You thought I had forgotten about this site! April Fools! You fell for this joke I’ve had going since January! Don’t you feel silly?
OK, probably not buying that, are you?
Truthfully, things have just been busy the past few months and I haven’t had time to sit down and devote myself to writing anything worth reading! But I am here, and I have some things to discuss! It’s just a matter of making the time to do it. And that will start soon! Thanks for your patience.
TEAM NOTES: What an amazing year Tennessee volleyball had in 2018! Here are some of the incredible numbers behind the season:
- 1 win away from an SEC Championship!
- 9th most wins in school history (3rd most since the early 1980s)
- 5th best winning percentage in school history (3rd most since the early 1980s)
- 3rd most home wins in school history (the most since the early 1980s)
- 3rd fewest losses by sweep in school history
- 5th longest winning streak in school history (3rd longest since the early 1980s)
- the longest SEC winning streak in school history
- 5th highest final ranking in school history[ click to continue article… ]
Tennessee finishes the 2018 season as the 19th ranked team in the country, according to the AVCA Coaches Poll. This is the 8th time the Lady Vols have been ranked in the final poll, and they matched their 5th best ever finish. UT is tied for the 38th most finishes in the poll’s history.
TENNESSEE IN THE FINAL AVCA COACHES POLL 1982 #14 1983 #14 2004 #10 2005 #6 2009 #24 2010 #24 2011 #19 2018 #19
Just a heads up on what’s coming. I’m planning to do a look back at the senior class this week and a final recap of the season the week after Christmas. In January we’ll look at the incoming recruits. Then I’m going to do a rundown of the final season stats. Though with the holidays, please forgive me if I run a little behind!
The Final Four begins tonight from Minneapolis! Here are some quick facts about the teams in contention, some interesting ties between them, and how Tennessee connects.
Stanford has appeared in 22 of the 38 Final Fours in history. Nebraska has been in 15, Illinois 4, and BYU 3.
Stanford has won 7 titles while Nebraska has won 5. The Cardinal last won in 2016, the Cornhuskers in 2017.
Nebraska setter Nicklin Hames is from Knoxville, and is the daughter of former Lady Vol assistant J Hames.
Nebraska assistant coach Jaylen Reyes graduated from BYU.
Stanford coach Kevin Hambly was previously the head coach at Illinois and played volleyball for BYU.
Stanford assistant coach Denise Corlett has been there for a very long time, and served along side previous Cardinal assistant coach and former Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick in the 1990s.
Stanford’s other assistant coach, Erin Lindsey, worked along side current Lady Vol head coach Eve Rackham when they both were at North Carolina.
Illinois coach Chris Tamas was a former assistant at Nebraska.
Illini assistant coach Rashinda Reed played volleyball at Georgia, going 2-3 vs UT in matches she played in.
BYU head coach Heather Olmstead coached against Tennessee in her previous job as an assistant at Utah. That match, played in Nebraska in 2007, remains the largest crowd to watch the Lady Vols play: 11,076 in an upset win by Tennessee.
BYU assistant coach David Hyte also coached against Tennessee, with Houston, going 1-2 between 2008-2011.
Tennessee is 1-1 vs BYU all-time, 0-2 vs Stanford, 2-4 vs Illinois, and 0-5 vs Nebraska.
The Lady Vols played three of the teams in the Final Four during the 1980 season, and the other a year later.
There are over 300 teams currently in Division I. But in the 38 years the NCAA has had the championship tournament, only 29 teams have made it to a Final Four. This year there are no teams from the Eastern Time Zone represented. That’s not unusual. Only 7 schools from that region have made the cut (including Tennessee in 2005).
Congratulations to Erica Treiber and Tessa Grubbs who were today garnered Honorable Mention All-America accolades by the American Volleyball Coaches Association! It’s the second honor for Treiber and the first for Grubbs. Treiber was the last Lady Vol to win All-America mention, back in 2016. Treiber and Grubbs are the 18th and 19th players in school history to pick up AVCA All-America honors. Treiber is the 7th to do so twice.
Congratulations to Erica Treiber and Tessa Grubbs, who were named to the AVCA All-Region Team! This is Treiber’s second time making the list. Both are now eligible for All-America honors, which will be announced next week.
The Lady Vols fell to Washington State 3-1 (30-28, 25-18, 19-25, 25-13) this evening in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, ending an incredible season for Tennessee Volleyball. More soon.
UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs led both teams with 21 kills. Erica Treiber had 13 while hitting .435. Addisyn Rowe had 10. Treiber put down 5 blocks and Rocky Perinar was just behind with 4. Sedona Hansen picked up her 14th double-double of the season with 38 assists and 10 digs. Callie Williams had 10 assists. Lily Felts led the team with 14 digs. Madison Coulter had 10.
While there’s bound to be disappointment tonight, keep in mind that Tennessee wasn’t even supposed to be here! After going 12-15 last year and with a first year head coach taking the reins, no one expected something like this so soon! 26 wins in 32 matches? That would have been astounding to consider at the beginning of the season! In fact, the turnaround from last season is the second biggest in program history! And that’s why even with this loss, it’s hard to be too sad about the end of the season. Thanks players and coaches for this incredible journey in 2018!
I’ve got a lot more to talk about this year: the seniors, the incoming class, and lots and lots of stats! And don’t be surprised if there are a couple of more award announcements coming! So look for several more stories on the way in the next week.
TOP TENNESSEE YEAR-TO-YEAR RECORD TURNAROUNDS #1 2014
up .386 #2 2017
up .369 #3 2007
up .309 #4 1995
up .296 #4 1985
UT definitely seemed like the inexperienced squad when up against Colorado State, veterans of 24 straight tournaments. Tennessee’s first since 2012 seemed doomed to end early but the team pulled together after getting behind 0-2 to complete a huge comeback over CSU and advance to the second round (26-28, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-12)! More soon!
UPDATE: Lily Felts had 19 kills. Tessa Grubbs was right behind her with 18. Addisyn Rowe and Erica Treiber had 12 each. Rowe hit an amazing .786! Treiber led the team with 6 blocks with Rowe and Danielle Mahaffey at 5 a piece. Sedona Hansen put up 37 assists; Callie Williams had 26. Madison Coulter had a huge 29 digs! Lily Felts’ 15 completed her double-double.
Addisyn Rowe set a UT Tournament record with her .786 hitting percentage. The previous record was .667. She was just .103 short of the NCAA Tournament record!Actually she won’t get credit for the record — she was one attack short of reaching the record minimum of three per set. But it was still an impressive achievement and a career high!
Madison Coulter set a UT Tournament record with her 29 digs. That total was also the 26th most digs in any match in school history.
Lily Felts’ 58 attacks was just 2 shy of the UT Tournament record.
Colorado State’s 32 block assists are a UT Tournament record, as is CSU player Paulina Hougaard-Jensen’s 9 block assists and 10 total blocks.
Tennessee has come back from two sets down 19 times in school history. And now twice this season.
2018 is the first season in school history that the Lady Vols have come back from 0-2 to win more than once.
UT is 8-5 in the rally scoring era when coming back from 0-2 to force a fifth set.
This was the 5th five-set match #TNVB has played in their last six NCAA Tournaments — and their first win.
Tennessee won despite having a lower hitting percentage — .203 to .227. It’s not the first time they’ve done that at the Tournament. Two matches on their way to the Final Four in 2005 also were won despite worse hitting numbers.
Erica Treiber’s two aces put her alone in third place at UT for single season rally scoring aces. One more would put her in a tie for second.
Like father, like daughter! Callie Williams’ father is the assistant coach at Baylor. In their first round match they too were down 0-2 before coming back to win.
The SEC went 5-0 in the first round of the tourney, with Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, and Missouri also winning their matches.
From Rocky Top to the Palouse!
It’s gameday for the Lady Vols in Pullman WA, where they’re set to take on Colorado State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament! Win or lose tonight it’s been an incredible season and I couldn’t be happier for this team!
Here are some last minute notes. I’ll be updating this post with more as needed today.
NEWS & LINKS
— The NCAA website has posted a story on the “top five tournament first-round games you can’t miss, and why“. The number one match? Tennessee vs Colorado State! They call the Lady Vols “arguably… the biggest surprise this season”.
— The NCAA website also has a piece on the “7 unseeded teams that could make a deep tournament run“. Those teams are: Baylor, Cal Poly, Florida, Illinois State, Michigan, Purdue, and… Tennessee! “The unseeded team with the best chance of making it out of the first weekend is Tennessee.”
— The Maryville Daily Times has an article on local player Madison Coulter and her transition from hitter to libero in turnaround season for the team. “We’re all really excited to be where we are. The tournament is somewhere where this program should be.”
— The official UT website profiles Tessa Grubbs who’s had to prove some doubters wrong during her career, with the help of a club coach who believed in her. “He worked with me and told me we are not giving up on you. He really was the reason I got where I am today. He had faith in me.”
