The No. 25 Tennessee volleyball team (19-5, 10-2 SEC) took on Ole Miss (13-13, 3-9 SEC) in Oxford on Friday and came away with a 3-1 victory.
Both Ole Miss and Tennessee had strong offensive showings, and the teams were evenly matched throughout.
Ole Miss started off strong in the first set, developing a six-point lead through solid offensive play before taking the set 25-21 off of an Emily Stroup kill.
Tennessee responded with an offensive explosion, resulting in 18 second set kills and an ace that gave the Lady Vols 25-21 victory. An Addisyn Rowe kill secured the set for Tennessee.
Tied 1-1, Tennessee and Ole Miss were locked in a close battle with virtually no advantage on either side.
It was more of the same in the third set, and neither the Lady Vols nor the Lady Rebels could gain a significant lead. Ole Miss reached set point up 24-22, and the match lead was within reach.
Then the Lady Rebels stumbled.
Two Tennessee kills, one from Tessa Grubbs and the other from Erica Treiber, and two Ole Miss errors propelled Tennessee to a third set win by a score of 26-24.
Down 1-2, the Lady Rebels continued to fight throughout the fourth set, never allowing Tennessee to gain an insurmountable lead. It was not enough though, as a five-point scoring streak gave Tennessee a late advantage. Two Ole Miss errors gave Tennessee a 25-24 fourth-set win, as well as the victory.
Tennessee’s ability to win key points at vital moments allowed the Vols to emerge victorious, as Tennessee finished with only four more kills than Ole Miss and nine fewer blocks.
Tennessee’s Tessa Grubbs once again fueled the Vols’ offensive fire, as she earned 22 kills on 56 total attempts.
Erica Treiber, who racked up 14 kills, including the 1000th of her UT career, was lauded by Tennessee coach Eve Rackham afterward. Rackham praised Treiber’s ability to finish, saying “that’s why you love Treiber. When the game is on the line, you can count on her.”
While happy with her team’s victory, Treiber is focused on Tennessee’s need to “keep our momentum going forward.” Tennessee remains undefeated by all SEC opponents except Kentucky and will look to continue its in-conference success for the remaining six matches.
Next, Tennessee returns home to take on Texas A&M. First serve in Knoxville is scheduled for Sunday Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.