Volleyball team nips UK

The Lady Vol volleyball squad snapped a three-match losing streak Sunday by posting a 3-2 (30-20, 30-32, 32-30, 26-30, 17-15) victory over the Kentucky Wildcats. The win evened the Lady Vols' SEC record on the year at 7-7 and upped their overall mark to 18-9. Kentucky dropped to 13-13 on the season and 6-8 in the SEC with the loss.

After splitting the first 28 rallies of the first game, Tennessee began to take command of the match. UT quickly found itself with a 21-16 advantage after senior outside hitter Kelli Scott tallied one of her seven kills during the game. With a 26-20 lead, the Lady Vols went on a 4-0 run to close out the first frame thanks to two kills from freshman middle blocker Kristen Andre, a kill by Scott and a service ace by freshman outside hitter Jasmine Fullove.

Things were tight early on in the second game as neither team managed to build more than a three-point lead over the first 25 points. Trailing 16-14, the Big Orange felt the game slipping away after the Wildcats score four unanswered for a six-point advantage, 20-14. UK seemed to have the second game in hand with a 25-20 lead, but the Lady Vols slowly crept back into the match by taking six of the next seven rallies to knot up the score at 26-26. The Wildcats won the next three points, but Scott led UT back with two kills, and a hitting error by UK tied the game up once again, 29-29. Kentucky, however, regained its composure and went on to take round two, 32-20, after sophomore outside hitter Sarah Spinner recorded consecutive kills.

The third game mimicked its two predecessors as the two teams traded rallies back and forth for most of the frame. With the game tied, 20-20, Tennessee managed a 3-0 spurt capped by a service ace from Scott. UK responded and deadlocked the frame once again at 25-25 with a kill from junior middle blocker Sissy Canfield. Kentucky and Tennessee split the next eight rallies before Scott registered another kill to give the Big Orange a chance for a 2-1 lead. The Wildcats countered with a kill by senior outside hitter Anne Koester, but a kill by Fullove and a hitting miscue by senior outside hitter Kristen Batt gave Tennessee the 32-30 win.

After the Lady Vols raced out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth game, the theme of the afternoon returned as neither squad proved capable of taking the reins. With the score tied at 24-24, Kentucky rose to the occasion, capitalizing on two straight unforced errors by the Lady Vols. Batt and Canfield led the offense for the Wildcats down the stretch with four kills en route to a 30-26 victory to force a fifth game.

Kentucky freshman middle blocker Amy Kaplan served up an ace to start things off in game five, but it was the last lead Kentucky would see for awhile. UT won the next three points with a couple of help from the Wildcatsâ mistakes and an ace by Scott. Tennessee remained in control of the game and eventually found itself with four game-points, but little did the Lady Vols know that the match was far from over.

The tide suddenly turned as the Wildcatsâ relentless defense set up their two primary offensive weapons, Canfield and Spinner, for five straight kills, giving Kentucky a chance to win the match. However, Fullove served up her seventh ace moments later, and sophomore middle blocker Michelle Piantadosi ended the match with her 18 kill of the afternoon to give the Orange and White the thrilling 3-2 victory.

Fullove's seven aces shattered her previous career-high of three set against Western Carolina earlier this year. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native also recorded five kills, three assists, four digs and a career-best five blocks.

''Jasmine was the steadying force for us,'' said UT Head Coach Rob Patrick.''She hit and passed extremely well, and her serve really put Kentucky on its heels.''

Scott ended the match with season-highs in kills, 21, attacks, 60, and digs, 18. The Peoria, Ariz., native is now only four kills shy of reaching 1,000 for her career.

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