Friday, August 31, 2018

Lady Vols hand Winthrop a loss

UT swept Winthrop (25-13, 25-24, 25-17) in their first match of the Rocky Top Invitational. More soon.

UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs had 12 kills on 30 attacks, hitting .300, while Erica Treiber had 10 kills hitting .333. Treiber put down 5 blocks and Breana Jeter added 4 more. Sedona Hansen had 20 assists. Callie Williams put up 15 assists and had the only 3 aces of the match. Brooke Schumacher had 18 digs, Hansen just missed the double double with 9.

Schumacher’s 18 digs moved her into the UT all time career digs top ten list with 1,121.

Tennessee held the Eagles to a .000 hitting percentage — the second time they’ve done that to an opponent in the four matches played so far this season.

The Lady Vols have won their last three matches in sweeps — the first time they’ve had three in a row since 2012.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

UT recruits named to 2019 Senior Aces list

PrepVolleyball has announced their Senior Aces, a list of the top 250 volleyball recruits in the Class of 2019 and several future Lady Vols have been honored. The list is comprised of a ranked top 100, 25 people who just missed that cut, and then the next 125 unsorted.

Kailey Keeble, a 5’8″ setter from Heritage High School in Maryville TN, is ranked at #64. PrepVolleyball says of her: “A great floor leader… a fast and agile player with great court awareness and a plethora of outstanding skills… one of the best attackers in East Tennessee… sure to be a spark and fan favorite at Tennessee from her first moment at Rocky Top.”

Making the just-missed-the-top-100 list are Morgahn Fingall, a 6’0″ right side hitter from Chantilly VA, and Kora “Travel” Morris, a 6’3″ middle from Spring TX.

And lastly, Emily Merrick, a 6’4″ middle from Flower Mound TX, made the cut for the top 250.

(Also, congrats to two local high schoolers going elsewhere who made the list: #43 Kayleigh Hames from Webb who will play for Pepperdine, and Caroline Bower from Farragut who’s heading to College of Charleston.)

Tennessee currently has six players who were named Senior Aces during their final year of high school: Sedona Hansen, Danielle Mahaffey, Lily Felts, Erica Treiber, Callie Williams, and Raquel Perinar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018 Match Notes: Rocky Top Invitational

It’s Alumni Weekend! The Lady Vols host the Rocky Top Invitational with Winthrop, North Florida, and Indiana State coming to Knoxville.

  • Tennessee is 3-2 all time vs Winthrop. The last meeting was a UT sweep in 2003. All the other meetings were in the early 1970s.

    Tennessee is 1-0 all time vs North Florida. The only meeting between the teams was a 3-1 UT win in 2015.

    Tennessee is 1-0 all time vs Indiana State. The only meeting between the teams was a 2-0 UT win in 1977.

    Since 2001, UT is 5-1 vs the Big South, 11-1 vs the Atlantic Sun, and 3-2 vs the Missouri Valley Conference.

    A win over Winthrop would be UT’s 50th win all time in the month of August. Right now the team is 49-7.

    This tournament features a full roster of coaches just starting out in the lead job. Tennessee is Eve Rackham’s first head coaching position. Winthrop’s Chuck Rey just started his first season as a head coach. North Florida’s Kristen Wright is in her first year as a head coach at the NCAA level. And Indiana State’s Lindsay Allman is the old-timer of the group, having just started her second year as a head coach.

    Former Indiana State head coach from 2003-2007 Julie Krofcheck currently resides in Knoxville, married to former Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick.

  • There’s an interesting (but really just-for-fun) feature on the stats section you might want to check out: on the page that lists UT’s all time season records, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see an extrapolation of where current Lady Vols might stand at the end of the season at their current rate for comparison. For example, Brooke Schumacher had 34 digs in the three matches played so far this year. If she were to remain at that pace in the 27 matches remaining on the schedule, she would have 340 digs at regular season’s end — good enough to make the UT all time top 30 for season digs.

    A voucher for free admission to the Winthrop match is available on UT’s promotions page. Also be sure to note while there that kids 12 and under can get in free to both Saturday matches.

