Yes, I’m still here! Usually I would say that jokingly, but with everything going on these days it’s not as funny. Hopefully everyone out there in Lady Vol nation is staying safe and well too.
Weird, but just like last year, I’m making my first post after a long delay on April 1st!
I run some other websites, one of which I do with a group of others. So after taking time off to do this site during volleyball season, I usually try to devote extra time to that site to make up for my absence. And this year we’ve been doing a lot of projects there that have kept me busy.
Not sure when I’ll be back with more with news probably being few and far between right now. With all the extra time off though I should start on some things I’ve been meaning to get around to…
No this is not a repeat from last year!
Congratulations to Alyssa Andreno on being named to the SEC Community Service Team for the second year in a row.
“Andreno was a VoLeaders participant during her sophomore year at Tennessee, including taking a service trip to Ecuador. During her four years at Tennessee, she has completed over 120 hour of community service with 13 different organizations, including East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Read Across America, American Cancer Society and more during her four seasons at University of Tennessee. Andreno is a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative for the volleyball team from August 2017 to present. She has spent the last two years as a captain of the volleyball team. Andreno was named to the 2018 and 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll as well as the 2018 SEC Community Service Team. She was a recipient of the 2018 Academic Achiever Award at University of Tennessee. During her first season on campus, she earned SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll (2016-2017). In the classroom, she has been on the Dean’s List her entire academic career at UT.”
Six teams from the SEC made the NCAA Tournament — unfortunately Tennessee wasn’t one of them. In are #9 Kentucky, #10 Florida, #13 Texas A&M, Missouri, Georgia, and South Carolina. Of UT’s 28 matches, 12 were vs teams in the tournament.
The Lady Vols really needed a win over Missouri a few matches ago to even be on the bubble. But you never know what the committee will do, so I’ve purposely not called the last week “the end of the season”. But that’s official now.
This week I’ll write up a end-of-year review. But until then I’ll leave you with these stats that might cheer you up:
Tennessee started the season 9-11, but finished the year 6-2. They were as low as 10th in the SEC over half way through the league schedule, but climbed back up to 7th. The team really started playing well, it was just a little too late in the season. But it makes me look forward to next year all the more!
Coach Rackham said it nicely after the Mississippi State match: “I wish this team had a little bit more time. I felt like all year, we were going to get there and this team was going to get better. We got better as the year went on. You always want to be playing your best volleyball at the end of the year. We were and we ran out of time to be able to continue this season. But we have a lot of young players and a lot of people who are returning who have been through the season. There were a lot of people that saw a lot of playing time and I that will help us going into the offseason.”
This marks the first time since 2012 that a Lady Vol has earned all-conference honors in back-to-back season. She is the 19th player in program history to make the team in multiple seasons. Since 1979, Tennessee has had 46 separate honorees total 71 first or second team accolades.
Grubbs finishes her Lady Vol career eighth in program history with 1,413 kills while ranking third with 3.75 kills per set. Her team-best 4.06 kills per set this season ranks fifth among all SEC players and her 438 total kills rank fourth. Grubbs kill total this season ranks fifth in program history during the 25-point rally-scoring era and her kills per set ranks fourth.
The Lady Vols earned a 3-0 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville (25-10, 25-18, 25-18). That first set score tied the UT rally scoring record for fewest points by an SEC opponent. The win gives Tennessee their 29th winning season since 1978. Many more details from this match and the previous one tomorrow!
UPDATE: Addisyn Rowe and Lily Felts had 9 kills each. Tessa Grubbs had 8. Rowe matched UT’s 2019 single match high for blocks with 7. Sedona Hansen put up 23 assists while Kailey Keeble had 9. Keeble led the team in digs with 13. Asha Phillips added 12 more and Madison Coulter 10. After a bit of a drought, Lily Felts cemented her status as the team leader in aces this year with 4 more added to her total. Danielle Mahaffey picked up 3 aces — the first time she has had more than one in a game. And Phillips finished her final regular season match with 2.
