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No. 21 Lady Vols defeat UGA in four-set showdown

44 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

ATHENS, Ga. - Led by double-digit kill performances from Lily Felts, Morgahn Fingall and Breana Runnels, the 21st-ranked Tennessee volleyball team defeated Georgia in four sets (22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-18) Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

Tennessee (15-3, 7-1 SEC) hit .305 on the night with 60 kills and 14 blocks, while holding Georgia (5-12, 1-5 SEC) to a .205 hitting percentage.

Fingall led Tennessee on the night with 15 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. The junior right side also picked up five block assists in the victory. Felts recorded 12 kills, with three blocks, two assists, two digs and a service ace.

Runnels rounded out the trio with 11 kills and seven digs.

Ava Bell was a force in the middle as she put away nine kills on a .529 hitting percentage. The senior also put up a team-leading eight total blocks. Meanwhile, Nicole Shanahan came off the bench and scored seven kills with five total blocks.

Natalie Hayward posted her ninth double-double of the year with 40 assists and 13 digs. After being named SEC Player and Setter of the Week, Hayward also earned three kills and put up three bock assists Friday night.

The Bulldogs came out strong in the opening set as they hit .344 with 15 kills. Amber Stivrins led the charge for UGA as she hit .500 with seven kills. On the other side of the net, the Lady Vols struggled to find their rhythm, hitting .152.

Georgia won the opening frame, 25-22.

UT bounced back in the second with 18 kills on a .412 hit percentage, winning the set, 25-22. Fingall hit .556 with six kills, while Felts and Runnels each put down four kills. Shanahan chipped in three kills and two blocks coming off the bench.

In the third, Fingall scored five kills and posted two blocks to help lead UT to a 25-17 third set win. Shanahan started the third and picked up four kills and two blocks. Felts and Bell dropped in three and two kills, respectively, in the set.

In the final frame, Fingall and Runnels posted four kills apiece, while Bell notched three and Felts scored two. Bell also tallied three total blocks in the fourth set.

UT clinched the match win with a 25-18 fourth set victory.

STAT LEADERS

Kills - Morgahn Fingall

Assists - Natalie Hayward (40)

Digs - Natalie Hayward (13)

Blocks - Ava Bell (8)

UP NEXT

The Big Orange travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a two-match series on Oct. 23 and 24. The matches against the Tigers close out UT's five-match SEC road swing.