    2018: 0-4 // 2017: 18-14, 8-8 Big South
    Friday, August 31, 7:00pm ET
    Knoxville TN // Online Stream // Live Stats
    2018: 0-3 // 2017: 13-19, 5-9 ASUN
    Saturday, September 1, 12:30pm ET
    Knoxville TN // Online Stream // Live Stats
    2018: 2-1 // 2017: 11-21, 8-10 MVC
    Saturday, September 1, 7:30pm ET
    Knoxville TN // Online Stream // Live Stats

    Monday, August 27, 2018

    Tennessee getting some notice in the rankings

    After an upset of the #22 team in the country and two other wins to start the season 3-0, the Lady Vols are beginning to get a little notice in the various rankings.

    • In the AVCA Coaches Poll, Tennessee is receiving votes and is an unofficial #37! The last time UT was mentioned in the coaches poll was 2012 when they started the season #15 and ended the year an unofficial #32.
    • In the Pablo Ranking (where teams start the season ranked where they ended the previous year), UT moved up from 72nd to 59th this week.
    • In PrepVolleyball’s newly reconfigured Top 64 (which projects which 64 teams might make the NCAA Tournament field and then ranks them), the Lady Vols went from not making the cut to #38 this week.
    • And in the poll, Tennessee jumps into the list receiving votes at #40.

    Saturday, August 25, 2018

    UT defeats Mocs to take tourney title

    201803-mvp-1The Lady Vols won a three set match over Chattanooga (25-17, 25-12, 24-15), clinching the Tennessee Classic tournament title. More tonight.

    Lily Felts led the match with 13 kills while hitting .600. Tessa Grubbs had 11 kills. Erica Treiber had 7 and hit .500. And Breanna Jeter and Danielle Mahaffey put down 5 each while hitting .500 and .308 respectively. Addison Rowe had 5 blocks, and Treiber and Mahaffey added 3 each. Callie Williams and Sedona Hansen matched each other with 17 assists each. Brooke Schumacher pulled up 15 digs, and Felts and Giana Pellizzon added 7 more each.

    The victory moves UT’s current win streak over UTC to 16 in a row, the longest current active winning streak Tennessee has against an opponent.

    The Lady Vols hit .386 as a team, their highest percentage since September 2016.

    On the weekend, UT outhit their opponents .281 to .107.

    Treiber was named the Tournament MVP while Felts and Grubbs were named to the All-Tournament Team.


    Tennessee sweeps Belmont

    The Lady Vols got a 3-0 win over in-state rival Belmont this afternoon (24-16, 25-14, 25-11). More tonight.

    UPDATE: Tessa Grubbs tripled the team leader in kills for Belmont, getting down 15. She hit .333 and had 3 blocks. Her kills, attacks (33), and blocks numbers were all three-set career highs. Erica Treiber had 8 kills while hitting .538. And Addisyn Rowe had 7 kills, 3 blocks, and hit .500. Sedona Hansen picked up her second double double in as many games with 19 assists and 11 digs. Callie Williams had 9 assists and 3 aces. Brooke Schumacher dug up 11 balls.


    Friday, August 24, 2018

    Smokey stuns Sparty

    201801-felts-1The Lady Vols won new head coach Eve Rackham’s first career game, upsetting 22nd ranked Michigan State 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23). Much more tonight!

    UPDATE: Erica Treiber led Tennessee with a .432 hitting percentage, 4 blocks, and a career high 19 kills. Tessa Grubbs had 15 kills, and freshman Lily Felts in her first collegiate match almost earned a double double with 11 kills and 9 digs. Sedona Hansen put up 28 assists and Callie Williams added 25 more. Madison Coulter wearing the libero jersey had 18 digs and Hansen had 15.

    The Lady Vols won despite having only 5 team blocks to MSU’s 14 — a 9 team block differential, the second widest margin in a UT win in the rally scoring era.

    Tennessee earned their first win over a ranked team since 2016.

    It was their first win over a ranked team to start the season since 1983.

    Rackham continues the tradition of Tennessee coaches winning their debut match — all five school head coaches since 1979 have done so.

    With 2,301 people on hand, tonights match was the 2nd highest attended home match in school history, and the 26th highest attended UT match (home or away) since 2001.

    Since 2013, the Lady Vols have played 29 matches on televison, and this was just their 5th win.


    Opening Day 2018!

    It’s finally the official start of the 2018 season! It’s also the start of a new era with head coach Eve Rackham making her debut tonight on Rocky Top. Here are a few last minute links of interest.

    Tennessee has posted the official match notes for the weekend.

    Don’t forget to download and print your free ticket voucher for tonight’s match vs Michigan State!

    Lady Vol redshirt junior Breana Jeter is featured in an article in today’s Knoxville News Sentinel.

    UT has added metal detectors to the entrances of Thompson Boling Arena, so check out these new rules and maybe get to the game a little earlier than planned.

    The voice of Tennessee volleyball Brian Rice talked with coach Rackham this morning on WNML radio. Listen below:

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    2018 Match Notes: Tennessee Classic

    For the first time in over two decades, a new coach will lead Tennessee on to the court to open the season. Eve Rackham and the Lady Vols will take on #22 Michigan State, Belmont, and Chattanooga here in Knoxville this weekend.

  • In the past 40 years, the Lady Vols are 32-8 in season openers. Tennessee is on a five year season opener winning streak.

    Coincidentally, the team is also 32-8 in home openers during that time frame. The Lady Vols are on a three year winning streak in home openers.

    New Tennessee coaches have had stellar debuts for Rocky Top over the years. Since 1979, four other coaches have taken the reins, and all four won their first season opener. Three out of four won their home opener.

    1979 Bob Bertucci Covenant, 2-0 Chattanooga, 2-0
    1987 Sandy Lynn Memphis, 3-1 Mississippi State, 3-0
    1991 Julie Hermann Chattanooga, 3-0
    1997 Rob Patrick ETSU, 3-1 Pittsburgh, 2-3
    2018 Eve Rackham Michigan State

    The team will face two fellow state schools this weekend. In officially recorded matches in program history, the Lady Vols are 136-29-4 vs other Tennessee teams. In the past 20 years, UT is 23-3. There have only been four seasons when the team didn’t face another Tennessee school, the most recent being last year.

    Tennessee will open the season vs a ranked opponent for the fifth time in school history. They are 1-3 in those matches.

    1983 #9 Arizona State W, 3-1
    1993 #12 Colorado L, 3-0
    2007 #1 Nebraska L, 3-0
    2012 #12 Florida State L, 3-0
    2018 #22 Michigan State

    Tennessee is 0-1 vs Michigan State all time. The only meeting was a 3-2 loss back in 2003.

    Tennessee is 1-0 vs Belmont all time. The only meeting was a sweep win in 2007.

    Tennessee is 15-3-1 vs Chattanooga all time. UT has won the last 15 recorded meetings in a row dating back to 1977.

    In the rally scoring era (since 2001), Tennessee is 5-15 vs Big Ten teams, 10-2 vs Ohio Valley Conference teams, and 15-1 vs Southern Conference teams.

    UT has one player on their roster from the state of Michigan — senior Erica Treiber. Four Spartans played at her club, Michigan Elite.

    Tennessee head coach Eve Rackham and Chattanooga head coach Travis Filar were assistant coaches together for two years at North Carolina from 2009 to 2010. Earlier this year Filar said of Rackham, ” I think she has all the tools to be an outstanding head coach and I believe she will become just that. She’s a great assistant, a great friend and a great leader of young people. She has all the tools that will make her a great head coach… I truly believe she will put Tennessee volleyball back into a national spotlight as they have been there before. She will return them to a great level.”

  • Coach Rackham spoke with WNML’s SportsTalk last week. She discussed: finally getting to see her team play someone else, the most pleasant surprise in her move to Knoxville, what it’s like to move to the head coaching chair, recruiting, staff building, why she chose Tennessee over other opportunities, returning players, newcomers, and more. You can listen to the interview below.

    UT Athletics has posted a story about Coach Rackham, where she talks about how she got into volleyball, who supported her and gave her opportunities along the way, and why Tennessee.

    No, there are no UT players on the list, but there are two SEC opponents, so check out ESPN’s list of 12 players to watch this season.

    The Lady Vols played an exhibition match vs Lipscomb last week.

    The latest edition of the official Tennessee record book is online.

    Be sure to check out the promotions for this weekend’s slate of games — including a link to a voucher for a free ticket to the Michigan State match.

