Lady Vol volleyball downs Auburn

The volleyball team made it a weekend sweep of its opening SEC slate by downing Auburn, 25-15, 25-16, 25-20 on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena in front of a crowd of 801.

"It was really important to stay at home and get those wins at home," Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "This is a really tough league and you have to take care of the matches at home. When you are on the road it is very tough to get wins."

Sophomore Kelsey Robinson led Tennessee (9-2, 2-0) by recording her seventh double-double of the season, registering 10 kills and 11 digs, each of which tied for a team high. Junior DeeDee Harrison also notched double-digits in kills, as the Nashville native had 10 and hit .533 for the match.

Shealyn Kolosky, a freshman, led the team in hitting percentage and blocks, connecting on seven kills to hit .583 (7-0-12), while knocking down four Auburn attacks. Sophomore Carly Sahagian was also impressive against the Tigers, notching eight kills to go along with six digs and two blocks.

Along with Robinson, sophomore Ellen Mullins also had 11 digs. Mullins led the team by handling 22-of-44 serves and did not record an error. Mary Pollmiller had all of Tennessee's assist, as the freshman registered 38 on the day.

Auburn opened the first set up by a kill by Camila Jersonsky to give the Tigers an early 1-0 edge, which would be their only lead of the set. The Lady Vols responded by going on a 7-2 run to put UT up 7-3, in large part to a pair of kills from Kolosky and Harrison.

AU would get as close as three, at 9-6 and 12-9, but the opening set was dominated by the Lady Vols. With the score at 15-10, UT closed out the set on a 10-5 run to take the first point of the match. In the first set, the Big Orange hit .361, while limiting Auburn to a mere .147. Kolosky and Harrison each had five kills as Kolosky hit .714 (5-0-7).

The Lady Vols came out hot to start the second set, quickly jumping to a 9-4 advantage before the Tigers would call a timeout. UT took advantage of three Tiger miscues and a service ace by Pollmiller to get out to the lead, which it would not relinquish.

A 4-2 run got the Tigers to within three at 11-8, but UT countered with a 7-3 surge to put itself up 18-11. With the score at 21-15, the Lady Vols would go onto score four-of-the-five final points of the set behind three errors from Auburn and a Sahagian kill that ended the set and gave the Lady Vols a 2-0 lead.

Freshman Tiffany Baker and Sahagian led the offensive charge in set number two, as the duo each registered three kills apiece. The Orange and White also recorded three aces in the set as freshman Nikki Brice and Mullins had one to go along with Pollmiller's.

The third and final set was the most highly contested as there were nine ties and seven lead changes. Defensive proved to be the difference as Tennessee limited Auburn to a hitting percentage of .079. Early on with the score tied 6-6, a 5-2 run by the Tigers forced Tennessee to take a timeout when AU was up 11-8. The team responded however, and scored the next four points off of a Robinson kill and three Auburn miscues to take the lead, 12-11.

The teams traded points until UT called another timeout when Auburn was ahead 17-15. Three quick points by the Big Orange from an AU ball handling error and a pair of Sahagian kills forced Auburn to call it's first timeout down 18-17. Auburn would again get the lead down to one at 19-18, but could not surpass UT down the stretch, as the Lady Vols closed the matched 6-2 run.

Kills from Harrison and Cikra, plus a service ace from Sahagian made the score 22-18. The teams traded the next two points, but with the 23-20, Harrison and Robinson each had a kill to end the set and match and keep Tennessee perfect at home and in the SEC.

"In the third set Auburn picked up their game and we weren't ready for that," Patrick said. "After the timeout I was really excited and pleased by how the team responded and competed harder than Auburn in the end of the match. We are very, very happy with how we played this weekend in both of our matches."

The Orange and White will take to the road for the next four matches beginning with a trip to Columbia, S.C. to take on the Gamecocks on Friday night at 7 p.m. The squad will then face off against Florida in Gainesville in a match that will be televised on ESPNU at 5 p.m.

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