way to respond. I told them we have been here before and we know how to get ourselves out of it." -- Coach Adams
On shot selection improvement throughout the match:
"I thought Colorado State did a great job. They had us scouted very well. The definitely took away a lot of what we wanted to do to start. We made a lineup change where we put Rocky (Perinar) on the right. The setters did a really good job of spreading it around after that." -- Coach Adams
On when the focus turns to round two:
"We have talked a lot about this all year, relishing the success and not overlooking it. As soon as we know who the winner is, we will start thinking about them." -- Coach Adams
From Erica Treiber and Lily Felts:
On communication improving throughout:
"Communication is a huge part of volleyball. The more we got comfortable, the more we knew the plan for the game and the more we communicated. It definitely helped us a lot defensively." -- Erica Treiber
On in the situation to have to comeback before this year:
"Being down 2-0, we knew that we needed to fight back. As a team, we really went out there and all bought in. We went out there and worked hard. We got kills and points from all parts of our game tonight." -- Erica Treiber
On laying the foundation for the program in years to come:
"This year has been a great start to the future of Tennessee volleyball. This run that we are on right now is only a testament to where we are going to go in the future." -- Erica Treiber
On new career high in kills and digs:
"I think a lot of it has to do with the team that is around me. Obviously I can't get those kills without our defense and our passing. I think it is a lot easier to get digs like that when you are playing behind a great block. I have to give a lot of credit to my team." -- Lily Felts
- With the win, Tennessee moves to 14-14 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, advancing the its 10th NCAA Second Round in program history. The Lady Vols also take a 3-2 edge in the all-time series vs. Colorado State, winning the last two matches over the Rams.
- Madison Coulter set a new career-high with 29 digs in the match including 10 in set four which is the most she has had in a single set in her two-year Lady Vols career.
- This is the second consecutive match Tennessee finished the match with double-digit team blocks. The Lady Vols tallied 11.0 in the match led by six blocks assists from Erica Treiber. With those six blocks, Treiber now becomes the fourth player in program history to reach 500-plus blocks in a career. The senior now had 502 in four seasons.
- Addisyn Rowe set a new career high with a .786 hitting percentage as she tallied 12 kills on 14 swings with just one error in the match.
The Lady Vols advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will play again tomorrow night. They will take on the winner of Northern Arizona and tournament site host Washington State on Saturday evening. The Lumberjacks and Cougars first round match is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. (ET) Friday night in Bohler Gymnasium.
The match will stream on PAC-12 Network with the broadcast scheduled for 9:00 p.m. (ET).