Volleyball team starts NCAA play

For the third consecutive season, the University of Tennessee volleyball team will open the NCAA Tournament at home, squaring off with No. 25 Duke at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, in Stokely Athletics Center.

The winner of the showdown between the Lady Vols and Blue Devils will face the victor of the matchup between No. 17 San Diego and Jacksonville State at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

The Big Orange carries a perfect 7-0 record in NCAA Tournament matches contested in Knoxville into this weekend's play, including two victories in its run to the Final Four last season. Overall, Tennessee is 10-8 all-time in the tournament.

Senior Sarah Blum is coming off one of the best performances in UT history, having demolished the school's single-match blocking record with 16 in the Senior Day contest against Auburn on Nov. 19. That performance also moved her to the top of the career charts, as she has now posted 667 during her four-years at Rocky Top.

Blum's 202 total blocks and 1.84 blocks per game average this season rank her third in the country. In addition to the blocking totals, the Tulsa, Okla., product leads the Lady Vols in a variety of other statistical categories, including kills (344), hitting percentage (.335) and total points (466.0).

For her outstanding season, Blum was named to All-Southeastern Conference First Team. Also earning All-SEC accolades were junior Yuliya Stoyanova, who picked up Second Team honors, and Leah Hinkey, who was tabbed to the All-Freshman Team.

The 2006 season marks the ninth season in which Tennessee has taken part in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament. The Lady Vols all-time NCAA record is 10-8, including a 6-2 tally in First Round matchups. The Big Orange has now hosted the first two rounds in three consecutive years and six overall.

Lady Vol fans will be able to watch their favorite team online this weekend, as video of all UT home matches will be streamed live on www.UTLadyVols.com. Fans can also follow the statistical action for all three matches, as GameTracker will be available for each contest.

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