With all the “hustle and bustle” of the holiday season there usually isn’t much time to miss volleyball, but I’m sure that will change as the next seven months drag on! Barring big news, my plan for now is to do at least one update a month collecting stories of interest. I’ll also start doing some updates on the newcomers to Tennessee as we get closer to summer. So even though it’s the offseason for fans be sure to check in occasionally for the latest!
- Knoxnews.com reports that UT head coach Rob Patrick will get another year to try to turn around the program. Patrick and athletic director Dave Hart discuss it in another article, which also touches on the lack of resources, specifically facilities, Tennessee volleyball has had to deal with
Rob Patrick: “There isn’t any one that can put more pressure on me than myself. It’s not like Mr. Hart is putting pressure on me or the contract is putting pressure on me. If you’re competitive and you love what you do, you’re going to go out and do the best you can do. I gave up financial security to go into coaching… Being on a one-year contract, I’m all-in, but I’ve always been all-in.”
Dave Hart: “Rob would be the first to tell you and we have both concurred that what has happened the last two seasons is not acceptable. For us to be in the bottom of the SEC in volleyball, we’ve both acknowledged, is not acceptable…. When we assessed Rob’s career here, it’s a positive assessment. He has an excellent total body of work…. I felt like his performance throughout his career here warranted the opportunity to see if that important piece [the new practice facility] would help him turn this around.”
Personally, I think that an administration in one of the strongest conferences in collegiate sports with the most well respected women’s program in the nation that waited for a team to have their first major stumble in almost two decades before finally building them their own facility holds a little more responsibility than they seem willing to admit. Rather than “permitting” the coach one last opportunity to fix the volleyball problems at Tennessee (after “winning records in 14 of the previous 15 seasons, winning at least 20 games 10 times and reaching nine NCAA tournaments…[and] the Sweet 16 with a 32-3 record in 2004 and the Final Four with a 25-9 record in 2005… with a brilliant academic record”), they should be a little more thankful he didn’t leave years ago for a school willing to give a top tier program the resources it needs to compete.
- Three Lady Vols won’t be returning to Knoxville next season. The local newspaper reports that Jamie Lea and Sabrina Tavakoli have left the team. In addition, Ashley Mariani has also transferred. Lea will play for Loyola Marymount next season and Mariani will be at Iowa.
- UT has noted that their “student-athletes collectively earned a 3.00 grade point average, the fourth consecutive semester that UT has finished over 3.00, while 10 sports earned team GPAs of 3.00 or above”. The volleyball team just missed that threshold for the first time in several years with a 2.97. However ten players on the 16 person roster did earn at least 3.00 GPAs, with four making the Dean’s List.
- Congratulations to the 13 Knoxville area players who made the Tennessee All-State volleyball team!
Bearden: Carrie McGinnis
Catholic: Meredith Bonee, Riley Clem
CAK: Cheyene Hooper, Taylor Call, Courtney Shields
Farragut: Alexis Parker, Raegan Grooms, Emma Milstead
Grace Christian: Kaylee Doig, Belle Karell
Webb: Frankie Harrison, Nicklin Hames
A month ago Tennessee announced they were dropping the name “Lady Vols” for all sports except women’s basketball. The press release was filled with the requisite marketing gibberish and corporate doublespeak that make the decision seem like it was more the result of math and science spit out of a computer than humans making the right decisions for people. A lot has already been said by others a lot more invested in this than me and with bigger platforms. But I’d like to make a few points before decades of tradition gets steamrolled for no real good end.
A lot of conversation, mostly from people with no affiliation with Tennessee, has been about how it’s about time this antiquated notion that girls aren’t worthy of using the same name as the men’s teams was gotten rid of. (They always seem to gloss over how making women adopt the men’s logo and nickname isn’t sexist itself.) The argument is that there was a time when women doing something stereotypically seen as masculine was labeled to point out how different from the norm it was, like “lady doctor”. Women’s sports teams were sometimes labeled this way too to separate them from the “real” school teams, they argue. And all that is true (but probably not the case for UT). And if that was still the intent or even the inference the name “Lady Vols” gives, maybe we should get rid of it. But in the case of Tennessee, at least, the term “lady” has been taken away from those that might have once used it to belittle a girl’s team and turned it against them into a show of just how powerful and empowered women’s sports can be. No one who knows Tennessee athletics considers the Lady Vols as somehow inferior to the Vols. Any outside sports writer who thinks they know what’s better for the “womenfolk” down here is showing the same lack of respect for our choices they claim to be fighting against.
