"This was a very disappointing weekend," UT Head Coach Angela Kelly said. "This team needs to re-visit its mentality and desire to put opponents away."
The match was the fourth to go to extra time this season for UT. The Lady Vols also took Wake Forest, USC and South Carolina to overtime this year, topping both the Demon Deacons and the Gamecocks, while tying the Women of Troy and the Lady'Backs. Tennessee remains undefeated in overtime this season.
Tennessee got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. After receiving the ball in the box, junior forward Kylee Rossi took a shot which was saved by Lady'Back keeper Britni Williams. The rebound found the feet of senior forward Emily Redberg who put the ball into the back of the open net with Williams out of position.
The goal is Redberg's third of the season and marks the third time this year that Rossi and Redberg have teamed up for a goal. The score also marked the first time this year that a team has scored against Arkansas in the first half.
Kelly brought out another new look for the Lady Vols in the first half, awarding starts to both junior defender Sarah Van Sickle and freshman Julie Edwards, the first of her career. UT also played with three forwards up top, adding to their offensive firepower and resulting in nine shots in the first 45 minutes.
The Lady'Backs evened the score 22 minutes into the second frame when freshman forward Ally Atkins found junior forward Lindsay Patterson, who beat her defender and put the ball past junior goalkeeper Johnson and into the lower right corner for the score.
"Credit goes to Arkansas for having the patience to create scoring opportunities for themselves," Kelly said.
Following the equalizer, the Lady Vols had several opportunities to score, taking nine shots in the second frame. The best chance of the half came with seven minutes left on a throw-in from Van Sickle deep in the Arkansas end. The throw was flicked in front of the goal by Rossi onto redshirt freshman forward Devon Swaim, whose shot went just high of the goal.
The Lady Vols controlled possession in the 20 minutes of extra time, but could not put one in the back of the net. UT took five shots while holding Arkansas to just one in overtime.
Johnson needed six saves to record her second tie of the season, while Williams made eight saves and faced 23 total shots from the Lady Vols. Sophomore midfielder Mick Imgram led UT with six shots and joined Redberg and Rossi with two shots on goal apiece. Patterson led Arkansas with four shots, all of which were on goal.
"We will regroup this week," Kelly said. "We will be a different team come Friday, guaranteed."
Tennessee will now look to improve its SEC record next weekend, closing out a four-match road trip at Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The Lady Vols and the Wildcats are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday in Lexington.
LADY VOL VOLLEYBALL: For just the second time this season, the Tennessee volleyball team (7-8, 2-6) did not have a single player with double digits in kills, as it fell in three games to No. 6 Florida (15-0, 8-0 SEC), 30-27, 30-18, 30-18, Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.
Junior Milan Clarke paced the Lady Vol offense, recording her highest kill total in nearly a month with nine putaways.
"Even though we made some changes in our lineup to help us offensively and simplified our defense, I really liked the way our players were able to stay organized," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "We played with a lot of energy and never quit. We forced Florida to play each point, but, unfortunately, they simply played some of them better than we did.
"I am excited that our players got another opportunity to play against one of the top teams in the nation in an experienced and physical Florida team. Each time we face a team like that, we continue to prove to ourselves that we can play at the same level. Our next step is being able to sustain that level of play for longer periods of time."
Senior Yuliya Stoyanova posted her third-best offensive performance of the season with eight kills, while freshman Nikki Fowler recorded six in the loss. In the first extended setting action of her career, sophomore Jaye Loyd tallied a personal-best 18 assists to lead the team's offensive attack.
On the defensive side of the court, sophomores Chloe Goldman and Kylie Marshall tied for the team-high in digs with nine each, while senior Joselyn Johnson finished the match with a squad-best three blocks.
The Orange and White put up a tremendous fight in the first frame of the contest, but could not close out a solid Florida squad, eventually falling 27-30. The two squads battled to a 15-15 deadlock before the pivotal momentum shift of the game took place. Following a block by Fowler and sophomore Leah Hinkey, the Gators took command, rattling off three consecutive points and scores on eight of the next 10 plays to go ahead 23-18.
Tennessee would not relent, however, splitting the following 12 points with UF. Facing five set points, at 24-29, the Lady Vols kept fighting. Back-to-back kills by Stoyanova and a block from Johnson and Stoyanova kept UT alive, but Florida head coach Mary Wise halted the Big Orange streak with a timeout.
The tactic worked as Tennessee 's first serve out of the break found the net and gave the game to the Gators. Despite dropping the frame, the Big Orange out-hit Florida, .333 to .250, with Clarke leading the way with six kills on 10 swings with just one error for a .500 hitting percentage.
The second set did not go quite as well for the Lady Vols, with Florida claiming the first five points of the game and cruising to a 30-18 victory. After the early push, the Gators used four runs of three points to take a commanding 27-14 lead. UT did not give in though, getting a pair of kills from sophomore Farren Powe, separated by only a Kristina Johnson attack error.
A smash down the right-side line by Marci Hampton ended the run, but Stoyanova gave Tennessee another score with a cross-court shot from the outside. That would be as close as it would get, with Lauren Bledsoe ending the frame with consecutive putaways.
A 10-point spree late in the third for Florida marked the beginning of the end for the Big Orange, which dropped the final game, 18-30. Tennessee looked strong early, taking a 4-2 lead after a solo block by Johnson and a combined putback by Johnson and Stoyanova. Unfortunately for fans of the Orange and White, UT would not be able to put together a sustained period of success for the remainder of the set.
The Gators quickly regained the lead and never looked back. Up by one at 12-11, UF used three kills and a block to take a five-point advantage. Just four plays later, a kill by Janine Williams sparked the team's double-digit run. Patrick attempted to stop the streak with a timeout four points in, but Florida just kept rolling, pounding out five kills on the next six plays. Following a service error by Hampton that ended the spree, Hinkey served an ace to move the score to 16-27. The match came to a close with the two squads trading the final five points.
The Big Orange will return to the friendly confines of Stokely Athletics Center for a pair of matches next weekend. Tennessee will first host No. 20 LSU at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, before squaring off with Ole Miss at 1:30 p.m. two days later.