In its final game of the season, Tennessee volleyball lost to the LSU 3-2 on Friday night inside Thompson-Boling Arena. The win is LSU’s first win against the Volunteers since a 3-1 win in 2015 in Baton Rouge. Both teams split the season series 1-1 with Tennessee beating LSU in straight sets on Oct. 29.
Tennessee (12-15, 5-13 SEC) took the opening set 25-19 to go up 1-0. Tessa Grubbs led in attack with six kills behind nine attacks after the first set.
The Vols would go up 2-0 after taking the second set 25-21. Tennessee started with a 3-0 run before a service error by freshman Callie Williams gave LSU its first point in the set. The Vols led the whole time and never allowed the Tigers to take the lead in the set.
Down 16-23 in the second set, LSU never gave up and attempted a comeback, outscoring the Vols 5-2 at the end of the set. Ultimately, the scoring deficit was too much for the Tigers as a kill by Williams gave Tennessee its final point of the second set. Grubbs and freshman Madison Coulter each had five kills in the set.
LSU (20-9, 11-7 SEC) took a thrilling third set 25-23 to cut Tennessee’s lead to 2-1. The set featured 13 ties and eight lead changes and remained close until the very end. The Tigers looked certain to take the third set at 19-16 in the set after a kill by Jacqui Armer. The Vols, however, would go on to score four straight points to go up 20-19 with Grubbs having three kills during the scoring run.
The Tigers prevented Tennessee from coming back in the set as LSU’s freshman phenom Taylor Bannister had a kill to give the Tigers a 24-23 lead. An attack error by redshirt sophomore Breana Jeter gave LSU its final point of the set.
In the fourth set, the Tigers fought to win 25-22 to send the match into a decisive fifth set. Much like the third set, both teams were involved in back-and-forth action. Despite nine scoring ties in the fourth set, LSU never allowed Tennessee to take the lead and evened the match at 2-2.
LSU won the fifth and final set 15-19 and ultimately, the match 3-2. An attack error by Jeter gave the Tigers their final point.
The LSU offense produced 67 kills in its win against the Vols. They were led in attacks by Bannister who finished the match with 16 kills behind 44 attacks. Armer and Toni Rodriguez contributed with 15 kills each.
Despite the loss, the Tennessee offense produced high attacking numbers. They were led in attacks by Grubbs who finished the match with 23 kills behind 58 attacks. Freshman Callie Williams finished with a career-high 55 assists to set up play throughout the match.
Tennessee concludes its 2017 season with the loss to LSU and finishes with a 12-15, 5-13 SEC record. Prior to the match, seniors Stephanie Buss, Mackenzie Cooler, Kanisha Jimenez, and Kendra Turner were honored for senior night. In addition, Coach Rob Patrick honored LSU’s seniors for their last match in their volleyball careers.
Edited by Ben McKee
Feature image courtesy of UT Sports