    2017: 23-9, 14-6 Big 10
    Friday, August 24, 8:00pm ET
    Knoxville TN // SEC Network // Online Stream // Live Stats
    2017: 14-15, 9-7 OVC
    Saturday, August 25, 1:00pm ET
    Knoxville TN // Online Stream // Live Stats
    2017: 13-18, 6-10 SoCon
    Saturday, August 25, 7:30pm ET
    Knoxville TN // Online Stream // Live Stats

    Thursday, August 16, 2018

    Exhibition vs Lipscomb; TV schedule announced

    Tennessee will play an exhibition match against Lipscomb this Saturday at 3:00pm at Thompson Boling Arena. Admission is free. There will be an opportunity to meet the team and get autographs afterwards. In addition, those attending will receive a voucher for free admission to the season opener.

    At least seven Lady Vol matches will be televised this year — a record for regular season games. The upside: lots more exposure for Tennessee volleyball. The downside: all those Wednesday matches are why we don’t get to play at home on Friday’s during conference play. According to the UT website, at least nine additional matches will be streamed online.

    Michigan State Friday
    August 24th
    Kentucky Sunday
    September 23rd
    Alabama Wednesday
    October 3rd
    Kentucky Wednesday
    October 10th
    South Carolina Wednesday
    October 24th
    Texas A&M Sunday
    November 4th
    Missouri Wednesday
    November 14th

    Monday, August 13, 2018

    2018: The 60th anniversary of volleyball at Tennessee


    2018 marks the 60th anniversary of volleyball at the University of Tennessee! In 1958, ETSU organized a tournament in nearby Johnson City. Students at Tennessee learned about it and convinced a teacher in the school’s Department of Physical Education to take them — making Jean Wells the first volleyball coach in program history. (Serendipitously, Tennessee will again head to Johnson City this season to play ETSU!)

    UT is the oldest program in the conference by far, with an unbroken string of teams dating back to 1958. Auburn fielded a team starting in 1967 (but dropped it for four years in the 1980s). Every other SEC school claims a start date in the 1970s or later.

    Volleyball was also the sport that jumpstarted women’s athletics at Tennessee. In 1959, Wells recruited Nancy Lay to help grow the fledgling program. She wasted no time, taking over volleyball that year, starting up basketball in 1960, and tennis in 1963. Lay along with fellow teacher Jo Hobson spent most of the 1960s coaching the three women’s teams. Lay led the volleyball squad from 1959 to 1964 while Hobson held the reins from 1965 to 1972.

    You can read all about the first 15 years of Tennessee volleyball history and those three coaches in one of my previous articles, The hidden history of UT volleyball. Today, we’ll finish up that piece by taking a look at the coaches behind those next 45 years.

    1973-1974: KAYE HART

    hartKaye Hart graduated from Utah State in 1965. She was the the women’s athletic director at Southern Utah, the assistant athletic director and head women’s basketball coach at Midwestern College, and a coach at New Mexico State. She was a leader in the push for passage of Title IX. She led the UT volleyball squad from 1973 to 1974.

    Hart’s first team came out strong, winning 19 matches in a row. They won the TCWSF state championship and lost in the finals of the AIAW regional championship. They entered the AIAW national championship tournament with a 36-3 record. The team went 2-3, losing in their final match to defending and eventual national champion Long Beach State. Their final record was 38-6 — UT wouldn’t have that few losses again until 2004. Tennessee didn’t do as well in Hart’s second season, posting a recorded 8-14 record (with many match results missing).

    After leaving Tennessee Hart was Temple University’s women’s athletic director, Utah State’s associate athletic director then acting athletic director, and Austin Peay’s athletic director. She worked extensively with the NCAA on various committees over the years. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Women Leaders in College Sports in 2014. Hart passed away in 2015 at the age of 72.

    1975: DIANE HALE

    haleDiane Hale was a four-year player for UT from 1971 to 1974. After the departure of Hart, she moved from the court to the sideline as the new head coach for the 1975 season.

    In the team’s first tournament, at Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee played in the first five-set format match in program history. Later in the season, they started out strong in the state tournament, had two chances to win the title, but fell short in both finishing in second place. They ended the year 17-8-6.

    From Knoxville, Hale went on to become the head coach at Iowa State for two seasons, then Memphis State for nine years. While there she founded Memphis Juniors, the longest running club in town. She eventually moved away from volleyball and is currently the director of a government department in the state of Georgia.

