Tennessee began their three-game road match with a loss to No. 6 ranked Kentucky. The Vols (10-8, 3-6 SEC) played a competitive match but wasn’t enough to defeat the Wildcats (17-2, 8-0 SEC) who won their 12th straight game, 3-0. Kentucky now leads the story 48-30 and are 8-2 in their last 10 meetings with Tennessee. The win marked the 13th season that the Wildcats have won more than 17 matches under head coach Craig Skinner, which is the longest in program history.
Alyssa Andreno led Tennessee with 11 points and eight kills followed by Breana Jeter and Stephanie Buss who both had eight points and seven kills a piece. The Wildcats’ Kaz Brown became Kentucky’s all-time leading blocker in every category of the 25-point rally-scoring era.
The Vols opened the first set scoring the first two points but the Wildcats followed with a five-point run. The Vols fought a back-and-forth battle and tied the game 11-11 but Kentucky ended up on top wining the first set 25-21. The Wildcats had three separate girls with three digs and Brown added three net rejections in the first set.
In the second set, the Vols scored the first again and continued exchanging points. However, Kentucky eventually jumped out to a solid 17-11 lead and Tennessee never recovered. Wildcats freshman Madison Lilley tallied 14 assists as Kentucky took the second set 25-18.
The Vols didn’t go down easy as there were 20 game point ties in the third set. They tied the match 25-25 to hold Kentucky and tied it three more times until it was 28-28. The Wildcats then took a two-point lead winning the match 30-28. Brown was magnificent once again for Kentucky as she logged nine kills on .533 hitting along with three blocks.
Despite the loss, the Vols had a great performance against a talented and highly ranked opponent. Brooke Schumacher led the team in digs earning 12, Sedona Hansen followed with 11 digs and had 18 assists. Callie Williams followed with 14 assists.
Tennessee continues to struggle on the road with a shaky 1-5 record, but they remain stout in Thompson-Boling Arena with an 8-2 record. The Vols will continue their road trip to College Station on Friday as they face Texas A&M on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, and will finish off their road stretch with LSU on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. Both games can be viewed on SEC Network Plus.
Edited by Seth Raborn
Featured image courtesy of UT Sports