— Callie Williams isn’t the only person in her family succeeding on the court this season. Her father, Jason, is an assistant coach at Baylor. The Bears have been ranked 11 weeks this season and currently stand at #25. Last night Baylor knocked off Hawaii in an exciting 3-2 first round match in the Tournament. His team will face Oregon tonight for a shot at the Sweet Sixteen… just across the border from where his daughter will be playing!
— A VolleyTalk poster has used the Pablo Rankings to figure out the odds of each team winning in the first and second rounds. The Lady Vols are slight favorites over Colorado State at 59.6%. They get a 26.1% chance of advancing past the second round. Of the 64 teams in the Tourney, UT is the 20th most likely team to make the Sweet Sixteen according their numbers.
WATCH, LISTEN, OR FOLLOW
— This weekend’s matches will air on one of the Pac-12 live streams. I don’t know whether the game will be viewable unless you subscribe to their cable channel. When I watched the the Baylor/Hawaii match I don’t think it required me to log-in, but the Oregon/NMSU match did. Maybe only games featuring a Pac-12 team require it. If so, you’ll be good today at least!
— Can’t access the video stream? Colorado State’s radio station will have be broadcasting the game and their website has a live audio stream.
— Don’t like the CSU announcers? You can still follow the live stats!
STATS & MORE
— Tennessee currently holds two NCAA Tournament records: individual aces in a match (11 by Beverly Robinson in 1982), and team aces in a match (20 in 1982).
— I haven’t forgotten about the seniors or the new recruits! Look for posts about them next week!
The local Knoxville newspaper has a great story today that touches on a lot of things the team, the players, and (especially!) the coaches have had to deal with this year — first year head coach Eve Rackham settling into a new city, running the program while pregnant, the recent birth of her first child, her upcoming wedding, finding ways to lead while not physically on location, and the ultimately successful season culminating in the upcoming tournament. The takeaway: “It’s life and I think for the girls to see it is a good thing, I really do. For them to see you can do anything you want to do. You can be a mom and you can have a career. You can do both and you don’t have to choose. For me, that is important. I want them to see this.”
Below are the players appearing in the Washington State subregional who are ranked in the top 150 nationally in the selected statistical categories. If a school isn’t represented in the top 150, then the team leader in that category is listed.
A C E S P E R S E T 66 Olivia Nicholson 0.37 COLORADO STATE 70 Abby Akin 0.37 NORTHERN ARIZONA 71 Erica Treiber 0.37 TENNESSEE 95 Sasha Colombo 0.35 COLORADO STATE 129 Kaylie Jorgenson 0.33 NORTHERN ARIZONA — Penny Tusa 0.31 WASHINGTON STATE
A S S I S T S P E R S E T 13 Katie Oleksak 11.58 COLORADO STATE 63 Ashley Brown 10.44 WASHINGTON STATE — Sedona Hansen 7.12 TENNESSEE — Abby Stomp 6.30 NORTHERN ARIZONA
B L O C K S P E R S E T 31 Paulina Hougaard-Jensen 1.30 COLORADO STATE 52 Kirstie Hillyer 1.21 COLORADO STATE 100 Claire Martin 1.13 WASHINGTON STATE 125 Abby Akin 1.10 NORTHERN ARIZONA 126 Ella Lajos 1.10 WASHINGTON STATE 127 Erica Treiber 1.09 TENNESSEE
D I G S P E R S E T 77 Jordan Anderson 4.77 NORTHERN ARIZONA 139 Alexis Dirige 4.34 WASHINGTON STATE — Madison Coulter 3.50 TENNESSEE — Olivia Nicholson 2.99 COLORADO STATE
K I L L S P E R S E T 33 Tessa Grubbs 4.18 TENNESSEE 44 Breana Runnels 4.05 COLORADO STATE 80 Taylor Mims 3.78 WASHINGTON STATE — Kaylie Jorgenson 3.09 NORTHERN ARIZONA
H I T T I N G P E R C E N T A G E 8 Erica Treiber .401 TENNESSEE 12 Abby Akin .400 NORTHERN ARIZONA 56 Kirstie Hillyer .357 COLORADO STATE 59 Paulina Hougaard-Jensen .356 COLORADO STATE 132 Jocelyn Urias .324 WASHINGTON STATE 138 Addisyn Rowe .323 TENNESSEE
P O I N T S P E R S E T 38 Breana Runnels 4.62 COLORADO STATE 53 Tessa Grubbs 4.46 TENNESSEE 65 Taylor Mims 4.38 WASHINGTON STATE 139 Erica Treiber 3.90 TENNESSEE — Kaylie Jorgenson 3.82 NORTHERN ARIZONA
And the awards for Lady Vols keep rolling in! Congratulations to Alyssa Andreno on being named to the SEC Community Service Team.