    1976: JODY LAMBERT

    jodylambertJody Lambert played basketball and volleyball for Marshall. She went to Eastern Kentucky as an assistant coach while working on her masters degree. Then took over the UT head coaching position in 1976 while working on her doctorate in physical education.

    While records for this year and most of the previous ones are incomplete, 1976 featured the first recorded instance of UT being invited to a tournament held by a fellow SEC school. Among other teams, Tennessee played homestanding Georgia, Mississippi State, Auburn, and (eventual conference member) South Carolina. The Lady Vols didn’t advance far in the state tournament, losing two of three matches. Their final recorded record was 22-13-4.

    1977-1978: BUD FIELDS

    budfieldsBud Fields has been a fixture of Knoxville volleyball since the 1950s. He played on and coached YMCA teams for over a decade, earning multiple All-Southern honors. He helped bring the national championship to Knoxville twice. In 1971, USA Volleyball honored him with their Leader In Volleyball Award. He founded the University of Tennessee men’s club team and coached it for almost two decades. In 1977, he was named head coach of the women’s varsity squad.

    UT hosted the first women’s volleyball event using the “SEC” label in 1977. Six teams competed, with Fields’ squad taking 2nd place. At the state championship, the Lady Vols went undefeated to claim the title. UT has incomplete data but has it as a 7-11-3 record his first season. (I have more, but still incomplete, data on 1977 and list it as 18-19-5). In 1978, Tennessee went 20-14-3 and came in 2nd at the state tournament.

    Despite the fact that he “would like very much” to have continued as coach, Fields was let go when the administration decided to move the women’s volleyball head coaching job from a part-time to a full-time position. He continued to coach the men’s club team for a few more years. They won several regional championships and placed as high as 9th in the country. He was an official photographer for USA Volleyball for over two decades. Fields was honored with the Frier Award in 1997, the highest honor USA Volleyball can bestow. Again in 2000 they recognized him with the Kennedy/Johnson Heritage Award for his contribution in preserving volleyball archives. In 2003, he was inducted into both the YMCA Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was named to the Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame. Two men’s club tournaments at UT are named for him. And you can still find him in the stands at Lady Vol matches!

    1979-1986: BOB BERTUCCI

    bobbertucciBob Bertucci attended Springfield College in Massachusetts from 1970 to 1974. His volleyball team went 85-14-3 during his career, including earning a spot in the 1971 Final Four. He was a team captain and two-time MVP. He graduated in 1974 with a degree in health and physical education. He played and coached at the YMCA in New York City for awhile, before founding the women’s volleyball program at Army in 1978. His first team at West Point made it the the AIAW district championship and he was named Eastern Collegiate Volleyball League Coach of the Year. He headed south to Tennessee in 1979.

    Bertucci got results immediately. In his first season the team went 34-11, came in 2nd in the SEC Tournament, won the state tournament, and moved on to the region championship. Tennessee made their first recorded trip to the west coast, playing teams outside the southeast and midwest for the first time.

    His next two seasons were milestone years for the Lady Vols and volleyball in general. In 1981, after winning the school’s first official SEC Championship, Tennessee was invited to the first ever NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament. The field only contained 20 teams that initial year, and UT was the only SEC member. Tennessee faced off against Purdue and lost 0-3.

    In 1982, the Coaches Poll was started. The Lady Vols defeated the first ranked team they ever faced, #15 Penn State 3-1. After coming in 1st in tournaments in Memphis, Louisville, and Raleigh, and then defeating four of the next six ranked teams they faced (including their first top ten win, over #7 Arizona), UT found themselves ranked for the first time ever — #15 in the sixth poll of the season. They went on to win the SEC Championship again and again were invited to the NCAA Tourney, this time hosting. The field was increased to 28 teams, with the Lady Vols again the only SEC representative. With the defeat of their sixth ranked team of the year, UT advanced in the tournament for the first time. A run-in with #5 USC, ended the run. Tennessee set two Tournament records in 1982 that still stand today: Beverly Robinson’s 11 aces against Northwestern, and the two teams’ combined 20 aces. The Lady Vols finished the season ranked #14 in the country with a 31-7 record.

    Bertucci’s next two seasons were very similar to the last. Tennessee started the 1983 season with a win over #9 Arizona State. They went undefeated in three separate tournaments held in Knoxville. UT came up just short in the SEC Tournament championship match and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They ended the year ranked #14 with a 31-10 record.

