No. 23 Tennessee (21-5, 12-2 SEC) defeated Mississippi State (5-22, 1-13 SEC) in three sets on Sunday. The 3-0 victory extends Tennessee’s winning streak, as the Lady Vols have now won 7 straight.
The Lady Vols jumped out to a quick 13-4 lead in the first set and proved able to fend off a Bulldog surge in the second half of the set. Mississippi State was on the verge of completing the comeback after taking three straight points, but a kill by Tessa Grubbs secured a 25-22 first set victory for Tennessee.
Mississippi State improved in the second set and kept Tennessee close until the Bulldogs reached set point with a three-point lead. Tennessee’s offense began to click when the team needed it most, and the Lady Vols quickly won five straight points off of four kills and a Bulldog error to take the second set 26-24.
Tennessee entered the third set with a two set lead and a full head of steam, but Mississippi State was again able to keep the score close at the beginning of the set. However, Tennessee slowly built a small lead until the Lady Vol offense took control of the set, winning nine of the final eleven points to give Tennessee the match with a 25-15 third set victory.
Tessa Grubbs shined in the third set, racking up 10 kills to lift Tennessee to victory. Grubbs led the Lady Vols in kills with 22, and Tennessee coach Tyler Adams lauded Grubbs’ offensive success, saying that “nobody had an answer for her.”
Mississippi State failed to find an answer for any of the Tennessee players, though, as the Lady Vols finished with 58 kills, while Mississippi State had only 35.
The Bulldogs were able to keep the first two sets close with help from Lady Vol errors, but, in the end, Tennessee’s offense proved too much to overcome. The Lady Vols finished with seven more attack errors, three more service errors and three more block errors than the Bulldogs.
The error discrepancy mattered little though, as Tennessee easily defeated Mississippi State.
Tennessee has tougher matchups on the horizon, and the Lady Vols will travel to Missouri on Wednesday to take on the Tigers. Grubbs is already focused on the upcoming “challenging” match, noting that “it is a big game and they are a hard team to play, especially away.”
First serve against Missouri in Columbia is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.
Edited by Jake Nichols.