Tennessee’s 12 team aces were the third most for the team in a rally-scoring era match.
UT held the Bulldogs to just 46 actual points. That’s the 18th fewest by a UT opponent since 2001. It’s the 7th fewest by an SEC opponent in that time — and the lowest UT has held a conference foe since 2011.
This was the only match of the season where no player reached double-digit kills.
Tennessee got the seniors a win in their last match at home (25-18, 25-18, 23-25, 25-15). I’m heading out of town for Thanksgiving and will be without internet until the weekend. (Not thankful for that!) So more details this in a few days.
UPDATE: Lily Felts and Tessa Grubbs led the offense with 14 kills each. Addisyn Rowe added 10 more. Six players had 2 blocks apiece: Alyssa Andreno, Sedona Hansen, Felts, Rowe, Grubbs, and Danielle Mahaffey. Hansen had 47 of the team’s 50 assists. Wearing the libero jersey, Asha Phillips smashed her career high on senior night with 28 digs. Giana Pellizzon added 15 more, Felts 14 (for the double-double), and Madison Coulter 10.
Tennessee is now 7-3 all-time the day before Thanksgiving. They are 13-6 on Senior Day in the rally-scoring era.
Phillips’ 28 digs are the 36th most by a UT player in program history. She’s just the 15th different Lady Vol to ever reach 28 digs in a match.
UT hasn’t had 6 different players put down multiple blocks in a match in two years.
This was win #40 for Eve Rackham.
Tennessee will play their last home game and last away game of the season this week, with Senior Day vs Auburn and at Mississippi State.
If you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out our “look back at the 2019 seniors” article. Also take time to watch a video the official site posted of the seniors remembering their time wearing at Tennessee.
UT is 32-20-1 all-time vs Auburn, 21-9 in the rally-scoring era, 3-7 in their last ten matches, and 6-4 in their last ten in Knoxville.
UT is 48-13 all-time vs Mississippi State, 26-6 in the rally-scoring era, 5-5 in their last ten matches, and 7-3 in their last ten in Starkville.
This will be the 10th match the Lady Vols have played all-time the day before Thanksgiving. They’re 6-3 in those games, with a loss to Auburn among them.
Tennessee is 12-6 on Senior Day in the rally-scoring era. They’re 2-0 when the opponent is Auburn.
Sedona Hansen will be playing her 51st match in Knoxville tonight. The team is 37-13 at home when she’s on the court. In those matches she’s: had 50 kills on 128 attacks with just 6 errors for a .344 hitting percentage; put up 1,477 assists; served up 27 aces; dug up 545 balls; had 27 blocks; and earned 29 double-doubles.
Alyssa Andreno will be playing her 50th match in Knoxville tonight. The team is 34-15 at home when she’s on the court. In those matches she’s: had 261 kills on 624 attacks for a .287 hitting percentage; had 161 blocks; and scored 357 points.
Tessa Grubbs will be playing her 46th match in Knoxville tonight. The team is 30-15 at home when she’s on the court. In those matches she’s: had 610 kills on 1492 attacks for a .281 hitting percentage; had 71 blocks; and scored 663 points.
Asha Phillips will be playing her 36th match in Knoxville tonight. The team is 23-12 at home when she’s on the court. In those matches she’s dug up 128 balls.
The Bulldogs and the Tigers are the two bottom teams in the conference standings — which could make them dangerous the last week of the season with nothing to lose.
Auburn is 0-16 in league play, trying to not become the third AU team to finish winless. They haven’t won a set in their last 8 matches. And they haven’t won more than a single set vs any conference foe this year.
Mississippi State is trying to snap a 7 match losing streak. They are 2-15 in SEC play — both wins came against Auburn.
With two wins by Tennessee and two losses by LSU, UT would end the season in 7th place in the conference.
The team needs one win to prevent a losing season, and two wins to ensure a winning record.