    The 1984 squad lost some early matches which knocked them out of the rankings for the rest of the year. But they fought back, winning Bertucci’s and the school’s third SEC Championship in four years, made another second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and ending up with an impressive 25-11 record. Bertucci was named the SEC Coach of the Year.

    Things started to go downhill in his last two seasons. In 1985, the team had their first losing season in years with a 12-24 record, and placed in fifth in the SEC Tournament. They missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in its existence. In 1986, it looked like he had the Lady Vols turned around, winning their first 11 matches in a row. But the team went 12-13 in their last 25 matches, and again came in fifth in the SEC Tournament.

    Bertucci resigned at the end of the 1986 season, “for personal and business matters”, in a move that surprised everyone. After leaving Knoxville, he moved back north to Rutgers-Newark running both the men’s and women’s teams. He made it to another men’s Final Four and was named the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Coach of the Year three times. He then spent 16 years at Temple, where he led the team to four conference championships and a Sweet Sixteen berth. He earned three Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year awards. In 2011, Bertucci took the head coaching job at Lehigh, where he continued the amazing success he has had at every stop. After not having a winning season in eight years, his first squad went 19-10. His teams earned a spot in the conference postseason tournament six of the seven years he was there. And, once again, he picked up a Coach of the Year award in 2014, this time from the Patriot League. He resigned at the end of 2017. He has almost 800 career wins.

    Bertucci is involved in many other volleyball pursuits outside the college ranks, including working with USA Volleyball, writing books, creating training videos, and running his popular volleyball camps. He has been named to the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame, the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame, and the YMCA Volleyball Hall of Fame.

    1987-1990: SANDY LYNN

    sandylynnSandy Lynn was a two-time All-American player from Utah State and a member of the 1978 AIAW National Championship team. After graduating she was hired as an assistant coach at Texas in 1981, where she helped the Longhorns to that years’ AIAW National Championship. She coached Illinois State from 1982 to 1986, leading the team to four NCAA Tournaments, four conference tournament titles, and three regular season championships. She took the helm at Tennessee in 1987.

    While her first season was an 18-18 effort, the schedule featured five teams ranked in the top ten — the most such teams faced by a UT squad until the 2005 Final Four year. Tennessee earned a 3rd place conference finish. In 1988, the Lady Vols improved to 23-12 and second place in the league. Lynn was named the SEC Coach of the Year. The team didn’t fare as well overall in 1989, with a 13-15 record. However UT did have a winning record in the SEC, and tied for third in the conference.

    Her final year was more disappointing at 12-17 overall and 4-4 in the SEC. However, there was a bright spot. Lynn went to the administration with the idea of bringing a national postseason event — the Women’s Invitational Volleyball Championship — to Knoxville to help expand the the Lady Vol brand. She said, “A lot of people around the country look at Tennessee as a basketball school. We need to build a volleyball reputation… I think this is a real first step”. She also hoped it would eventually have a direct impact on the team itself. Potential recruits would be on hand, coaches from around the country would be in town, and Lynn hoped they would “go home and spread the volleyball word about Tennessee”. The Lady Vols and nineteen other teams from around the country descended on Stokely Athletics Center to end their seasons. You can read all about the tournament in a previous article I wrote about the event.

    She resigned in early 1991, and decided to move on from volleyball. She said, “I plan to pursue other opportunities… I’m looking for a different type of challenge. I am at the point and the age in my life, where I need a change after 10 years of coaching”. Sandy Lynn died in 2001 in a hiking accident near Carlsbad, New Mexico at the age of 44.

    1991-1996: JULIE HERMANN

    juliehermannJulie Hermann played volleyball at Nebraska from 1981 to 1984. She was an All-Big Eight player and helped her team to four conference championships, four NCAA Tournaments, and two top five finishes. She served as an assistant coach at Georgia and Wyoming. Her first head coaching position was at Northern Arizona. A year later, Tennessee came calling.

    She had a rough start in Knoxville. The team went 12-17 in 1991, but boosted that to 13-14 in 1992. A highlight of that second season was defeating #16 Kentucky — the first win for the Lady Vols over a ranked opponent since 1983!

