Volleyball team drops match to Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In its first non-conference match in over a month, the University of Tennessee volleyball team (8-10) dropped a hard-fought, four-game decision to the University of Louisville (14-4), 30-25, 26-30, 30-18, 26-30, on Tuesday night at Cardinal Arena.

"Although we lost tonight, I really feel that our team is progressing along the right path," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "This was another high-level volleyball match against a very talented Louisville team. Our players are working extremely hard and we have gotten much better over the last three matches. Unfortunately, it is not showing up in the win column.

"I thought we defended very well in this match," Patrick said. "In the past, we have made unforced errors and given points to the other team. I felt that Louisville had to really fight hard to earn their points tonight and I am encouraged by that."

For the third consecutive contest, the Orange and White got a stellar defensive effort from sophomore libero Chloe Goldman, as she recorded 25 digs in the loss. The Monterey, Calif., native now has 85 digs in the last five days. Sophomores Kylie Marshall and Jena Berg and freshman Nikki Fowler also reached double-digits in the dig category, with 18, 15 and 11, respectively.

"Chloe has been one of the constants for our team this season," Patrick said. "She has been a consistent performer for us with her strong serving, passing and digging. Because of her tremendous volleyball athleticism and IQ, we are able to position our defense so that the opposing team's hitters have to hit in her direction, and she has been doing a great job of taking care of those opportunities to dig the ball."

Offensively, junior Milan Clarke led the Orange and White with 10 kills, while Marshall and sophomore Farren Powe each notched nine and Fowler pounded out eight. Other than that quartet, however, Tennessee only got seven total kills out of the rest of its team.

With the Louisville band's rendition of "My Old Kentucky Home" still ringing in their ears, the Cardinals came out of the gates in a hurry, building a 7-2 lead in almost no time at all. The UT deficit would expand to six on a kill by Svetlana Dukule that ran the score to 11-5, before it could attempt a comeback. While the Orange and White was able to rattle off three straight points, Louisville answered with three straight of its own to retain its six-point margin.

After the two squads traded the next four scores, Tennessee got back in the game by winning eight points in the span of 10 points. Utilizing a pair of three-point runs during that duration, the Big Orange cut the Louisville advantage to just one at 18-19, before Louisville head coach Leonid Yelin called a timeout to steady his troops.

Following the short break, his squad went back up by two on a kill by Tatyana Kolesnikova, but UT took advantage of a Cardinal miscue and Marshall served an ace just inside the left-side line to even the score at 20-all. Louisville answered quickly, however, scoring on three consecutive plays to take a lead it would hold on to for the remainder of the frame. The Orange and White was able to trim the Louisville advantage to a point once more, but the Cardinals eventually prevailed 30-26.

In the second game, it was the Lady Vols' turn to take the early lead, jumping out to a 7-1 advantage. The Cardinals were undeterred, however, rallying to tie the score at 10-10. The two teams would engage in a tremendous battle over the next 18 plays, with the lead changing hands twice and the score reaching a tie on five different occasions. With Louisville leading 20-18, UT embarked on a five-point spree, getting kills from Powe, Clarke and sophomore Leah Hinkey and an ace by Berg.

Shortly thereafter, the Orange and White effectively put the game out of reach with four consecutive scores. After a Cardinal serve found the net, Marshall tipped an attack past the block and just inside the left-side line to give her team a 27-24 lead. Yelin stopped the game momentarily with his second timeout of the frame, but UT kept rolling. Straight out of the break, Hinkey and Marshall joined forces on a sharp putback and a Louisville attack error put the Lady Vols at game-point.

Although Louisville delayed the inevitable with a pair of scores, another Cardinal swing landed long, giving Tennessee the set, 30-26, and sending the two teams into the locker rooms tied at one game each.