UT’s next victory will be #40 of the Eve Rackham era.
The Lady Vols are 16-6 in the rally-scoring era in their last regular season match of the season, and 23-18 since 1978.
Auburn’s Chesney McClellan is from Knoxville, and during her senior year of high school played for Maryville alongside UT’s Madison Coulter. She previously played for Bearden.
UT head coach Eve Rackham and MSU assistant coach Travers Green held the same job, but at different times. Both were an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida International — Rackham in 2008 and Green from 2012-2013.
Tonight’s match is “FansGiving”, with giveaways all night — starting with a free mini Buttermilk Sky Pie to the first 100 fans.
The home match is also a “Salute to Service”. Current military members and veterans (with military ID or DD 214) will receive complimentary admission for themselves and their immediate family.
Free admission is available if you bring your Vanderbilt football ticket or Lady Vol basketball ticket (11/26 or 12/1) or men’s basketball ticket (11/25).Wednesday, November 27th @ 5:00pm ET
Online Video: SEC Network+ // Live Stats
Last week: lost to Florida and South CarolinaSaturday, November 30th @ 2:00pm ET
Online Video: SEC Network+ // Live Stats
Last week: lost to Texas A&M and Arkansas
NATIONAL & CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKS
I say this every year, but wow, has the season gone by fast! (And not just because it was only the second time this decade less than 30 regular season matches were scheduled.) Tomorrow will be the last home match for four seniors. I know it’s the night before Thanksgiving, but if you can make it out to show them your appreciation please do — and bring all the relatives that are in town!
I write about stats all the time, so today we’ll look back at the seniors with photos, videos, and quotes from their past and some thoughts from me — and, OK, maybe a few numbers as well too!
• Former UT coach Rob Patrick: “She’s quick and athletic and someone who can cover the court. Combined with her elite setting skills, she’ll be able to keep our team in system. She’s one of the quickest setters I’ve ever seen play. She can set every tempo ball with great ease and has the ability to better the ball on a great range of digs. She has the experience, athleticism and intangibles to compete for playing time right away.”
• PrepVolleyball: “Yes, Hansen is an elite setter. But even more so, she is simply an outstanding volleyball player. She serves tough, plays great defense and can even hit with power and range. Setting the ball, Hansen knows exactly who her attackers are and prioritizes her choices for every play. This leads to great decision which, combined with her consistent location, allows her hitters to excel. Hansen can set any tempo and has the rare ability to make in-system plays with out-of-system balls. She has competed at high-level Rancho Valley since she was a freshman and has played up an age group for most of her club career. Her competitive, winning attitude, coupled with great skills, should help Hansen make a profound impact at Tennessee, where she has committed.”
• High school coach Tracy Talbott: “She’s at the top. And it’s not just because she’s athletic, but she’s become an amazing leader… High school is a whole different level than college and I think she recognizes that. I don’t think she’s complacent. She’s driving herself to bring something to Tennessee that makes them different with her there.”
• Hansen on choosing UT: “I loved the coach and the players and the whole environment. They have a good mix of players from all over the United States… I want to make an impact in a big way. And I want us to get back to the NCAA tournament.”
As TV commentators trying to explain volleyball to new viewers always like to say, “the setter is the quarterback of the team!” The person in that position directs the offense, making them a de facto leader for the players on the court and a face of the team to fans. Besides skill, experience and stability are also important attributes for the person holding that job. And unfortunately, Tennessee volleyball has not had those last two traits in a setter for a long time… until Sedona Hansen came along. Believe it or not, she is the first Lady Vol setter to play four seasons on Rocky Top since Julie Knytych left in 2005! She’s been a dependable presence — playing all but 5 matches during her career and appearing in over 95% of the sets played in that time. (Last week she moved into the UT top ten for most sets played during the rally-scoring era.) She’s left her mark all over the assists and digs charts — and the double-doubles list for doing both at the same time. Hansen has brought a determination to her role that has kept the team focused when things haven’t gone their way. But she also has a drive to succeed that has been really fun to watch. (Especially when she goes up for a kill or a solo block!) While we may be able to replace her skill on the court, recapturing her leadership, maturity, and dedication will be a lot harder.