The press release casually mentions Nike’s branding gurus being involved in this decision, and later reports detail that as well. If their input was a big deciding factor I’d find that troubling. According to an article, “one of Nike’s recommendations was that UT had too many colors and fonts”. Keep in mind this is coming from a company that has made a name for itself in creating a range of unique and varied uniforms for college football teams, including alternate variations they can pick and choose from during the season. (Exactly how many different uniform styles has Oregon used?) Now when they are getting ready to take over the apparel contract at a new school that would require them to use different colors, fonts, and logos for women they are worried about consistancy? I admit I haven’t done official research on this, but before this was even announced I had already noticed that some of the college volleyball teams Tennessee faced that used Nike seemed to have much more plain, boring uniforms than those who did not. If those sports writers that scream “Lady Vol” name supporters are sexist want to do something more constructive, maybe look into whether female teams are getting the short end of the stick vs men in these university apparel deals!
One of the most disingenuous parts of this story (I’d be willing to bet) has been the claim by UT athletic director Dave Hart that this decision was reached after conversations with student-athletes. He later added “team by team without question, the consensus was our women’s teams are very happy” and “our women’s teams received this very positively“. First of all, they really had no choice. This decision was made, according to the press release, with “the talents of the NIKE Graphic Identity Group” and after studies “conducted by the University Office of Communications and Marketing” and “in conjunction with industry leaders in higher education branding… with both audits recommending the consolidation of logos and word marks in order for better branding consistency”. They didn’t do all that work and spend who knows how much money to then let 18-22 year olds veto it at the end. Also, the athletic department holds scholarships worth thousands of dollars over the heads of these players. Who wants to be first to stand up and dissent when the guy who signs the checks asks what you think of his big idea? Secondly, Lady Vols who have talked about the decision have been all but unanimous is supporting the name “Lady Vols” (more on that below). To claim their support is much more disrespectful than calling them “ladies”.
So is there any compromise available here? Maybe? (But probably not!) The original report mentions branding 18 times. The school itself is moving from the clever UT-with-the-state-outline logo to the Power T as their official logo. The press release notes, “having a consistent mark used by both the University and the athletics programs affords another opportunity for greater consistency and brand identity for the University of Tennessee as a whole and was a factor in the athletics branding decisions as well”. That’s all well and good, but it really just applies to the logo. The names “Volunteers” and “Lady Vols” only apply to the athletic teams, not the educational part of the school. So why not change to the Power T but keep the name? Yes, I get that the name is part of it all, but it is really only the logo that would be the consistent mark between the university itself and its athletic department. And to be brutally honest, it absolutely and completely goes against the entire grain of the report to remove the name “Lady Vols” from the nine teams most of the country has never heard of while keeping it for the basketball team, the most well known face of Tennessee’s women’s sports. If they are using it, there is no logical reason to remove it from any other team. So change the logo, keep the name. I’ll get you started. In just a few minutes I was able to make the two versions of the Lady Vol logo using the Power T seen in this article. Imagine what the school could do with all the resources at their disposal. Or if they prefer, don’t do a new logo. Just stick to the Power T by itself for the university, the men’s athletic teams, and the women’s athletic teams. Too many colors? Orange and white all the time for everybody. One name for everybody? Put “Tennessee” on every uniform. Done! Nice and consistent. And the men could still be the Volunteers and the woman could still be Lady Vols, without Nike or UT sullying the brand.
Equality isn’t removing an identity strong women have made for themselves against the adversity they faced in the past and forcing them to take a man’s name, but celebrating differences without being confined by them. Respect isn’t shaming women and telling them what they should be, but letting them choose for themselves. Tradition doesn’t mean blindly accepting the worst of the past, but taking what those who came before you built and improving upon it.
In the end, the women of Tennessee are a proud and extremely talented group of athletes, regardless of what they’re called.