After the intermission, Louisville cruised to an easy 30-18 victory behind the strength of a pair of lengthy runs. UT looked good early, taking a 7-5 advantage, but the Cardinals immediately responded in dramatic fashion with eight straight scores. A Louisville attack error ended the spree, but Louisville kept rolling after that. With a 19-14 lead, a smash by Jana Matiasovska sparked a five-point streak that gave the Cardinals a demanding, double-digit advantage. Tennessee would score four more times during the frame, before Justine Landi ended it with an ace.

The Lady Vols could not hold on to a five-point lead late in the fourth game, as Louisville rallied to win the frame, 30-26, and the match three games to one. With the score at 8-7 in favor of UT, Clarke won a joust at the net to mark the beginning of a four-score run. After a Cardinal attack landed wide, Fowler and Powe joined forces on a sharp putback, before another Cardinal miscue prompted a timeout by Yelin. The tactic worked, as his squad rattled off three straight to move back to within two at 12-10.

The score remained close until back-to-back Louisville errors, followed by a block by Hinkey and Clarke and a Clarke kill, put the Orange and White up by five at 20-15. At that point, Yelin stopped play for a second time. Once again, his squad responded. This time, however, the Lady Vols would not have an answer. Following the timeout, the Cardinals took their five-point deficit and made it a four-score advantage by winning 10 of the next 11 points.

Trailing 25-21, the Big Orange was reeling. Louisville suddenly went cold, however, with attack errors on three of the next four plays. Although it was now within one at 26-25, UT could not take advantage of the mistakes, as a pair of Kolesnikova kills, sandwiched around a Lady Vol attack error, put Louisville at match-point. Following a service error, Kolesnikova got another putaway to end the contest.

The Big Orange will close out its three-match road swing when it opens up the second half of its SEC schedule this weekend. UT will first travel to Starkville, Miss., where it is set to take on Mississippi State at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19, before making the short trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face Alabama just two days later at 1:30 p.m.

LADY VOL SOCCER: The Tennessee women's soccer team climbed up one spot in the latest SoccerTimes.com and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas rankings on Tuesday.

The Orange and White improved to No. 13 in the NSCAA/adidas listing and to No. 15 in the SoccerTimes.com poll.

UT saw the improvement after closing out a four-match road trip with a weekend sweep of Southeastern Conference rivals Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The Lady Vols finished their road swing with a 2-1-1 record after falling to LSU on Oct. 5 and tying Arkansas on Oct. 7 to open the trip.

Freshman midfielder Tanya Emerson scored the first game-winner of her career in a 1-0 overtime win at Kentucky on Oct. 12, putting away a rebound from close-range for the "golden goal" in the 95th minute. The shutout was the 80th in Tennessee's 12-year program history and marked the 24th program overtime win.

UT followed back-to-back one-goal performances with an offensive onslaught at Vanderbilt on Sunday, downing the Commodores, 3-1. Senior forward Emily Redberg notched the 23rd goal and 60th point of her career in the 50th minute after knocking in a rebound.

Just 10 minutes later, the Lady Vols struck again, this time getting the fifth goal of the season from junior forward Kylee Rossi after she received a long pass from sophomore midfielder Mick Imgram and beat the Vandy keeper. Emerson sealed the victory for UT, after a Vanderbilt penalty kick cut the lead to one goal, by putting a shot past Commodore keeper Rachel Bachtel.

Junior goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson has allowed just one goal in her last 216 minutes in net and is now tied for third all-time at Tennessee with 15 career victories. Rossi and Redberg are each just one goal away from gaining sole possession of seventh in the career record books. For her efforts, Emerson earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors, her first selection of the season.

Two Pac-10 teams earned the No. 1 position in the polls this week, with UCLA claiming the top spot in the NSCAA/adidas ranking and Stanford doing the same in the SoccerTimes.com listing. This week marks the second consecutive week for both teams at the top of their respective polls.

The Lady Vols return home to host Ole Miss and Mississippi State this week. The Rebels visit Regal Soccer Stadium on Friday for a 7 p.m. start, while the Bulldogs come into town for a Sunday afternoon match that will be televised live on FOX Sports Net at 2 p.m.

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