Vols Power Past V-Ball Bulldogs 3-0

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Yuliya Stoyanova and Kristen Andre combined for 32 kills Sunday afternoon lead Tennessee (9-5, 3-1 SEC) to a 3-0 win over Mississippi State (9-4, 0-3 SEC) at the Stokely Athletics Center. The loss was the fourth straight for the Bulldogs, who opened the year with a nine-match win streak and State's 11th straight in the series with UT.

The Lady Vols pulled away from a 4-4 tie with a 5-0 run and took early control of the opening game. Stoyanova tallied eight kills as UT led by as much as 12 before taking the opening set 30-26. Jamie Joyner had two blocks and five of her nine kills during the opening frame.

State fell out of contention from the start in game two as Tennessee raced to a 12-3 lead but battled back to within two at 26-24 on a kill by Cristina Jucan. Rachel Cooper had six of kills while freshman middle Nicole Palazzo chipped in two kills and three blocks in the stanza before UT claimed a 2-0 match lead with a 30-27 win.

MSU came back from the break with its most productive set of the match, jumping out to 4-1 and 8-2 leads. The Lady Vols pulled even on a service ace by Stoyanova and gained the upper hand with a 4-0 run en route to a match-clinching 30-24 game three win.

Cooper paced State with 11 kills, tempered by nine hitting errors. Cristina Jucan, who replaced Orshi Kriegel in the lineup to begin game two, finished with a season-best eight kills. Palazzo tallied six kills and a match-leading five blocks. Megan Lukasek had a team-best 14 digs while Eva Kriegel tallied 12 with 20 assists for MSU's lone double-double of the match.

Stoyanova finished the afternoon with 18 kills while Andre added 14 kills and five blocks on a productive .500 hitting performance.

The Bulldogs return to action on the home court this weekend, hosting SEC West rivals Auburn (Oct. 7 --- 7 p.m.) and Alabama (Oct. 9 --- 1:30 p.m.) at the Newell-Grissom Building.

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