Volleyball team to play two at home

The University of Tennessee volleyball team is set to conclude the regular-season portion of its schedule with a pair of critical SEC contests this weekend. First on the slate is SEC leader and No. 7 Florida, which heads to Rocky Top for a 7 p.m. showdown with the Lady Vols on Friday.

Two days later, the Orange and White will celebrate Senior Day when it takes on Auburn at 1:30 p.m. The match with the Gators will be tape-delayed to air on FSN-South at 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

Tennessee is 18-10 overall and 9-9 in conference play this season. The Big Orange is currently in third place in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division, one game behind Kentucky.

With the team's top offensive option, junior Yuliya Stoyanova, out for the season with a torn ACL, the Lady Vols will look to seniors Sarah Blum and Kelsey Fautsch to raise their game to a new level.

Already one of the nation's top defensive weapons, Blum has added a new dimension this season, as she is third on the team with 327 kills and a team-leading .345 hitting percentage. She has continued her stellar play on defense as well, posting 177 blocks to lead all SEC performers and rank third in the nation. Her blocks per game average of 1.74 places her fifth in the country.

Fautsch is coming off a solid weekend in which she recorded two double-doubles, pounding out 35 kills on 91 attempts and collecting 23 digs in a pair of road contests. For the season, the Chisago Lakes, Minn., native is second on the squad with 334 kills (3.41 kills per game) and fifth with 207 digs.

UT has had the Gators' number in recent years, handing them three losses in the last five match-ups between the two squads. By comparison, Florida has lost just one other conference match during that same span. Against the Tigers, the Lady Vols have earned victories in 11 straight contests, including a 3-1 win earlier this season in Auburn.

SAC PACK: On Friday night, the University of Tennessee will attempt to break the Stokely Athletics Center volleyball attendance record as the Lady Vols are set to take on No. 7 Florida at 7 p.m. The current Stokely attendance record is 1,337, set on Oct. 22, 2004, against the Gators.

During the contest, one lucky fan will have the opportunity to compete in the $10,000 Horseshoe Toss, while there will be a multitude of other marketing promotions for all in attendance.

The Big Orange would also like to welcome back everyone that took part in its 2006 summer camp, for "Camper Reunion Day." Anybody wearing a UT volleyball camp T-shirt will be admitted free to the match.

R(K)PI: The Lady Vols are ranked 45th in the Rich Kern Percentage Index, a simulation of the RPI ranking system used by the NCAA to select and seed teams for the NCAA Championship. They also place fifth in the South Region.

The Big Orange has played a challenging schedule to date as it has suffered four of its 10 losses against foes ranked in the top 11, including No. 5 Southern California, No. 9 Florida and two to No. 11 LSU. The other six setbacks were to No. 29 Arkansas, two to both No. 49 Kentucky and No. 55 Alabama and one to No. 67 South Carolina, while they have earned wins over No. 25 Louisville and No. 29 Arkansas.

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