• Hansen in 2016:
• Patrick: “Tessa is a strong, long powerful hitter who plays high above the net. She has the ability to play all three front row positions and has the ability to produce kills due to her powerful offensive game. She also will bring an experienced game and has one of the toughest serves I have seen for any incoming freshman.”
• PrepVolleyball: “[I] was impressed by the height and talent of Carolina Union middle… Grubbs has committed to play the University of Tennessee this fall and her play makes it very evident why.”
• High school coach coach Gina Farley: “Tessa has developed into a top player in an incredibly short amount of time. She was a defensive player’s worst nightmare, hitting over blocks and coming up with huge attacks sent straight to the floor… [Her] experience and leadership is pushing this team. It makes the younger girls better.”
• Grubbs on choosing UT: “When I was there it really felt like a family. The coaches were very welcoming… The atmosphere was great.”
There are a couple of fans who occasionally sit behind me in the stands at Tennessee home volleyball games. And there are two things they can’t stand, one of which is attacks that aren’t hit as hard as possible. “C’mon! Kill it! Spike the ball!”, they complain! Yes, we know that getting kills isn’t just about raw power, but more finesse. Hit the ball as hard as you can at someone and they have a chance to dig it up. Dink the ball to a spot no one is at and you’re going to win the point. But I do see where they’re coming from. Watching a player hit a rocket is undeniably cool. And no one has been more fun to watch doing that in years than Tessa Grubbs. With both strength and volleyball IQ, she has put her name all over the UT record books. She should become just the 5th player in school history to have 4.10+ kills per set in two different seasons (and just the 2nd in the past 17 years). No one in 14 years had more kills than she did in the opening match this year vs #6 Illinois. She’s top ten at UT in career kills (top three in the rally scoring era), top five in career kills per set (first in the rally scoring era), and way too many more top ten charts than I can list here. What makes it all the more impressive is she’s done all this while fighting through some injuries overs the years. Her strength through adversity has served her team well on the court — and it’s a quality that will serve her well in whatever lies ahead in her future.
• Grubbs in 2016:
• Patrick: “Alyssa is a powerful, dynamic athlete, and she brings good volleyball skills as well. She has the ability to play any of the front row positions and will be a force at the net early in her career. Her blocking skills will be very advanced for a freshman coming in. She has the ability to get kills.”
• PrepVolleyball: “Played well… looking good… will garner headlines”
• Andreno on choosing UT: “I kinda just fell in love. I started walking around campus and it just felt like home to me. I met all the girls and I loved them. Academically, it was everything that I wanted. I wanted to play big-time in the SEC.”
Big-time college athletics is serious stuff. Scholarships are at stake. You’re on national television. You have to keep your grades up more than most other students while attending practices, workouts, and matches all over the country. Injuries are a constant worry. Fans in the stands scream at you for not hitting the ball hard enough. Weird dudes on the internet write about you. So with all that pressure that could be weighing them down, it’s always nice to see student-athletes who are able to have fun. And Alyssa Andreno sure looks like she enjoys what she’s doing! I don’t think there’s any other player on the court that likes seeing herself and her teammates doing well and winning as much as she does — which makes her so much fun to watch. And she’s had a lot to cheer about: she’s #20 all-time at UT in hitting percentage, #16 in career blocks, and #15 all-time in blocks per set. And she’s played in all but 7 matches during her career. That’s all great, of course, but what makes her truly impressive is she has handled all the stressors of SEC athletics, played extremely well, not missed hardly any court time all while also being a high achiever in the classroom and in the community. She’s made the honor roll every year, earned a team Academic Achiever Award, was named to the SEC Community Service Team for her many hours of volunteer work, was selected to the VOLeaders Academy which cultivates student-athlete leaders with classes, retreats, and a service immersion experience that sent her to Ecuador! How does she do it?! I don’t know, but she seems to do it all with a smile on her face — something I’m sure Tennessee fans will miss seeing on the court next year.
