Tennessee volleyball had a productive weekend playing three games and winning two on a short tour of Ohio. They opened play on Friday in Cleveland, beating Eastern Michigan 3-1 before falling to tournament host Cleveland State, 3-2, late in the night. On Saturday, the Vols traveled to Kent, Ohio, and defeated Kent State 3-1 in their first true road win of the season.
Eastern Michigan: 3-1 Win (25-20, 25-22, 19-25, 30-28)
The first two sets were dominated by UT – in fact, after taking a 2-1 lead early in the first, Eastern Michigan would not have a single lead until early in the third set. Though the Vols managed to stay competitive for most of the third set, they would sputter down the stretch, allowing four-consecutive points to lose the set. The fourth set was a battle throughout, with each team facing at least two set points before an ace from Erica Treiber ended the set and the game. Bri Holmes led the game with 17 kills, while freshman setter Sedona Hansen would finish with a game-high 53 assists.
Cleveland State: 3-2 Loss (27-29, 26-28, 25-21, 25-22, 18-16)
Just as they did in their first match Friday night, UT would win the first two sets. Unlike their first game, it was a struggle. They would face five set points, surviving all of them before scoring three straight points to win. In the second set, the Vols again found themselves with their backs to the wall at 24-22 before coming back to steal a win. The third set went back-and-forth before Cleveland State pulled away at the end, while the fourth was mostly dominated by the Vikings. In the fifth set, the Vols were the ones to lose a late lead, failing to capitalize on match point at 14-13, though they did manage to survive three match points from the opponent before losing. Freshmen stars Tessa Grubbs and Hansen led the way for UT, with the former leading both teams with 23 kills and the latter registering a team-high 45 assists. Senior Bridgette Villano had 27 digs, just one short of her career high.
Kent State: 3-1 Win (25-22, 22-25, 25-13, 25-14)
The first two sets were both close, and each team managed to go into the break with a win. Whatever Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said in the locker room seemed to light a fire in his team, as the Vols would absolutely dominate the final two sets to finish their weekend strong. Grubbs and Holmes each had 14 kills in the third game of the weekend, leading four different UT players that finished the game with double digits in that category. Hansen had a team-high 47 assists. It was the fourth straight game in which Hansen led the team in assists, and the fifth time in six games.
The Vols will take the court again at 10 a.m. next Friday when they begin the Western Michigan tournament by taking on the host.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured images courtesy of Tennessee Athletics