Best sure to check out these articles about what other have said about the decision:
— Former UT volleyball player Leslie Cikra: “The Lady Vol symbol allowed us to stand alone. It embraced the power of a female in a previously male dominated world… Removing this symbol is… a dishonor to every Lady Volunteer who earned a championship, and to every Lady Vol who put their own blood, sweat and tears into their tenures to continue this legacy. The Lady Vol symbol provides a source of inspiration and pride for all who had the honor of representing Tennessee.”
— UT volleyball player Raina Hembry: “They may try to take the Lady Vols T from us but that doesn’t mean we won’t carry on the tradition.”
— Knoxville News-Sentinel: Softball players refer to branding change as ‘really sad’ and ‘bittersweet’
— USA Today: Tennessee’s name change frustrates some ex-Lady Vols
— Washington Post: Tennessee women’s athletes know what it means to be a ‘Lady’
— Cikra has also started a website collecting former players’ views on the change titled Bring Back the Lady Vols: “We are all deeply disappointed and hurt by the University taking away this tradition … This website is going to be a running collection of letters. I hope that you will all take the time to read the letters. It will help explain through the eyes of the Lady Vols, the impact that this decision will have not only on former athletes, but on the future of Tennessee athletics.”
— Former UT swimmer Trisha Weaner started a petition drive: “Being a Lady Volunteer is something that I will cherish forever. The Lady Vol T is more than a symbol. The T served as a fountain of inspiration during my tenure as a student-athlete. It is heart breaking to realize that no future athlete will have the opportunity to be apart of the Lady Vol tradition.”
It is hard to believe the 2014 season is already over. It was a tough year for the Lady Vols. (And speaking of things it’s hard to believe, how about the fact that this was the last season the team gets to use that name?) After a large potion of the team left in late-2012/early-2013, the coaches had to scramble to put a full roster on the court. It was no surprise that last season was one of the worst in program history. This season the staff had the luxury of time when it came to recruiting new players. In a real sense this year, not last, was the first full year of rebuilding for Tennessee. And it showed! But with 14 players on the 16 person roster having been on the court in Knoxville for one season or less, it wasn’t completely unexpected. It took time to build up to where the Lady Vols were in 2011. And after the events of 2012 it will take time to build back up to that level. There will be rough patches like we saw this season. There will probably be more premature goodbyes (with only one player graduating from the 16 person roster and at least three more on their way next year, something will probably have to give). But whatever happens in the off season and next year, volleyball will be successful at Tennessee eventually. How do I know? Tradition, coaching, and fans.
We have a winning tradition: this was only the fifth losing season at UT in the last two decades, and the first back-to-back losing seasons since 1994-95. Volleyball may not have been one of the most popular sports at the university, but it has been one of the most consistently successful.
We have a coaching staff accustomed to success: Rob Patrick has two national championships as an assistant coach at Stanford, two SEC championships with Tennessee, and two national coach of the year awards. Rachel Cooper still has the third most career kills in school history from her playing days at Mississippi State, was an assistant coach at ETSU during their best season on record, and helped the Lady Vols to an SEC championship her first year on the job. The AVCA also recognized her with their 30 Under 30 award for up-and-coming coaching talents. Erica Lear still stands at number two in UT history for career assists, won the Danish Professional League Championship, and as an assistant at Emory helped the team to the University Athletic Association championship and a 6th place final national ranking. If any staff can find and train elite players it’s these coaches. (We just need to hope no one steals them away!)
We have a fast growing volleyball community in Knoxville: Attendance at Tennessee volleyball matches has tripled since 15 years ago, Knoxville is up to three big volleyball clubs in town from just one ten years ago, and this year four city high schools made it to the state semi-finals or better (Catholic lost in the semis, Farragut lost in the finals, and CAK and Webb won state). Fans in Knoxville want successful volleyball and will do what they can to support it.
So we have the tradition, the coaches, and the community behind the team. The coaches will take care of the players. All that is needed now is time. And that’s the hardest thing — being patient while all the pieces come together.
