Tennessee’s first home match in almost three weeks proved successful after a 3-0 victory against the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday (25-15, 25-18, 25-16).
The Vols (12-7, 2-4 SEC) came off of a difficult four-game road trip prior to Friday’s match against Ole Miss (12-7, 1-5). In those matches, Tennessee came up with only one victory against Troy and lost its other three matchups—all of which were conference opponents.
“We had to clean some things up this past week,” Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. According to Patrick, the team needed to improve its defense, passing and its serving. “We got better at all three of those things this week and it showed in how we played.”
Freshman setter Sedona Hansen answered her coach’s call when she recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 12 digs and a game-high 32 assists. The Vols finished the night with 39 assists as a unit en route to their second conference win.
The first set opened with a 9-5 Tennessee run. Four points proved to be the closest the Rebels came to winning the first frame of the match. After falling behind 20-10, Ole Miss showed potential to claw its way back into the set, cutting the deficit to 22-15, but were ultimately outmatched and lost 25-15.
Back-and-forth went the Rebels and the Vols in the second set. Unlike the first stanza of the game, neither team was able to gain traction offensively. A late 8-3 push finally gave Tennessee the momentum it needed to seize the match, and the Vols were able to win the second set 25-18.
With the third set tied at 9-9, it appeared as though Ole Miss might have had a chance to make the match competitive. Tennessee shut the door on the Rebels’ hopes by responding with a 14-4 run and ultimately secured its fifth home victory, 25-16.
Defense, like passing, proved to be a major key to victory for the Vols. Led by senior Raina Humbry’s 12 kills and season-high seven blocks, Tennessee was able to muster up 11 blocks on the night compared to the Rebels’ six. Tennessee led Ole Miss in every major statistical category, including dominating in kills 45 to 29.
The Vols stay in Knoxville for the weekend when they face off against the Arkansas Razorbacks at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics