The Tennessee volleyball team has gotten off to a great start so far in the 2015 season. The Vols will open SEC play this Friday with a trip to Auburn and will look to add to their best start in program history.
Tennessee is currently 14-1, with their only loss coming to N.C. State in the finals of the N.C. State Tournament. Even in the loss to a very good Wolf Pack team, things could not have gone much better for the Vols in their final non-conference game. Tennessee kept it close verses N.C. State and almost pulled even in the second set, but fell short despite having two match points.
The question is: Can the Vols keep the momentum going once they start league play? With the way to Vols have played, one would think yes, but other teams in the SEC have gotten off to just as good of a start.
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So far only two SEC teams have played each other. Alabama and Mississippi State faced off and the Crimson Tide pulled off the upset win, 3-1, in four sets.
Ole miss (14-1), Missouri (12-1) and Florida (8-1) all join Tennessee in entering SEC play with one loss. Six other schools join the four one-loss teams with a .500 record or better to start the SEC season, giving the league a total of ten teams with a record of .500 or better (out of the 13 teams that play volleyball).
The Vols open league play at Auburn on Friday and then will head to Athens to take on Georgia on Sunday. Tennessee will have their first SEC home game on Oct. 2 when they host Alabama. It won’t be an easy road early. The Vols will get four of the best teams entering league play in their first seven games.
So far the Vols’ offense has recorded 690 kills, an average of 13.o kills per set. Tennessee also has only accumulated 230 errors and has an attack percentage of .257. Defensively, the Vols have recorded 866 digs (an average of 16.3 per set) and have blocked 123.5 shots while only having 87 of their own shots blocked.
Tennessee has scored on 68 aces so far and has a serving percentage of .926. They have outscored their opponents 1267-985.
Tennessee has been lead by standout performances from senior Lexi Dempsey, sophomore Kanisha Jimenez and Junior Raina Hembry so far. The Vols will need them to keep up their play to have the success they are hoping for this season.
Head coach Rob Patrick enters his 19th season as the Vols coach. In his time at UT, Patrick has lead Tennessee to eleven 20 win seasons and the team is almost three-fourths of the way to a twelfth 20 win season. Could the Vols be heading to a SEC title and final four?
Only time will tell.
Edited by Nathan Odom