To wrap up the 2014 season, I’d like to thank everyone who takes the time to visit this site. I’d probably do it even if you didn’t come, but it’s more rewarding knowing others enjoy it too! Thanks to all the coaches and staff who put in the long hours of hard work to put together something the rest of us are able to enjoy as a leisure time activity. Thanks to all the families who allow their children to come join us here in Knoxville. And thanks to all the players who literally give blood, sweat, and tears — we know you are doing your best and we appreciate you so much. Seeing the way you represent Tennessee even when things aren’t going the way you might like makes us all the more proud of you.
Ashley Mariani and Kanisha Jimenez both hit seven kills each, while Kendra Turner had six and Shealyn Kolosky five. Kolosky hit .571 and Turner .333. Kolosky led both teams with four blocks while Turner was just behind with three. Lexi Dempsey had 26 of the team’s 27 assists. Bridgette Villano had nine digs and Megan Hatcher added eight more. Tennessee had a season high tying 12 service errors. They allowed Alabama the fifth highest team hitting percentage of the season, .345.
The final match of the year for Tennessee is today at 2:00pm ET vs Alabama in Tuscaloosa. UT is 33-14 all-time vs the Crimson Tide. This is also the final match for the team as the “Lady Vols”. So be sure to follow along on the SEC Network+, via online stats, on Twitter, or the official site’s live blog. More match info from UT is available here.
UPDATE: On senior night, Shealyn Kolosky came up huge with a new career high 13 kills. She also hit .500 and tied her season high with seven blocks. Kanisha Jimenez and Kendra Turner had nine kills each. Jimenez had five blocks and Turner four. Iesha Bryant had 3 blocks, including the only solo by either team. Taylor Johnson had 33 of the team’s 35 assists. Megan Hatcher led both teams with 15 digs. Jimenez had ten, and Johnson and Kelsey Bawcombe had seven each.
Tennessee will finish the season this Saturday vs Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
We’ve got family coming for the holiday tonight and staying for the rest of the week, so I’ve spent the past few days preparing for them. After getting all the info for senior night written up I didn’t have time to get match notes ready. But here are a few details I had prepared.
- Arkansas and the Lady Vols are all knotted up with each winning 17 matches in the series.
- Tennessee has done a good job sending off the seniors right. The team is 10-5 in the last fifteen years on senior night. Arkansas has been that opponent twice: a 3-1 loss in 2002 and a 3-0 win in 2010.
- Tonight will be the sixth match in program history played the night before Thanksgiving. UT is 4-1 in those matches.
UT ON THANKSGIVING EVE 1981 vs Alabama W 3-0 2009 vs Kentucky W 3-2 2010 at Kentucky W 3-0 2011 vs Kentucky W 3-1 2012 vs Texas A&M L 3-2
- Arkansas: Wednesday 11/26 at 6:00pm ET
website | match info from UARK | live stats | SEC Network
- Tennessee: website | match info from UT
- See what these teams are saying on Twitter…
- Today the home crowd will say goodbye to a Lady Vol senior.
Shealyn Kolosky has been through some major ups and downs in her four years on the court in Knoxville. She came in with one of the biggest freshman classes (six players) and is leaving as the only one still here. Her sophomore season was cut short due to injury but she bounced back her junior year with a career high number of kills. Her first season was one of the best on record (a 28-4 record and an SEC Championship) and her last will be a fairly rare losing season. But through it all she has been the team’s constant, calling for the ball from the middle and usually making a big kill when the quick set comes her way. Here are some of her statistical highlights:
- Kolosky currently has 500 kills on 1,273 attacks.
- Of all the players in the rally-scoring era with at least 1,000 attempts, her career .238 hitting percentage is the 13th best.
- Her .769 performance vs Seton Hall in 2011 stands as the fourth best by a player with double digit attacks since 2001.
- Her .667 vs Mississippi earlier this season is at #21 on that list.
- The senior has had 20 matches in her time on Rocky Top where she hit .400 or better.
- In the past five years, a Lady Vol has notched 10+ blocks in a match only twice — Kolosky is one of them, getting ten in a second round NCAA Tournament match vs Ohio State.
- She also had 11 kills in that match, earning her only career double double in one of that championship teams biggest matches.
