Volleyballers whitewash ETSU

The Lady Vol volleyball team won its second straight match Tuesday night in Johnson City, upending the East Tennessee State Buccaneers, 3-0 (30-17, 30-22, 30-28). The victory concluded UT's non-conference play with a 12-2 mark and upped their overall record on the season to 19-9. East Tennessee State fell to 8-20 with the loss.

Michelle Piantadosi led the Lady Vols in kills on the evening with 12 and also recorded four blocks. Freshman Kristen Andre posted 11 kills and five blocks as well. Heather Harrington also had five rejections. Knytych ended the contest with 33 assists, a match-high 15 digs, four kills and three blocks. Kelli Scott concluded the match with eight kills, eight digs and two blocks.

The Lady Vols got off to a slow start in the first game, dropping the first three points, but the frame was quickly tied, 4-4, after Piantadosi ripped off one of her four kills during the game. The two teams split the next 20 rallies to deadlock the score at 14 before the Big Orange took control, claiming eight of the next nine points for a 22-15 advantage. Down the stretch, freshman outside hitter Jasmine Fullove led the Orange and White, tallying four kills with UT up 27-16 en route to the 30-17 victory.

During the first round, Scott recorded her 1,000th career kill, which came during the 34th rally of the frame and gave Tennessee a 19-15 lead. Scott also recorded her 1,000th career dig earlier this season against South Carolina on Oct. 13, making her only the fourth Lady Vol to eclipse both marks. She joins Kristy Dobson, Stephanie Ehlers and Sonja Thomas as a member of this elite group. Head Coach Rob Patrick presented the game ball to the Peoria, Ariz., native following the match.

''I'm very proud of Kelli,'' said Patrick. ''She's very deserving of this achievement. Her hard work and dedication has made her reach her full potential as a player. It's nice to see a person who makes great decisions on and off the court receive these accolades.''

The second game remained close in the early goings until the Lady Vols grabbed a 7-6 advantage on a kill courtesy of Harrington. From there, Tennessee would roll, going on several small runs to add to their lead. The point of the match came when the Orange and White ran the score to 23-16 after UT freshman setter Julie Knytych dug a blistering attack from junior outside hitter Kate Steidle. The ball floated toward the front, middle portion of the court, where Fullove strategically dropped a no-look attack on the left side of the court with her back facing the baseline. Tennessee went on to win game two by a 30-22 count.

Game 3 was tight most of the way, but Tennessee gained some breathing room with a three-point lead, 19-16, after a hitting miscue by the Buccaneers. The Lady Volsâ lead, however, did not last long as ETSU gained the upper hand, 21-20, after an unforced error by Tennessee. With the game knotted at 25 apiece, the pressure was too much for the Buccaneers as they committed costly errors. Piantadosi sealed the 30-28 victory for the Big Orange with her third kill of the frame.

The Lady Vols will wrap up the regular season this weekend when they host Arkansas and LSU before heading to Fayetteville, Ark., for the SEC Tournament on Nov. 22-24. Tennessee will take on the Lady Razorbacks on Friday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. and then welcome the Tigers to Stokely Athletics Center at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. UT was shutout by Arkansas and LSU earlier this season. Friday will also be senior day for outside hitters Kelli Scott and Janelle Hester.


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