“Andreno serves as the Chair of Community Outreach in SAAC. She has completed over 25 hours of service with several organizations, including Club Vibes, Catalyst Sports, YMCA, Read Across America and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Andreno is a member of the VOLeaders Academy, where she traveled to Ecuador on a service immersion experience. She completed over 60 hours of service at various organizations where she did sport-based camps with disadvantaged youth, youth with disabilities and survivors of domestic violence. Andreno served on the planning team for the UT Sports Fest, an adaptive sport festival for youth with and without disabilities.”
People are starting to figure out what we here in Knoxville have known for awhile — Erica Treiber is a really good volleyball player! For the third time in as many days, Treiber has been recognized for her achievements. Today, it’s the American Volleyball Coaches Association naming her the National Player of the Week!
“Treiber helped lead the Volunteers to a pair of SEC wins to conclude the regular season…Nailed 10 kills and recorded five blocks in the upset sweep of rival Florida…It was their first victory over the Gators since 2012 and their first sweep since 1988…Followed that performance with 16 kills on a blistering .481 hitting with a career-high 11 blocks…It also marked her first career double-double…She is the only player in a power-5 conference to rank in the top-five in hitting percentage, blocks per set, and aces per set in their respective conference.
Treiber is the fourth player in program history to be named a Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week. The most recent previous recipient was Kelsey Robinson back on October 11, 2011.”
TENNESSEE COLORADO STATE WASHINGTON STATE NORTHERN ARIZONA R E C O R D S Overall 25-5 (.833) 23-7 (.767) 21-9 (.700) 26-8 (.765) Conference 16-2 (.889)
1st Big Sky
Last 10 Matches 10-0 9-1 6-4 10-0 vs Top 25 4-3 0-2 9-6 1-0 R A N K I N G S Seed – – 16 – AVCA 19 – 19 – RPI 26 38 14 102 Pablo 21 33 15 58 RichKern.com 20 34 19 – PrepVolleyball 13 43 17 50 VolleyTalk 19 31 17 – VolleyMob 16 RV 14 – Massey 16 43 19 84 S T A T S
national ranking in parentheses
Hitting % .253
Opp. Hitting % .192
WEBSITE // ROSTER // SCHEDULE // TWITTER
Tennessee is making their 15th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their first since 2012. UT has the fourth most appearances by an SEC school.
The Lady Vols made their first appearance in the very first NCAA Tournament held in 1981. They made their farthest run in 2005, making it all the way to the Final Four.
The team is 13-14 all-time in the tournament, 9-5 in first round matches, 2-4 in first round road matches, and 1-2 in first round road matches where they don’t face the host team. They’ve won 3 of their last 4 first round matches.
In 4 of their last 5 postseasons, UT was knocked out in a match that went to five sets.
The Lady Vols will head to the Palouse this week, making this trip the farthest they have traveled for an NCAA Tourney match. As far as I can tell, this will be their first trip ever to Washington. During the regular season the team has played in the Northwest several times: Wyoming in 1988, Oregon in 1994, and Boise State (Idaho) in 1995. Some of the California cities they have played in have been a bit farther away. And Tennessee has played much farther away in Hawaii twice, in 1985 and 1999.
Tennessee played 7 teams this year that made the NCAA Tournament. In those matches they went 5-5. UT’s only losses this year came vs Tournament teams.
The Lady Vols enter the Tournament having won 11 matches in a row, and 15 of their last 16.
This year the squad was 9-1 in sweeps, 12-2 in four set matches, and 4-2 in games that required the tiebreaker.
The rest of the season will be played away from home. Tennessee went 11-4 in road matches this year.
Against ranked competition, Tennessee led the SEC this year, with a 4-3 record. No other league school had more than two wins vs a ranked opponent, and no other league school had a winning record vs ranked teams.
Against the field Tennessee is:
— 2-2 vs Colorado State (last match: 3-2 win in 2012)
— 0-2 vs Washington State (last match: 3-0 loss in 2000)
— 0-1 vs Northern Arizona (last match: 2-0 loss in 1987)
In the rally-scoring era Tennessee is:
— 3-1 vs Mountain West Conference teams. The last two times the Lady Vols played a MWC opponent it was Colorado State (a win in 2009 and a loss in 2012).