• Andreno in 2016:
• Patrick: We’re excited to add a Tennessee native to our roster, especially one with the athletic ability that Asha possesses. She will bolster our back court play. She’s already an accomplished defensive player who has some untapped potential.”
• PrepVolleyball: “Phillips’ vision and intelligence create unique mismatches for her opponents front row and back. A strong athlete, Phillips is a club libero with exceptional passing gifts. Look for her to be a high-level collegiate libero.”
• High school coach Shawn Robinson: “She’s just a very hard worker on and off the court and she gets her things done. She’s very self-sufficient so it sets her up to be very successful no matter what she does… You can put her anywhere. That just shows her athleticism. But to be honest, her natural position is defense. Her athleticism allows her to be able to hit in the front row. She’s been a more dynamic outside hitter compared to middle. But I think her natural position is on defense.”
• Phillips on choosing UT: “I had a visit and went to a camp and just really liked it down there, so when they called and offered me, it was kind of a no-brainer for me to go there. I’ve always been a big Vols’ fan and my family has too, so they’re extremely excited that I’ll be going there.”
I’m not sure I’ve really ever said this directly on the site before, but I love back row volleyball! When I returned to Knoxville after an almost 10 year absence and decided to get back into following the game, the Tennessee libero was Chloe Goldman. So I was spoiled by some really good defense, which in turn made it one of my favorite parts of the game. While it seems a lot of people pass over liberos and defensive specialists on the roster (especially when it comes to awards), I can’t wait to read about them. And here at Tennessee we’ve got a solid DS in Asha Phillips. I love seeing that rotation when Phillips is in there with the libero at the same time because I know it’s going to be a lot harder for the opponent to get any ball on the floor. (Even more so when a good defensive setter is back there too!) How much is she relied on by the coaches? She’s been sent out in over 60% of the matches played during her time at Tennessee. She’s a very trusted resource. But fans might not know it from looking at Phillips’ stats here on my site. Unfortunately I can’t keep track of everything because UT occasionally changes what stats they provide year to year, so I stick to the basics. But here’s an example. Head over to the official site and you’ll note the team is tracking receptions on their stats page this year. Six Lady Vols have at last 100 reception attempts on the year. Phillips has the best reception percentage of them all. But she doesn’t just play defense back there. She’s also a reliable serving specialist. Remember the fans behind me I mentioned earlier. Their other pet peeve is missed serves. Ohhhh man, they hate them! I don’t have the stats to back it up, but Phillips is one of the only players I don’t worry about on the service line. Match point? Pshhhw, not going to stress if they send her back there! Whether serving, receiving, or passing, having such a dependable player on the bench you can send out when you need to finish off an opponent, save a game that’s getting away from you, or just calm things down a bit so you can get back in system has been a wonderful advantage for the Lady Vols the past four years.
• Phillips in 2016:
Tennessee fell three points short (one in the third, two in the fourth) in a hard fought match to Missouri 3-1 (18-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-23). More details later tonight.
UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs paced the team with 15 kills. Addisyn Rowe had 12. Alyssa Andreno had a team leading 4 blocks and .545 hitting percentage. Madison Coulter dug up 23 balls. Sedona Hansen had 41 assists, 14 digs, and 3 aces.
Tennessee was down 8 points in the third set before storming back and eventually earning a set point.
Missouri came into the match with the second best hitting percentage in the nation. The Lady Vols held them to their second lowest average of the season in a win.
Sedona Hansen notched career double-double #60 in the match, just two off the UT rally-scoring era record.
Madison Coulter picked up 23 digs. She’s now had 14 matches in her career with 21 or more digs — 8 of which were this season. And she’s one of just three UT players all-time to have 12 matches with 23+ digs. (With some awards being announced next week maybe it’s time to start thinking about filling in the missing gap below?)