    Hermann’s steady improvement reached a head in 1993. UT started the season 0-3, but then rattled off 17 wins in the next 25 matches. They were rewarded with Tennessee’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 1984. The team finished the year 18-13.

    Unfortunately, that was the peak for her time on Rocky Top. The team fell to 10-20 in 1994. Then 7-25 in 1995 — notable also as the only year in program history where the team went winless in conference play. Her final season came in 1996, when the team ended her tenure with a winning season at 17-16.

    While her Tennessee peak may have been a few years behind her, Hermann’s career trajectory was on its way up. She spent 15 years at Louisville as Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director. In addition to all her responsibilities managing 20 sports, she helped move the Cardinals from the small time to a power conference — working on the transition from Conference USA to the Big East and then from the Big East to the American Athletic Conference. That experience didn’t go unnoticed. When Rutgers was preparing to make a transition to the Big Ten Conference and found themselves in need of a new Director of Athletics, they turned to Hermann, making her one of a handful of female athletic directors in the FBS side of Division I. During her career she has served on many boards and committees, including for the NCAA, NACWAA, WMCA, and AVCA. Since leaving Rutgers, she is serving on the board of the Alliance of Women Coaches.

    1997-2017: ROB PATRICK

    robpatrickRob Patrick played football and volleyball at Miami University in Ohio, where he earned a degree in business with an accounting concentration in 1983. He reached the top four in USA Volleyball championships several times, winning three times in 1990, 1992, and 2006. He picked up USVBA All-America honors twice. From 1994 to 1996 he served as an assistant coach at Stanford, where the team went 92-6, won three conference titles, played in three Final Fours, and earned two national championships. He took the reins at Tennessee in 1997.

    I’m not about to go through all the many accomplishments of Rob Patrick over his two decades at UT. I’ve written about them plenty already! You can read all about his hiring and first season here. You can read about the breakthrough 2004 32-2 season here. You can read about the historic 2005 Final Four season here. And you can check out a look at his impressive career in numbers here.

    But here are a few quick bits: longest serving coach in program history; 16 winning seasons in 21 years; 9 NCAA Tournaments; 409 wins; 16 players earning an All-America honor; 2 SEC championships; 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances; 1 Final Four appearance; 6 top 25 finishes; 3 SEC Coach of the Year awards; 2 Region Coach of the Year awards; 2 national coach of the year awards.

    After retiring from Tennessee after 21 years, Patrick said, “this is the proper time for me to move on to other opportunities”. That includes getting back to his pre-volleyball roots in finance — “which will allow me to spend quality time with my wife and two young daughters”.

    2018: EVE RACKHAM

    everackhamEve Rackham was UNC’s setter from 1999 to 2002 and helped lead the team to four NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance. She earned First Team All-ACC and First Team AVCA All-Region honors in 2002. She graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communication in 2003. She spent a year as an assistant at Colgate, three seasons in Greenville with East Carolina (arrrgh!), and a year at Florida International. She returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach in 2009. In her nine years with the Tarheels, the team went 210-77 and went to seven NCAA Tournaments. In 2014, she was named AVCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year.

    As we look back and remember and celebrate the last 60 years of Tennessee volleyball, Rackham is preparing to lead the Lady Vols as they move towards the next 60 years. I am very much looking forward to seeing where she — and the rest of the Tennessee staff and players — will take us!

    Thursday, August 9, 2018

    2018 Preseason Coaches Poll released

    The AVCA has released the preseason edition of the 2018 Coaches Poll. Tennessee will play six matches against teams currently ranked in the top 25, three out-of-conference games and three SEC games: the Lady Vols face #5 Kentucky twice and #7 Florida once, and #14 San Diego twice and #22 Michigan State once. In addition, three other matches are against teams currently receiving votes in the poll: two matches against #28 Missouri and one match against #36 LSU.

    Friday, August 3, 2018

    Three weeks until the start of the 2018 season!

    We’re just 21 days away from the first serve of the 2018 season! Here are some news tidbits and statistical trivia to tide you over until then!