- Only 15 different players since 2001 have had three or more solo blocks during a match. Kolosky did it last year vs Austin Peay.
- She’s one of only 13 players with 200+ career blocks since 2001.
Be sure to come out to Thompson Boling Arena tonight to show your support for her and the Lady Vols as they finish off their home schedule vs Arkansas at 6:00pm
- The SEC has announced their annual volleyball awards. Alex Holston of UF is the Player of the Year, Jackie Napper of UK is the Libero of the Year, Rhamat Alhassan of UF is Freshman of the Year, and Mary Wise of UF is Coach of the Year. The Scholar-Athletes of the Year are Carly Kan of MU and Shelby Sullivan of TAMU. For the full list of the All-SEC team and the All-Freshman team check out the link above.
- Tennessee has announced three players that will be joining the
LadyVols squad next season: outside hitter Breana Jeter and middle hitter Erica Treiber, and defensive specialist Brooke Schumacher. Check out the story for details and quotes from the coach. I’ll have more about the 2015 recruits during the off-season.
As usual it snuck up on us. We’ve reached another season’s end and the final chance to see this year’s only senior — and the last to be called a Lady Vol. Today we’ll dig through the archives and take a look back at Shealyn Kolosky before she took the court for Tennessee: high school and club, what was said about her, thoughts on her arrival at UT, and some old photos!
Shealyn Kolosky was a middle hitter at Wheaton Warrenville South in Wheaton IL. She was named to PrepVolleyball’s list of top players in Illinois twice. She was All-Conference for two years and All-Area her senior season. She was one of the top 50 volleyball players in the Chicago area according to the Sun-Times. And she was listed on the AVCA Girls’ High School All-America Watch List. Kolosky played club at Sports Performance VBC. Her team finished 9th at the AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championship her junior year and won it all her senior year. She was ranked the #83 recruit in the country by PrepVolleyball.
HS coach Bill Schreier: “Shealyn’s biggest growth has been in her ability to demand the ball at crunch time”
The Chicago Daily Herald: “A force to be reckoned with at the net. She has developed into a solid offensive option and added shots to the power she already possessed.
Former UT assistant coach Gregg Whitis: “We started recruiting Shealyn as a sophomore. She has always had good size and a great volleyball frame and when she came to our camp she really stood out because of how physical she was. We think she has the ability to attack both in front of and behind the setter, which is a big part of our offense, and we expect her to play at a very high level as she continues to gain experience on the court.”
PrepVolleyball: “Kolosky is a physical player and a 10-foot athlete who can really take up some space at the net. Not only has she played a high level of volleyball for an extended period of time in both club and high school, she has great potential for continued improvement.”
UT head coach Rob Patrick: “She’s a physical specimen and somebody that we’re very excited about as she develops over her four years. She comes in with a great net presence. She has a tremendous arm swing. She’ll vie for playing time in the middle. A hard worker as most middles need to be to be successful.”
PrepVolleyball: “At 6-2 and with a legitimate touch above 10-0, Kolosky has ideal size, athletic ability and skill for the middle blocker position. Kolosky is physical — she hits high and hard and is a big block. She also possesses a fast arm swing, which makes her a capable attacker both in front of and behind the setter. Playing for Sports Performance, Kolosky has received tons of training and match experience playing middle at a high level. She’ll be ready to contribute right away when she gets to Tennessee.”
Kolosky on why she chose Tennessee: “I really like how the boys and girls programs are separate — the Vols and the Lady Vols — and I thought that was really important. I also liked how different it was from my high school atmosphere”; “It’s a cool environment and I really love everyone on the team. I like the coaching staff and the direction the program is headed.”
- UT is now 21-36 all-time vs LSU.
- UT is now 6-6 all-time vs Texas A&M.
- UT is 36-27 all-time vs South Carolina.
- This was the first Lady Vols loss in Baton Rouge since 2010.
- Tennessee’s .052 hitting percentage vs LSU was the team’s sixth lowest in a match in the rally scoring era.
- The Lady Vols had a total of 53 errors vs the Tigers. That’s the second most in a match in the past five years and the 16th most since 2001.
- All five matches in the Texas A&M series played in College Station have ended in a sweep for one team or the other.