TOTAL 21+ DIGS MATCHES AT UT Chloe Goldman 2006-2009 34 AVCA All-America HM
SEC Defensive Player of the Year
6x SEC Defensive Player of the Week
Ellen Mullins 2010-2013 23 2x AVCA All-America HM
7x SEC Defensive Player of the Week
Madison Coulter 2017- 14 ………?……… Amy Morris 2003-2005 14 Volleyball Magazine All-America 3rd Team
AVCA All-America HM
SEC Defensive Player of the Year
2x SEC Defensive Player of the Week
Kristy Dobson 1988-1991 14 All-SEC
The Lady Vols got a 3-0 win over Alabama tonight (26-24, 25-16, 25-18). More details soon.
UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs led the team in kills with 14 and a .571 hitting percentage. Danielle Mahaffey was just behind with 12 kills and a career high .550. Alyssa Andreno hit .429 and Morgahn Fingall .308. Sedona Hansen put up 31 assists. Asha Phillips was the team digs leader with 8.
Tennessee was held to just 2 team blocks. That’s the 4th lowest for UT in the rally-scoring era.
UT had 9 total service errors. That’s 3 per set — the second highest average this year.
Setter Kailey Keeble picked up her first career kill.
Tyler Adams led the team in Eve Rackham’s absence tonight. If my memory is correct, that gives him a 7-1 record as acting coach. Tennessee administration: make sure you’re compensating this man well, so no other team tries to swoop in and lure him away!
After a nine day break the Lady Vols finally hit the floor again, taking on Alabama and Missouri at home.
UT is 37-18 all-time vs Alabama, 18-13 in the rally-scoring era, 4-6 in their last ten matches, and 7-3 in their last ten in Knoxville.
UT is 5-9 all-time vs Missouri, 3-7 in their last ten matches, and 3-3 all-time at home.
Alabama is 1-9 in their last ten matches, and have lost the last 4 in a row. Missouri is 4-1 in their last five matches.
With the SEC Network choosing to exercise their option to pick up the Tennessee vs Missouri match, the Lady Vols will be on TV for a school record eight times this regular season. (They were also on TV eight times in 2005, but two of those matches were in the NCAA Tournament.)
Rather than rehash notes on opponents I’ve already written about once this season, today I’m going to be looking at some of the team’s numbers in the UT record books as we go into their remaining four regular season matches. Apologies if I miss anyone! (Feel free to check out those previous notes for Alabama and Missouri.)
• Tessa Grubbs has 1,362 career kills, which stands as the 9th most all-time. She’s averaging over 16 kills per match this year. At that rate and with four matches remaining she might end up around 1,427, which would be good for 8th place — 27 kills away from 7th.
• Grubbs has a 3.75 kills per set average. That would be the 3rd best all-time, and the highest among UT’s rally-scoring era players. She’s at 4.12 on the year, which would be the 16th top mark in a season.
• Grubbs has a career hitting percentage of .265. If she finishes there she would be 19th all-time.
• Grubb’s 3,382 attacks rank 10th all-time. At her current pace this year she could end up as high as 6th.
• Grubb’s 9.32 attacks per set is 5th all-time.
• Sedona Hansen has 3,352 assists. That’s the 5th most in a career at UT. This year she is averaging about 34 assists per match. She would need about 47 in each of her remaining games to move up to 4th place all-time — something she has done five times already this season.
• Hansen has had 8.18 assists per set during her time on Rocky Top, which is the 9th most all-time.
• Hansen has dug up 1,098 balls in her career, which puts her at 13th place all-time. She needs to average just 10.5 digs in the remaining four matches to crack the top ten.
• Hansen’s 2.68 career digs per set puts her in 16th place all time.
• In rally-scoring era matches (all matches since 2001), the UT record for career double-doubles is 62. Hansen is at 59 with four matches remaining. (The official Tennessee match notes say 62 is not just the rally-scoring record, but the all-time record.)