    • The Lady Vols have announced Heather Gearhart will be joining the squad as volunteer assistant coach this year. The hire completes the main portion of Eve Rackham’s coaching staff. Like three of the other four members of the new staff, Gearhart also has ties to the University of North Carolina — as a player from 2012 to 2015.
    • Volleyball tickets should go on sale next week, on August 7th, at and the Tennessee ticket office. Courtside seats will again be available as well for $250 for the year. Email Associate Director of Fan Experience Rocky Kundert ( for details.
    • Tennessee is putting out a call to former players for an upcoming Alumni Weekend, scheduled from August 31st to September 2nd.


    • Tennessee is 46-7 all time in the month of August. Their very first match in the month was in 1990. They only played in seven August matches prior to the rally scoring era beginning in 2001. Since then, they’ve played in August every season except 2004.
    • The Lady Vols’ first match of 2018 is on August 24th. That ties the earliest start of the season in program history. The team has played two previous matches on that date, both losses to ranked teams: vs #1 Nebraska in 2007 and vs #12 Florida State in 2012.
    • In the last two decades, three players have worn the #21 jersey: Carlie Kearney in 2004, Lauren LaFlamme from 2005 to 2008 (she wore the reverse #12 her true freshman year), and Britney Vallez in 2016. Good luck to Tennessee newcomer Danielle Mahaffey who will wear the number this season!

    Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    Thirty days to 2018 season!

    We’re just 30 days away from the start of the season! As you may have noticed from the sidebar, the site has been updated with information for 2018. To kickstart the final month of the offseason, here are a few things of interest I noticed while getting the schedule, roster, and SEC pages ready.


    Make sure to always check the schedule before heading to a game this year. Match times are all over the map!

    Friday home games start at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00. Sunday home games start at 1:30, except for a 5:00 outlier. UT has three Wednesday matches at home, and all three start at different times – 5:00, 7:00, and 8:00! Tennessee ends the regular season on a Saturday at 3:00.

    While there are ten weekends of SEC play, the Lady Vols will only have a single conference match on Friday at home this year. TV dictates a lot of these time and date changes, of course. But I’m personally a bit bummed about only getting one Friday night of volleyball in Knoxville over the last ten weeks of the season.


    Tennessee will have four instate players on the roster this year. In only five other seasons since 1980 has the program had so much local talent: 1980, 1981, 2010, 2011, and 2012. The team made the AIAW Regional Championship in that first year and the NCAA Tournament in every one of those other years. And two of UT’s five SEC Championships came during those seasons as well.

    In addition to the other people I’ve already mentioned having left the squad, Olivia Schwamberger is not listed on the roster.

    Madison Coulter, a six-rotation player and one of only five players to take over 400 swings last season, is now listed as a defensive specialist. Not counting libero Brooke Schumacher, Coulter had the second most digs in 2017.


    The conference will welcome four new head coaches this year: Eve Rackham here at Tennessee, Tom Mendoza at South Carolina, Julie Darty at Mississippi State, and Laura “Bird” Kuhn at Texas A&M.

    In addition, coaches at Georgia, Arkansas, and Mississippi are in their second, third, and fifth seasons in the league. Meaning over half the SEC has had coaching turnovers in the past five years!

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Summer 2018 Updates
    • Tennessee has revealed their schedule for the upcoming season.
      • UT has 10 matches against 7 teams that made the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
      • The Lady Vols will face three in-state opponents, the most since 2014.
      • The team is heading to California for the first time since 2006. Their last match in the state was a 3-1 loss to USC. However, in the rally scoring era UT is 7-2 in matches played in the state.
      • Tennessee will play San Diego in back to back matches. The last time the Lady Vols played a non-conference opponent twice in the same year was 2005, when they lost to Missouri in the first month of the season before defeating them in the NCAA Tournament on their way to the Final Four. The last time the team scheduled a non-conference opponent twice in the same regular season was 1995, when they played both St. Mary’s (CA) and Arizona State in back to back days.
    • UT was projected to finish 10th in the conference in the SEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
    • Tennessee has announced the addition of Brooklynne Villano to the team. An incoming sophomore transfer from Jacksonville State, the outside hitter is the sister of former Lady Vol Bridgette Villano.
    • The probably final roster (barring any unannounced walk-ons) is online at the official Tennessee website, and consists of a total of 17 players: 3 seniors, 5 juniors (one a fourth year redshirt), 5 sophopmores, and 4 freshman.
    • With the season arriving next month, updates here will start coming more frequently. So be sure to start checking back often!