The VolleyVols were able to snap a five-match losing streak with a 3-1 victory over LSU on Sunday (25-15, 25-27, 26-24, 25-20).
“It was pretty important for us [to get a win],” Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. “Our players have been working hard… and unfortunately it’s not always equating to wins… so it was a good win for our program and our team.”
Tennessee (16-13, 6-10 SEC) was able to take the first set after it finally found its rhythm. The opening set of the match opened with the Vols and LSU (9-18, 4-12 SEC) going back-and-forth, tying the score at 7-7. It was a 6-0 run from Tennessee, however, that finally broke the set open to take a 12-7 lead. The Vols, led by four digs from Brooke Schumacher, would never look back and eventually took the set 25-15.
Schumacher would finish the match with a career-high 21 digs while wearing the No. 8 instead of her usual No. 6. She switched jerseys in honor of senior teammate Bridgette Villano, who is out for the season with a knee injury. “Going out there with Bridgette [Villano’s] jersey meant a lot to me… I really look up to her as a teammate and a sister. She’ll always be there for us no matter what,” Schumacher said.
After easily taking the first set, the Vols seemed to be on their way to another quick set. Tennessee would let an early 13-8 lead slip out of its hands and slowly let LSU creep back in. The Tigers managed to chip away at the Vols’ lead and tied the set at 20 points apiece. Despite impressive play at the net from Tennessee that would amount to four blocks, LSU eventually took the set 27-25.
Much like the second set, Tennessee saw its early lead dwindle in the third set. Unlike the second set, the Volunteers managed to take the lead back. After opening on a 7-2 run, the Vols would see that lead disappear to a 7-7 tie after a 5-0 run from the Tigers. LSU wasn’t done yet, however, and eventually took a 16-11 lead. The VolleyVols chipped away at the Tigers’ lead and tied the set at 21 apiece. Both teams went back and forth, but Tennessee eventually came out with the win in the third set, 26-24.
Tennessee sealed its victory with a 25-20 win in the fourth set. A 2-1 lead would be the final time LSU maintained the advantage throughout the match as the Vols were able to rally and keep the Tigers from clawing their way into a fifth set.
The Vols’ next game is against Kentucky at home in Thompson-Boling Arena at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday. It will be the final match at home for Tennessee’s seniors.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics