The 2017 volleyball schedule has been released. The Vols play 15 games at home and 15 on the road. They’ll face six teams that made the 2016 NCAA Tournament. In addition to the 18 SEC games on the schedule, Tennessee will play: two teams from the Southern Conference, two from the Atlantic Sun, two from Conference USA, and one each from the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Big 12, MAC, and MEAC. For just the fourth time in program history, UT will play no other teams from the state of Tennessee. Be sure to check out our interactive version of the schedule.
Time to catch up on some of the news from the offseason!
- Nikki Dailey was hired as a new assistant coach for Tennessee volleyball. Dailey was previously on the staff at ETSU, and played for Iowa. Erica Lear, whom she replaces, has moved on to Memphis Metro Volleyball.
- The Vols were picked to finish the conference sixth in a poll by the SEC coaches. That’s their highest finish since the league moved away from the divisional format in 2014.
- Tennessee had another great year academically. Fourteen players on the roster were named to SEC Honor Rolls. Kelsey Bawcombe, Stephanie Buss, Claudia Coco, Mackenzie Cooler, Bri Holmes, Breana Jeter, Taylor Johnson, Nora Reed, Erica Treiber, and Bridgette Villano were part of the 2016 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll, while Alyssa Andreno, Tessa Grubbs, Sedona Hansen, and Asha Phillips were on the 2016-17 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Tennessee has placed at least 5 players on the Fall Honor Roll every year since 1996 — and is the only league team to have done so.
- Erica Treiber is part of UT’s VOLeaders Academy, a program which “allows student-athletes to learn how to have a positive influence on their teams, the campus community and the rest of the world”. The group just returned from a trip to Vietnam.
Just a heads up that I’m in the middle of revamping the design of the website. It’s not done yet so you may notice some issues as I continue working, especially on the interior pages. I’m hoping to have everything done within the week. And then we’ll be ready to start discussing the upcoming season!
As for the new design, the layout isn’t changing much but the look is going to be a bit of an adjustment! The fonts are bolder, the lines are thicker, and we’re all-in with smokey gray. Hopefully you’ll like the changes, and if not, hopefully you can at least live with them!
Lastly, why are the first three letters in the word “Tennessee” in orange in the new logo? They’ll stay that way until August 9th which is — hard to believe, but true — the tenth anniversary of this site’s launch! When I started out I said I wasn’t sure whether a site like this would work, since even the biggest and most popular volleyball teams don’t have fans writing blogs about them (RichKern.com lists only three others). But I added I would “give this idea a shot this season and see how it goes”. I’m not sure I expected to still be here ten years later! And it’s all thanks to the wonderful support I’ve gotten from you all — fans, families, players, and staff. I’ll admit I’m a big enough geek that I’d probably be doing some of the things I do here for my own enjoyment even if I didn’t have a website! But it’s much more fun to be able to share with you. Thank you so much for allowing me to do that for this long.
With both a new design here and an anniversary upcoming, here’s a look back at the site’s logo over the years.
Congratulations to Erica Treiber. After being snubbed by the SEC, she was recognized by the AVCA as a member of the All-Southeast Region Team and an Honorable Mention All-American! Treiber is the 18th different Volunteer volleyball player to earn honorable mention or higher honors. It’s the 25th time a player has been named to the list, and the first since 2013. Treiber is just the fifth Tennessee underclassman to be recognized. Check out all of UT’s All-America honorees on this stats page.
Tennessee’s season is officially over. It was a pretty good year considering injuries and the graduation of our starting setter. Though I think we lost several games we could have won, you can’t be disappointed with 17 wins! And with five underclassmen getting significant playing time, the potential for success in future seasons is bright.
Here are a few very quick highlights of 2016:
- Head coach Rob Patrick’s 20th season
- 30th recorded winning season in program history
- Highest home attendance average since 2012
- 4th highest home attendance in at least the past 18 years
- Went from 110th the end of last year to 84th today in the RPI
- Went from 113th the end of last year to 75th today in the Pablo Rankings
- Went from 13th in the SEC in 2014, 8th last year, to 7th this year
- Finished in the top 5 in the SEC in hitting, opponent hitting, assists, kills, and aces
- Freshman Sedona Hansen finished 19th in the nation in assists per set.
Thanks to the players, their families, the coaches, the support staff, and everyone else responsible for another great season of Tennessee volleyball. I’ll have a few more stories in the coming weeks. And I am WAY behind in posting photos! (By the way, thanks for your patience this year as I had to spend more time than usual on my other website during the presidential election.) Can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017!
The Vols lost their final match of the year to Missouri 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 25-16). Congratulations to the Tigers who share the SEC title with Florida, but earn the NCAA automatic bid. More later…
Yesterday we looked at the players leaving us after three years in Knoxville. Today we’ll look back at the pre-Tennessee careers of two players who have spent the last two years here on Rocky Top. Apologies, as I don’t have as much of info in my files about these players because I didn’t follow them sooner since they transferred in later than the others.
Holmes played at Claremont High School in Claremont CA. She was named First Team All-League her final two seasons and her team won the league title her senior year. Holmes played club for Pacific Juniors. She also played soccer and track & field, winning the CIF Southern Section soccer title her senior season. Before coming to UT, she played for UC Riverside, redshirting for her first year. She was sixth on the team in kills for 2013. In 2014, she led the team in kills and attacks, was second in points, and fourth in blocks.
PrepVolleyball: “A big difference [maker]… not only smashing the ball into the floor, but placing the ball well on the court.”
Holmes, on why transferring to Tennessee: “Definitely the coaching. That was my biggest thing, just Rob [Patrick], and what he looks for in his players, the way he coaches, and his coaching style. It was just everything I was looking for. He just kind of checked all the boxes on my list, and it just worked out.”
Reed played for Hopkins High School in Minnetonka MN, where she was an All Conference and honorable mention All State player. She played club for Northern Lights. Before coming to Tennessee she played at VCU. She played in every set as a freshman and ranked second on the team in blocks. She started every match and played every set her sophomore year finishing third on the team in blocks and attack percentage. Reed’s team defeated the Vols in 2013, coming back from two sets down to win. Reed had 7 blocks in that match.
PrepVolleyball: “Has the power needed to terminate the rally.”
VCU coach Jody Rogers: “A very aggressive blocker with a contagious work ethic. She only knows winning and feeding that fuel as she translates to VCU will only increase her ceiling.”
Yesterday we looked at the seniors leaving us after four years in Knoxville. Today we’ll look back at two players who have spent the last three years here on Rocky Top, what was said about them as they started their college careers, and what they thought about coming to Tennessee.
Coco attended Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek GA. Her team advanced deep into the state tournament in each of her four seasons. They played for the title her freshman and senior years and made it to the final four and final eight in her sophomore and junior seasons. She set the state and national high school record for career digs. Coco made All State twice, was named the Georgia Defensive Player of the Year, was named a PrepVolleyball national Defensive Dandy every season of her high school career, and she was named to four All America teams: Max Preps (First Team), Prep Volleyball (First Team), USA Today (Third Team), and Under Armor (Honorable Mention). She played club for A5 in Roswell GA, where her squads came in third at the AAU Open National Championships twice. She also earned AAU All America honors.
Patrick: “I’m very excited about Claudia joining our program as she’s a player who is homegrown in the Southeast playing for the very successful A5 volleyball program. She’s one of the top liberos in the country as she broke the official Georgia all-time digs record and the unofficial national record. She’s a tremendous defensive presence who will bring a great passion and competitiveness to our team. She is someone who will continue the great lineage of defensive players that Tennessee has had.”
PrepVolleyball: “Her defense repeatedly frustrates and denies the opposing teams’ best hit. Spot-on defense, great reading, anticipation, consistency, speed and tremendous tenacity are Coco’s trademarks. She is a fearless defender who can take over a match. She is not afraid, has a tremendous work ethic and really likes to compete.”
Club coach Blair Boyle: “Claudia is an athlete with an immense passion for the game. Claudia is disciplined and determined. She takes pride in her role as a libero. She pushes herself to work harder each time she steps on the court. She pushes her teammates to be their best and always knows no matter how hard she works, there is more she can do to make herself better. As we all know, liberos don’t get much recognition. This is a libero you cannot help but stop and watch play.”
Coco: “I absolutely loved what I saw at Tennessee from the team and the coaches, it’s close to home and they have a great journalism and broadcasting program, which is what I want to do. I’ve always considered myself a decisive person and once I decided on Tennessee, I just wanted to make it official.”
Johnson, a transfer from Long Beach State, attended high school at Chaparral High School in Temecula CA. PrepVolleyball named her an honorable mention on their top freshman in the country list. Her senior year, the school earned a berth in the playoffs. Johnson was a four-time All-Conference selection. PrepVolleyball added her to their Senior Aces list of the top 250 recruits in the country. She also played beach volleyball. According to UT she “was the 2011 AAU/USA Volleyball L.A. Open gold medal champion”, “AAU/USA Beach Volleyball Southern Pacific Champion”, “2009 AAU/USA Jr. Manhattan Beach Open Champion”, and “two-time Best of Beach Qualifier and three-time State Championship CBVA Qualifier”.
High school coach Pat Manning: “She is an intense and competitive player who still has fun playing the game. That allows her to bounce back from mistakes.”
PrepVolleyball: “A lefty who hits with power and also sets”, an “effective dual threat”, and “a top beach player”.
Johnson: “I love the culture. I love how the fans get into it. I love our team, I love the teammates. I like how we come together as a team to play.”
Oops, they did it again! For the fourth time since 2008, UK’s chances to win the SEC title in their last regular season match were crushed by the Vols. (Kentucky can still share it but it is much more unlikely now and they don’t control their destiny.) Tennessee won 3-1 on senior night (18-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17). More soon!
UPDATE: Kendra Turner led both teams with 12 kills, with just 1 error on 29 attacks; she also had 8 digs. Tessa Grubbs had 10 kills and 4 blocks. Raina Hembry had 9 kills and 6 blocks. Erica Treiber had 8 kills, 5 blocks, 3 aces, and hit .533. Kanisha Jimenez had 7 kills, 16 digs, and 2 aces. Brooke Schumacher also dug up 16 balls. Britney Vallez had 8 digs. Sedona Hansen earned a double-double with 42 assists and 11 digs. Senior Nora Reed started the match and led the team in kills before coming out at the end of the first set.
Tennessee earned their first win over UK since 2011 — five years to the night, in a game that also knocked the Wildcats out of the SEC race.
Kentucky won 19 sets in a row over Tennessee from 2012 to tonight.
UT held the Wildcats to their second lowest hitting percentage of the year: .106.
The Vols end the season 9-3 at home.
After losing seven televised matches in a row, UT has now won their last two.
Tennessee scored their first win over a ranked opponent this season.
The Vols are 5-3 in day-before-Thanksgiving matches, and 4-0 when that team is the Wildcats. UT is an undefeated 3-0 vs ranked opponents on Thanksgiving eve — all three of those wins coming at the expense of UK.
The team scored 17 points off Treiber’s serving. Treiber, who didn’t even play in the first set, had serving runs that scored 4, 6, and 7 points.
It’s that time of year again when we have to start saying goodbye to the Vols leaving us this season. Today we’ll look back at the two UT seniors who have spent the last four years here on Rocky Top, what was said about them as they started their college careers, and what they thought about coming to Tennessee.
Hembry attended Central Catholic in Portland OR. Her team won their third straight state championship her junior year and came in fifth her senior year. She played club ball at Oregon Northwest Juniors Elite, and placed 18th at the 2012 AAU Nationals. She was #45 on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces list and made Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50 list of the top seniors in the nation.
Patrick: “She’s a very athletic, long player who really plays the game of volleyball very well. She will come in and really challenge for the middle hitter position, but also is flexible enough to put her on the right side. She’s a very advanced blocker for her age, which is something that usually takes a while to get proficient at. She’ll come in and play defensively at the net at a high level. The other thing that’s exciting about Raina is her ability to attack the ball in front and behind the setter equally well. Raina is a winner… Raina is going to come in with a lot of high-level volleyball experience and training.”
PrepVolleyball: “Blessed with great size and athleticism, Hembry caught the attention of college recruiters… Hembry is a supreme blocker with great quickness and court awareness and exceptional instincts. A very good slide hitter, Hembry is not a vocal rah-rah type but lets her performance do the talking. Hembry’s potential is still on the rise so Tennessee may be seeing an even more polished player when she arrives in Knoxville next fall.”
Hembry: “I chose Tennessee because I really liked the coaches and the girls were super cool. And I really liked the area, even though I’m from Portland and this is a smaller town. It’s different but I like the small-town big-college… To be a Lady Vol, the attention that comes with it, there’s a certain reputation you have to uphold. I like the gear we get. And people know who you are just walking into a room they’re like ‘Oh, that’s a volleyball player’, so it’s kinda cool.”
Villano attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale FL. Her team was a state semifinalist her junior year and lost in the championship match her senior year. She played club ball for Boomers Volleyball, and placed ninth at the 2011 AAU Nationals. She earned Volleyball Magazine Third Team All-American honors, was an AVCA Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention honoree, and made PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces list.
Patrick: “Bridgette is an elite athlete that we’re excited to get on the court. She played mostly as an outside hitter during high school and her club career, which allowed her to learn the game at a very high level. She brings in quite a bit of experience and gives us a very athletic skill depth at our defensive specialist and libero positions. She’s going to vie for playing time pretty early in her career.”
High school coach Lisa Zielinski: “Bridgette is quick and athletic and has a do or die attitude when it comes to defense.”
PrepVolleyball: “An exceptional athlete… Bound for Tennessee, she shows promise of becoming an elite level libero at the collegiate level.”
Villano: “[Being a Lady Vol], it means a lot. Being a part of a team and a family is really a great thing because there’s always someone here who has your back. And they have a really good support system here for women’s sports, so it really makes me feel involved and important.”
- UT is 29-47 all-time vs Kentucky. The Wildcats have a seven-match winning streak, the last five of which were sweeps. This is Tennessee’s longest drought in the series since UK’s 12 match run from 1985-1992. It’s the longest sweep streak for either team in series history.
- UT is 2-7 all-time vs Missouri. The Tigers have a five-match winning streak, the last three of which were decided 3-1.
- While Tennessee may be out of the running, the road to the SEC Championship winds through Knoxville this week. The Vols face two of the four teams still chasing the title.
KENTUCKY SEC: 15-2 REMAINING: Tennessee
MISSOURI SEC: 14-2 REMAINING: Georgia, Tennessee
FLORIDA SEC: 14-2 REMAINING: Auburn, Arkansas
TEXAS A&M SEC: 13-3 REMAINING: LSU, Auburn
- If a recent pattern holds, the Gators could be taking home their 22nd championship. Every even-numbered year since 2008, Florida has won the title, while another team has won it in odd-numbered years.
SEC CHAMPIONS SINCE 2008 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 ?
- The Wildcats cannot be happy to face Tennessee in their last match of the regular season with a potential conference championship on the line. While Kentucky has appeared in eleven consecutive NCAA tournaments and been a fixture in the polls for some time, they’re still waiting for their first SEC title since 1988. Three of their best most recent chances were thwarted by the Vols in UK’s final regular season game:2008: #17 Kentucky was looking to become just the second team other than Florida to win a league title since 1992. A win over the unranked Vols in Lexington in the last match of the season and they would share the trophy with the Gators. Tennessee pulled off the upset with a 16-14 victory in the fifth set.
2009: Either LSU or Kentucky were going to win or share the title. All the #10 Wildcats had to do was defeat the unranked Vols in the last match of the season. UT went up 2-0 but UK fought back to tie it. In the fifth set, Kentucky led 14-10, giving them four championship points — before Tennessee scored the last six in a row to once again dash their title hopes.
2011: #15 Tennessee came into the final match with a guaranteed share of the conference championship. With a victory over the Vols, #16 Kentucky would get a share of the elusive title. For the third time in four years, the Vols broke the Wildcats’ hearts at the end of the season, this time in a 3-1 decision.
- The Vols are 27-53 vs ranked opponents since 2001. 15 of those wins came with Tennessee themselves unranked.
- The last time UT played back to back ranked teams was October 2015, when they went 1-1.
Note: Missouri and Tennessee list different start times for Saturday’s match.
Also, Missouri says the game will stream on SECN+, but ESPN’s site isn’t listing it yet.
The Vols defeated LSU in four this evening (25-15, 25-27, 26-24, 25-20), clinching the 30th recorded winning season in program history and the 16th of head coach Rob Patrick’s 20-year career. More tonight…
Tessa Grubbs led the match in kills with 19, almost doubling up her nearest teammate, Raina Hembry, who had 10. Erica Treiber and Kendra Turner were just behind with 9. Treiber hit .400 and had 5 blocks. Grubbs hit .378 and had 3 blocks. Alyssa Andreno hit .375. And Hembry hit .320 with 3 blocks. Sedona Hansen moved into the top ten in UT rally-scoring era double-doubles with her 16th, earning it with 51 assists and 15 digs. Brooke Schumacher, wearing Bridgette Villano’s #8, got a career-high 21 digs.