- For just the 17th time since 2001 (and the third time this year), Tennessee had more statistical points than an opponent in a loss (78 for UT and 73 for SC).
- UT and the Gamecocks each had 64 kills on the night — both a season high for Tennessee and a season high allowed to an opponent.
- Three Lady Vols had double doubles vs South Carolina, a feat matched in only 35 other matches since 2001 and bested in only two matches.
- Tennessee played in just their third five set match of the year on Wednesday night.
- The 239 people on hand for the SC match were part of the second smallest volleyball crowd in Thompson-Boling Arena history.
- Six different Tennessee players have notched 19 double doubles this season.
- Tennessee now has 20 or more losses for just the second time in head coach Rob Patrick’s 18 year career, and for only the sixth time in program history.
CAREER HIGHS (matched or exceeded)
- Iesha Bryant: kills in a five-set match (vs SC); block assists in a three-set match, total blocks in a three-set match (vs TAMU)
- Lexi Dempsey: kills, hitting percentage, points in a five-set match (vs SC)
- Megan Hatcher: assists, aces, points (vs SC); assists in a three-set match (vs TAMU)
- Kanisha Jimenez: kills, attacks, digs in a five-set match, points in a five-set match (vs SC); kills in a four-set match, attacks in a four-set match (vs LSU); digs in a three-set match (vs TAMU)
- Taylor Johnson: kills, attacks, assists in a four-set match, digs in a four-set match, points (vs LSU); attacks in a five-set match, points in a five-set match (vs SC); assists in a three-set match, points in a three-set match (vs TAMU)
- Ashley Mariani: kills, aces, points in a five-set match (vs SC); digs in a three-set match (vs TAMU)
- Bridgette Villano: digs in a five-set match (vs SC)
Tennessee fought back but fell short in their bid for a win over South Carolina, falling in five (25-22, 15-25, 25-19, 23-25,15-9). More tonight.
UPDATE: Ashley Mariani led both teams with 18 kills. Kanisha Jimenez had 13 kills and Kendra Tuner 12. Raina Hembrey put up six blocks. Lexi Dempsey had 27 assists and Taylor Johnson added 20 more. Megan Hatcher dug up 21 balls and Bridgette Villano had 19. Jimenez, Dempsey, and Mariani all earned double doubles with 13, 12, and 10 digs respectively.
This was just the third five set match of the year for UT. The team hit .209 in the loss. The mid-week match at an earlier time than usual probably contributed to this being the lowest attended match in Knoxville in the past six years with just 239 on hand.
Tennessee came out tough and finished strong but couldn’t prevent a sweep vs the Aggies in College Station today (25-21, 25-14, 25-23). Kanisha Jimenez and Ashley Mariani had eight kills apiece. Iesha Bryant had six and added in five blocks as well. Jimenez and Jamie Lea had two blocks each. Jimenez also led the match in digs with 12, while Megan Hatcher had ten. Taylor Johnson put up 17 assists and Lexi Dempsey 11 more.
The Lady Vols will be home this Wednesday at 6:00pm — check out the match notes previously posted here.
The Lady Vols fell to the homestanding LSU Tigers in four on Friday night (25-14, 25-16, 21-25, 25-16). Kenisha Jimenez lad the team with 11 kills and 42 attacks. Jamie Lea had nine. Jimenez and Kendra Turned had two blocks each. Taylor Johnson earned a double double with 29 assists and 10 digs. Megan Hatcher dug up 17 balls.
Tennessee hit a season low .053 on a season high 33 attack errors. The team also matched their season low block total. LSU put down eight solo blocks during the match, one shy of the most vs UT in the rally scoring era.
Here are some Lady Vol related links from around the web:
- “Lexi Dempsey shows Volunteer talent on volleyball court” — The Daily Beacon
- “Valley products playing volleyball at big-name colleges” — The Desert Sun
- “USA volleyball: Robinson quickly becomes world champion” — Lincoln Journal Star
- “After coaching all over the country, Dunbar-Kruzan has found her home” — Indiana Daily Student
- “One Tennessee: Branding Restructure” — UT Sports
I’ll have more to say about that last item soon.