• Alyssa Andreno currently has 322 career blocks, good for 16th place at UT all-time. If she remains at her current pace this season (3.75 blocks per match) she would reach 14th. With just 5.5 blocks in the remaining four matches she would be in the top ten.
• Andreno’s 0.87 blocks per set currently ranks as the 15th best at the school all-time.
• Andreno’s .259 hitting percentage stands at 24th all-time.
• Madison Coulter has 378 digs on the season — 18th most at UT. At her current pace, in the upcoming four matches she would break into the school’s top ten season digs chart.
• Coulter’s 4.03 digs per set in 2019 already ranks as the 9th highest in a season.
• Addisyn Rowe currently stands at 24th best season hitting percentage all-time with .320.
• Lily Felts could crack the rally-scoring era top 20 in season aces with an ace in each of the remaining matches.
PROMOTIONS AND GAMEDAY INFO
Donations for Second Harvest Food Bank will be accepted all weekend.
You can print this voucher for free admission to the Alabama match.
Friday’s match vs Alabama is Marvel-themed. The first 150 fans get a free t-shirt.
Sunday’s match is a “Salute to Service” and Kid’s Day. Current military members and veterans (with military ID or DD 214) will receive complimentary admission for themselves and their immediate family. Kid’s 12 and under also get in free and there will be activities for them on the concourse.
Coach Eve Rackham will hold a Chalk Talk before the Missouri match, and the team will sign autographs after the match.Friday, November 22nd @ 6:30pm ET
Online Video: SEC Network+ // Live Stats
Last week: lost to Missouri and ArkansasSunday, November 24th @ 2:00pm ET
TV: SEC Network // Live Stats
Last week: defeated Alabama, South Carolina; lost to Kentucky
NATIONAL & CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKS
The Lady Vols got the win vs the Razorbacks this evening on national television. It was their 9th five-set match of the year. More details in the morning.
UPDATE: Addisyn Rowe led the team with 16 kills. Lily Felts had 14, Tessa Grubbs 12, and Danielle Mahaffey 11. Mahaffey put down 7 blocks while Rowe added 8 and Alyssa Andreno 5. Sedona Hansen had a match leading 49 assists and 3 aces. Madison Coulter dug up 23 balls. Felts earned a double-double with 12 digs. And Asha Philips brought up 11.
Four Lady Vols notched double digit kills in a match for the third time this year, something the team hasn’t done since 2016.
Hansen was one dig shy of her 60th career double-double. Julie Knytych has the most in rally-scoring era matches with 62. Hansen would need three double-doubles in her final four matches to catch her.
Six different players served up an ace vs Arkanasas. The team has only done that 17 times since 2001.
Tennessee played in their 9th five-set match of the year. Only two other seasons in program history had more: 2012 with 12, and 1991 with 10.
Tennessee got a 3-0 road win over Alabama this afternoon (25-18, 25-18, 25-18). Full details tomorrow!
UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs was tops in kills with 11, while Addisyn Rowe and Danielle Mahaffey were just behind with 10 each. Alyssa Andreno and Lily Felts had 8 a piece. Rowe hit .714 and Andreno hit a career high matching .700. Grubbs, Felts, and Mahaffey all hit over .300 as well. Rowe and Felts had 2 blocks each, and Felts also added 2 aces to the stat sheet. Sedona Hansen led in assists with 37 and digs with 11.
Grubbs moved into the top ten in school career kills. She now stands at 9th with 1,350.
UT’s .419 hitting percentage was their third highest in the rally-scoring era vs the Crimson Tide, with the only the 2005 Final Four team and the 2011 SEC Champion squad doing better.
Tennessee hit at an almost unprecedented high level during this match. Counting only players who had at least 10 attacks in a match since 2001:
• This was just the 11th time where 5 players hit .300 or higher.
• UT had 6 players hit over .270 — just the 2nd time that has happened.
• Two Lady Vols hit at least .700. That’s a rally scoring era program first.
This was the 3rd match since 2001 where UT held their opponent to the same score in every set. (In a win, obviously!) The last time it happened was in 2008, also at Alabama.
Tennessee will face the teams immediately above and below them in the SEC standings this coming week as they head to Alabama and Arkansas.
UT is 36-18 all-time vs Alabama, 17-13 in the rally-scoring era, 4-6 in their last ten matches, and 6-4 in their last ten in Tuscaloosa.
UT is 21-20 all-time vs Arkansas, 18-13 in the rally-scoring era, 5-5 in their last ten matches, and 7-3 in their last ten in Fayetteville.
The Lady Vols are 4-8 when playing away from home this year, and 2-7 in true road matches.
While Tennessee has played a lot of five-set matches this season, long games are rare in the Alabama series — only 7 such matches in 54 meetings. Only 4 five-set matches have taken place between the teams in the rally-scoring era, all won by the Tide.
Tennessee’s Rocky Perinar may get a chance to play against her sister. Ginger Perinar is a senior outside hitter for Alabama, and takes the second most swings on their team. Rocky got the win in their first meeting last season, with the sisters staying fairly even on the stats sheet. (Ginger had 16 kills, hit .164, put up 3 blocks, dug up 3 balls, and scored 18 points, while Rocky had 14 kills, hit .111, put up 5 blocks, dug up 5 balls, and scored 17 points.)
First year Alabama head coach Lindsey Devine joined the Tide after a 16-year stint just up the road at ETSU. She ended her run there as their all-time winningest coach. In 2013, she snapped a 19 match losing streak to the Lady Vols dating back to 1979. (Her daughter and current assistant coach, Megan Ailshie, was part of that team.) In her next meeting vs Tennessee in 2018, she gave Eve Rackham her first ever loss as a head coach.
Lady Vol Emily Merrick was a teammate of Alabama’s Erin Curl at Flower Mound High school in Texas.
The Crimson Tide only had 4 home matches during the months of August, September, and October. The game vs Tennessee will be their 3rd in a row at home during November.
Arkansas is the only team in the conference with 4 players who have earned multiple double-doubles this year. Tennessee has 3 such players and Alabama 2.
The all-time meeting record between the Razorbacks and the Lady Vols is tight, with UT leading 21-20. The series has been tied or just a single win advantage for one team or the other every year since 2014. Neither team has led the series by more than two games since 2009.
Tennessee is 1-5 in televised matches this season. The team is 3-3 since 2001 when playing Arkansas on TV, and have lost the last 3 in a row.
Top five conference statistical leaders include: UT’s Tessa Grubs is 3rd in kills and 5th in points. UA’s Alyiah Wells is 4th in blocks. UA’s Kaylee Thomas is 4th in digs.Sunday, November 10th @ 3:00pm ET
Online Video: SEC Network+ // Live Stats
Last week: defeated MississippiWednesday, November 13th @ 6:00pm ET
TV: ESPNU // Live Stats
Last week: lost to Georgia and Kentucky, play Texas A&M
NATIONAL & CONFERENCE STATISTICAL RANKS
Georgia got past Tennessee in a tight four-set match (26-24, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21). More later tonight.
UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs led the team with 25 kills while hitting .373. Lily Felts had 13 kills and hit. 357. Danielle Mahaffey had 11 kills and kit .280. Addison Rowe and Mahaffey had 6 blocks each. Alyssa Andreno added 3 more. Sedona Hansen put up 47 assists. Felts picked up career double double number 7 with 11 digs. Madison Coulter served up 2 aces.
Tennessee is 0-4 in four set matches this season.
UT outhit the Bulldogs .284 to .282. This is the third time this year the team outhit or matched an opponent who beat them — two of those matches were vs Georgia.
This is the first time since 2013 where UGA recorded two wins vs the Lady Vols in the same season.