— 2-2 vs Pac-12 teams. They’ve lost the last 2 in a row. UT hasn’t faced a Pac-12 team since 2006.
— 1-0 vs Big Sky Conference teams. The only meeting was a win over Montana State in 2014.
In the final regular season rankings Tennessee is:
— #19 in the AVCA Coaches Poll (tied with Washington State)
— #26 in the RPI
— #21 in the Pablo Rankings
— #20 in the RichKern.com Poll
— #13 in the PrepVolleyball Glance at the Dance
— #19 in the VolleyTalk Poll
— #16 in the VolleyMob Power Rankings
— #16 in the Massey Ratings
WEBSITE // ROSTER // SCHEDULE // TWITTER
Colorado State is making its 24th straight and 30th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Rams made their first NCAA Tournament in 1983. Their farthest run has been to the Sweet Sixteen, which they’ve made 10 times (most recently in 2014).
Only 10 teams have earned more tournament berths than Colorado State.
The Rams are 29-34 in the Tournament, and 17-5 in first round matches.
Colorado State is facing an SEC team in the Tournament for the 4th time, going 1-3 in those matches. Their only win was in a first round meeting.
The Rams won their 15th Mountain West Conference title this year. They have a 23-7 overall record and a 15-3 conference mark. They are the only MWC team that made the cut this year.
CSU is 11-4 in road matches this year. They’ve swept half their matches this season. They’re: 15-1 in three set matches, 7-4 in four sets, and 1-2 in five sets.
UT and CSU have two common opponents this season. They defeated LSU 3-0, UT defeated LSU 3-1. Both teams defeated Indiana State 3-0.
The Rams went 0-2 vs ranked competition: a close 3-2 loss to #12 (currently #4) Illinois, and a 3-0 loss to #20 Michigan.
CSU enters the Tournament on a 12-1 run, having barely lost their last match of the regular season 16-14 in the fifth set. The last time they lost their final match of the season, they reached the Sweet Sixteen.
Against other members of the subregional field, Colorado State is 1-2 vs Washington State and 7-2 vs Northern Arizona.
Colorado State assistant coach Luke Murray faced the Lady Vols previously as an assistant at ETSU in 2013 in a match won by the Bucs.
WEBSITE // ROSTER // SCHEDULE // TWITTER
Washington State is making its 3rd straight and 13th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars made their first NCAA Tournament in 1991. Their farthest run has been to the Elite Eight, which they’ve made twice (most recently in 2002).
WSU is 11-12 in the Tournament.
Washington State is facing an SEC team in the Tournament for the 3rd time, going 1-2 in those matches. Their lone win? A 3-0 win against Tennessee in 2000.
Wazzou finished fourth in the Pac-12 this season — and earned a Tournament seed! That’s a concrete display of the strength of the conference. They have a 21-9 overall record and a 12-8 conference mark. They are one of 8 Pac-12 teams that made the Tournament.
The Cougars are 10-3 at home this year. They’re: 9-1 in three set matches, 8-4 in four sets, and 4-4 in five sets.
UT and WSU have one common opponent this season. Both squads lost to ETSU in five sets.
Fully half of Washington State’s schedule this season was against ranked competition. The team went an impressive 9-6 in those matches.
Against other members of the subregional field, the Cougs are 2-1 vs Colorado State and 0-1 vs Northern Arizona.
Washington State head coach Jennifer Greeny was an assistant coach at the school in 2000, where her team defeated the Lady Vols in an NCAA Tournament match.
WEBSITE // ROSTER // SCHEDULE // TWITTER
Northern Arizona is making their 3rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lumberjacks made their first NCAA Tournament in 1999. Their most recent appearance was 2015. They were knocked out in the first round both times.
NAU won their regular season conference title as well as the Big Sky Tournament title. They have a 26-8 overall record as well as a 15-3 league record. The ‘Jacks have won 13 straight matches — the last 5 of which were sweeps.
Northern Arizona is 16-6 in road matches this year. They’ve never been swept this season. They’re: 16-0 in three set matches, 7-3 in four sets, and 3-5 in five sets.
Tennessee and Northern Arizona have one common opponent this season. Both squads defeated Florida: UT in a sweep, NAU in five.
The Lumberjacks’ win over #8 Florida was their only match vs a ranked opponent this season. It was their first win over a ranked team since 1989.
NAU head coach Ken Murphy was a former assistant coach at Colorado State under their current head coach Tom Hilbert.