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Friday, January 5, 2018, 9:44 pm

Looking back at the 2017 season

Thanks again for your patience as we finally get around to taking a quick look back at the 2017 season!

The Lady Vols went 12-15 this season, and I will admit this is the first time since I’ve been doing this I was surprised by the team’s W/L record. But I really think this year’s team was better than the final record shows. In fact, switching just 12 points — 12! — around in five different matches would have resulted in Tennessee having a 17-10 record.

FROM 12-15 TO 17-10 IN TWELVE POINTS
OPPONENT ACTUAL SCORE POINT CHANGES POTENTIAL SCORE
South Carolina 1-3

23-25
25-17
25-27
17-25

2 points in the first set, 1 point in the third set 3-0

25-23
25-17
26-24
 

Auburn 2-3

22-25
25-19
18-25
27-25
11-15

3 points in the first set 3-1

25-22
25-19
18-25
27-25
 

Alabama 2-3

20-25
25-23
25-18
23-25
9-15

2 points in the fourth set 3-1

20-25
25-23
25-18
25-23
 

Texas A&M 2-3

17-25
25-15
21-25
25-23
14-16

2 points in the fifth set 3-2

17-25
25-15
21-25
25-23
16-14

LSU 2-3

25-19
25-21
23-25
22-25
9-15

2 points in the third set 3-0

25-19
25-21
25-23
 
 

Tennessee put up some good numbers this year. They had the most actual blocks since 2012 and held opponents to the fewest aces in that time as well. And this squad was the most low-error team UT has seen in the rally-scoring era: they had the fewest hitting errors, the fewest service errors, the fewest blocking errors, and the fifth and sixth lowest numbers in ball handling and reception errors. Add all their errors up this year and the team had over 100 fewer total errors than the next best team since 2001.

So why couldn’t the team get over the hump in 2017? They needed just a little more offensive firepower. The Vols had the fewest attack attempts and second fewest kills of any UT team since 2001. It just goes to show how good this team was in so many other areas that they were still on the cusp of a winning season despite those numbers.

The good news? Tennessee is only losing 25% of their 2017 kill production to graduation. Even better news? Four of the recruits expected to join the team in 2018 are hitters — and all were named PrepVolleyball Senior Aces. Whomever Tennessee hires as their next head coach has been left a strong foundation to build on in their first season.

Here’s a probably not complete list of some of the individual marks set this season:

SINGLE MATCH

Brook Schumacher had the 5th most digs in a match in program history vs UTSA with 36. She also had the 12th and 32nd most in two other matches. Sedona Hansen put up the 43rd most digs in a UT match with 27 vs Auburn.

Tessa Grubbs had the 36th most kills in a Tennessee rally-scoring era match with 23 vs LSU.

Erica Treiber hit .800 (8-0-10) in a three set match vs Wofford.

Callie Williams’ 55 assists vs LSU were the 46th most in a school rally-scoring era match.

Kanisha Jimenez and Callie Williams put down 5 aces each in two different matches this year, good for 8th best in since 2001.

Alyssa Andreno’s 11 blocks during the Western Michigan match were the 11th most by a Lady Vol since 2001. Treiber’s 10 vs Furman were the 17th most.

SINGLE SEASON

Treiber hit .326 this year, the 18th best number in a season at Tennessee all-time. She also made school record lists with the 18th best total blocks (131) and 8th best blocks per set (1.30).

Schumacher’s 463 digs in 2017 were the 8th most by a Lady Vol all-time. Her 4.58 digs per set was 5th best all-time.

Andreno had 1.13 blocks per set this year, the 24th best average all-time at UT.

Hansen’s 3.07 digs per set this season is the 25th best Lady Vol number all-time.

CAREER

Treiber moved up to #8 on the UT career blocks chart with 369.

Hansen joined the school career top 10 list in assists with 1,652.

Schumacher is #12 so far in the Tennessee career digs list with 1,069.

As you can see despite a disappointing record, this is not a team to be disappointed in. While missing a piece or two that they really needed, these Lady Vols did their absolute best with what they had — putting up big numbers in their areas of strength, keeping their errors to historic lows, and coming so close to turning their season around despite their weak spots. I’m proud of this squad and am really looking forward to 2018 and seeing what these women can do with another year under their belts and with some new faces on the court to fill in some needs.