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No. 23 Tennessee completes sweep of Morehead State

16 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: TENNESSEE ATHLETICS

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - No. 23 Tennessee volleyball completed the home-and-home sweep of Morehead State Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena, sweeping the Eagles in three sets (25-17, 25-21, 25-16).

Tennessee (6-1) and Morehead State (3-5) played a quick home-and-home series this weekend, with UT winning both matches in straight-set sweeps. The Lady Vols hit .382 on Sunday with 50 kills, while holding MSU to a .136 hit percentage and 37 kills.

For just the second time in the rally-scoring era, Tennessee finished the match without any attacks being blocked. It is the first time since Oct. 29, 2010, against Auburn that UT has gone unblocked in a match.

Junior Morgahn Fingall put away 16 kills for UT in the win Sunday, finishing with a season-high .538 hitting percentage. The right-side attacker also collected four digs and three blocks.

Knoxville native Lily Felts notched her third double-double of the season with 10 kills and 10 digs. That pushes her career double-double total to 20. The mark ties her for ninth-place all-time in Lady Vol history with Chelsea Noble.

Breana Runnels rounded out the Lady Vols in double-figure kills as she tallied 12. The Bakersfield, California, native finished the night with nine digs and a block.

Danielle Mahaffey stood tall in the middle with six kills on a .667 hit percentage and a team-high five blocks.

Senior setter Natalie Hayward notched 38 assists and nine digs as she helped lead the Lady Vol offense in the victory. In 27 matches as a Lady Vol, Hayward has totaled 993 assists and is just seven away from 1,000 career assists in Orange & White.

Tennessee hit an impressive .405 in the opening set, scoring 20 kills against the Eagles. Runnels led the charge in the first, putting down seven kills and hitting .462. Fingall chipped in with four kills, while Felts and Mahaffey each tallied three. UT won the first set, 25-17.

The second set was a tighter affair as Morehead State kept the score close but ultimately fell to the Lady Vols, 25-21. UT hit .324 in the set, with 16 kills and three blocks. Fingall rose up for the Big Orange in the set as she posted seven kills on a .667 hitting percentage.

Morehead State hung around early in the third but didn't have enough to overcome Tennessee's attack as UT finished off the Eagles in the third, 25-16. Fingall and Felts scored five kills apiece in the final set as Mahaffey got the block working with four of her five blocks coming in the final frame.

FROM HEAD COACH EVE RACKHAM WATT

On the home-and-home with Morehead State...

"I thought today, we played a much cleaner match than we did on Friday. What I liked was the fact that we got to play the same team back-to-back, I think that's going to serve us well later on in the year. Morehead State is a really good team. I thought that on Friday, it was our first time on the road and I think you could tell, we didn't play as well, we didn't play as clean but I thought today we played a much cleaner game."

On where the team is at after the first three weeks of the season...

"I keep telling them that I think, as this team gets better, week by week, I think our confidence is going to keep growing. The trust is going to keep growing. It's an experienced group but we still played a few different players in different spots. I think we're still settling into a few key roles, but I like what we've done. I think that we were way better today than we were on Friday, which is a good sign for us."

STAT LEADERS

Kills - Morgahn Fingall (16)

Assists - Natalie Hayward (38)

Digs - Madison Bryant (16)

Blocks - Danielle Mahaffey (5)

UP NEXT

Tennessee travels to West Lafayette, Indiana, for the Stacey Clark Classic hosted by Purdue. UT will face Purdue Fort Wayne, Jacksonville State and No. 6 Purdue over the two-day tournament, running Sept. 17 and 18.