Tennessee volleyball splits two games to finish road trip

The VolleyVols finished off a four-game road stretch with two losses at Troy and No. 25 Kentucky.

Tennessee volleyball players #21 Britney Vallez and #6 Brooke Schumacher react to a high hit ball in Tennessee's match against Mississippi State on Sept. 23, 2016.

Tennessee volleyball finished off a four-game road by splitting shutout matches against Troy and Kentucky.

The Vols (11-7, 1-4 SEC) traveled to Troy (6-14), Alabama, on Wednesday for their final non-conference match of the season, winning 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-19).

Tennessee vs Troy, Wednesday, Oct. 5

Troy looked strong early on in the first match, taking the first five points, but the Vols were able to bounce back and take command of the set. A kill by senior Raina Hembry midway through and an ace from freshman Asha Phillips — the first of her career — gave the Vols an opening win.

In the second set, Tennessee fell behind 20-15 before Stephanie Buss’s serves sparked a 7-0 Tennessee run to give the Vols the lead. Junior Kendra Turner closed out the set for the Vols on a cross-court shot. Turner lead the Vols in kills with a season high of 13. She also amassed five digs, four blocks and an ace on the day.

Tennessee struggled to get moving early in the final set, but made a comeback halfway through. After taking a 20-16 lead, momentum stayed on the Vols’ side, propelling them to the win.

The Vols out-dug the Trojans 44-37 in the match. Senior Nora Reed had a big day on the court, bringing in season highs in kills (4), attacks (8), blocks (4), and hitting percentage (.500).

Tennessee vs Kentucky, Sunday, Oct. 9

On Sunday, the Vols traveled to Lexington to take on No. 25 Kentucky, coming away with a 3-0 loss (25-16, 25-18, 25-16) to the Wildcats. Kentucky had control most of the match, holding the Vols to a .139 hitting percentage. The Wildcats out-blocked Tennessee by 11.5 blocks.

The Vols struggled to contain the Wildcats (13-4, 6-0 SEC) in the first set as Kentucky pulled away for a comfortable victory. Tennessee found a lead in the second set with an early 6-5 score, but — much like the first set — Kentucky quickly regained the lead and pulled away to take a commanding 2-0 set lead. With the score tied 3-3 in the third set, the Wildcats again broke the tie and kept momentum through the end of the match.

Freshman Sedona Hansen had a good outing for the Vols, coming two digs away from a double-double with eight digs and 32 assists.

The Vols will host Ole Miss on Friday night and Arkansas on Sunday afternoon to try to get back on track in the SEC.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Sumner Gilliam