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Lovett, Kerr double up to lead No. 12 UT past MS State

60 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Two Lady Vols finished with double-doubles, as 12th-ranked Tennessee came away with a resilient 3-1 win (25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 25-17) on the road against Mississippi State on Friday night.

The Big Orange (12-1, 3-0 SEC) had 27 attacking errors and hit just .213 for the contest, but a strong defensive performance by the back row helped lift UT to its seventh win in a row.

Junior outside hitter Erykah Lovett posted her second double-double in a row, finishing with a season-best 18 digs, 13 kills, three assists and one block. Contributing on offense and defense, redshirt freshman setter Caroline Kerr tallied 43 assists, a career-high 13 digs, six kills, two blocks and an ace for her second double-double on the year.

With Tennessee posting a season-best 79 digs, graduate student libero Yelianiz Torres had a stellar night, recording a season-high 26 digs-the seventh 25-plus dig performance of her career-to go along with seven assists.

Junior defensive specialist Ashllyn King narrowly missed making it four Lady Vols with double-figure digs, recording nine in addition to pacing UT with a career-high-tying four aces on the night.

The Big Orange finished with 11 aces for the match, helping mitigate some of the unforced errors. Leading the way on the attacking front was graduate student outside hitter Jenaisya Moore, who notched a season-high 18 kills, three blocks and two digs.

Graduate student right side Morgahn Fingall added 12 kills, six digs, three aces, one assist and one block. At the net, Tennessee finished with seven team blocks against Mississippi State (8-5, 1-2 SEC).

Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Emily Beeker led the squad with four blocks to go with six kills on 10 attacks. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Klaudia Pawlik posted four kills and three blocks.

The Lady Vols opened the match by winning a tight battle in the first set. The Bulldogs used a late 4-0 run to pull within two points at 24-22, but a block assist by Moore and Pawlik clinched the frame for the Big Orange. Moore led the offensive attack for UT, posting six kills in the set.

Mississippi State opened the second period on an 11-3 run thanks to a pair of blocks.

The Lady Vols rallied back, though, winning 10 of 13 points during one stretch to draw even at 15-15. UT would end up taking the set, as it finished the frame on an impressive 22-8 run. Fingall had four kills to pace UT, while Moore and freshman outside hitter Mackenzie Plante had three each.

The third set featured 16 ties and five lead changes, but it was the Bulldogs who came out on top. MSU out hit the Lady Vols .275 to .217 and was 86 percent on sideouts in the frame. UT had seven attack errors in the period, as it struggled to get any momentum.

Lovett had seven kills, four digs and two assists in the frame. In its best attacking set of the match, Tennessee closed things out by hitting .256 and converting on 82 percent of sideouts during the fourth frame, while holding the Bulldogs to just .118 hitting.

Moore had five kills, three of which came in the first five points scored in the period, helping the Lady Vols jump out to a quick 4-1 start.

Up Next

UT heads to Oxford to play the Rebels in a Sunday afternoon contest at Gillom Athletics Performance Center, which begins at 2:30 p.m. and will also be live streamed on SEC Network+.