Tennessee hits the road for a western swing where they’ll face LSU and Texas A&M, before heading back to Knoxville for a midweek showdown with South Carolina.
- UT is 21-35 all-time vs LSU. Tennessee is 4-6 in the last ten meetings. The Lady Vols have a two match winning streak playing in Baton Rouge.
- UT is 6-5 all-time vs Texas A&M. The Aggies have a three match winning streak.
- UT is 36-26 all-time vs South Carolina. Tennessee is 9-1 in the last ten meetings.
- All three opponents this week are ranked in the top 100 of the NCAA RPI: Texas A&M at 15th, LSU at 21st, and South Carolina at 89th. LSU is also receiving votes in the latest Coaches Poll and stands at an unofficial #34.
- After starting their SEC season with three losses, the Tigers have roared back to win their last ten in a row — the longest conference winning streak for the team in 22 years.
- LSU will finally get to host the Lady Vols after playing their last three meetings in Knoxville.
- LSU has only played six of their 22 matches at home this year, all conference games. They are 4-2 in those matches.
- Last time this season vs LSU: “The Lady Vols fell to LSU in straight sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-16). Jamie Lea had eight kills, four blocks, and hit .300. Raina Hembry had six kills and six blocks. Lexi Dempsey and Taylor Johnson had 11 assists each. Bridgette Villano dug up 9 balls. For the fifth time this season, UT held an opponent to four or less blocks. LSU held Tennessee to the second fewest attack attempts of the rally scoring era.”
- TAMU is 5-2 at home vs the SEC this season.
- Texas A&M spent seven weeks in the Coaches Poll this season before dropping out two weeks ago after losses to Alabama and LSU.
- The Aggies have had a tough schedule in 2014. They’ve faced seven opponents ranked 16th or higher. They defeated #6 USC, #13 San Diego, and #16 Kentucky, and lost to #6 Florida State twice, #9 Florida, and #13 Kentucky.
- Tennessee and A&M have played in College Station on four occasions. Each time the result was a sweep for one team or the other. In fact, every time UT and the Aggies have played outside Knoxville the match has always been a sweep.
TENNESSEE VS TEXAS A&M OUTSIDE KNOXVILLE 1983 Tennessee wins Baton Rouge LA 3-0 1983 Tennessee wins College Station TX 3-0 1987 Tennessee wins Baton Rouge LA 3-0 1994 Texas A&M wins College Station TX 3-0 2012 Tennessee wins College Station TX 3-0 2013 Texas A&M wins College Station TX 3-0
- Last time this season vs TAMU: “Tennessee dropped a three set match to #21 ranked Texas A&M (25-14, 25-21, 25-15). Kelsey Bawcombe led the team with both ten kills and six digs. With just three errors on 22 attempts she hit .318. Shealyn Kolosky had six kills and hit .444. Lexi Dempsey had 12 assists. As a team the Lady Vols had some lower than usual numbers in assists, attacks, digs, and especially blocks — they had only two total team blocks, which is the second lowest total of the rally scoring era.”
- South Carolina is one of only two SEC opponents the Lady Vols defeated in their last meeting: SC (on October 25, 2013) and Mississippi (on October 26, 2014).
- The Gamecocks have lost seven of their last nine matches, with games vs Auburn and Arkansas this weekend before they take on Tennessee.
- Each opponent this week has a player who shares a club team with a Lady Vol. LSU’s Katie Lindelow and UT’s Kendra Turner both played club ball at Louisiana Volleyball. Ashley Mariani and Texas A&M’s Katelyn Labhart both played club under former UT assistant coach Mike Minnis at Dallas Summit. And South Carolina’s Abby Feruck and Tennessee’s Claudia Coco both played for A5 in Georgia.
- LSU: Friday 11/14 at 8:30pm ET
website | match info from LSU | live stats | live video
- Texas A&M: Sunday 11/16 at 2:30pm ET
website | match info from TAMU | live stats | live video
- South Carolina: Wednesday 11/19 at 6:00pm ET
website | match info from SC | live stats | live video | TV: ESPNU
- Tennessee: website | match info from UT
- See what these teams are saying on Twitter…
statistical rankings coming soon…