The Lady Vols volleyball team has had an up and down year so far this season. With a 10- game road schedule to start the season they hoped to find some consistency when they returned home to Rocky Top this weekend.
The Lady Vols played host to Memphis, Mercer, Austin Peay, and Montana St. in the DISH Lady Vol Classic that took place Thursday through Saturday. Unfortunately the Lady Vols struggled to defend home court going 2-2 in the tournament.
They got off to a hard start falling to both Austin Peay (in the opening game of the tournament) and dropping their match to fellow in state opponent Memphis. The Lady Vols were led by Kanisha Jimenez, Kelsey Bawcombe and Kendra Turner. The team was able to rally and win their last two matches in thrilling and dominant fashion.
The Lady Vols dropped there first home game on Rocky Top 3-0(18-25,17-25,23-25) to Austin Peay Thursday night. Tennessee was stunned as they suffered just the third home-opening loss in coach Rob Patrick’s 18 years on Rocky Top via utsports.com.
APSU quieted UT early by wining the first set 25-18, and the second 25-17, despite the Lady Vols looking strong in the early moments. UT opened up with a 5-0 advantage in the first match, however APSU would weather the storm and come back to clam the first game.
There were a few bright spots though. Kanisha Jimenez recorded her second double-double of her career and had a team high 11 digs via utsports. The team also thought hard in the third set despite falling 25-23.
Things got a bit better in the second game for Tennessee against Memphis. The game would feature 22 ties and 10 lead changes. The Lady Vols would ultimately fall to Memphis but did record there first win at home in the second game. UT was led by senior Shealynn Kolasky with a season high 10 kills.
Despite the hard start, Tennessee would get there first home win in a five-game match against the Mercer Bears Saturday. Kelsey Bawcombe, Kendra Turner, and Kanisha Jimenez delivered 44 of UT’s 55 kills in the match. Tennessee took the match 3-2 with wins in the first, third, and fifth games.
This was a back and forth match from the start. Tennessee played hard and keep each loss close. Bawcombe recorded her frist career double-double via utsports.
Tennessee closed out the tournament with a 3-0 win over Montana St. Kanisha Jimenez recorded 11 kills to lead the Lady Vols as Bawcombe was second with nine.
The Lady Vols finished strong at home but will need more consistency in SEC play to compete for a conference championship.
Tennessee opens SEC play at Arkansas on September 26th.
All stats via UTsports.com
Edited by Will Lomas
Sam Forman is the lead sports staff writer for the Tennessee Journalist and is a senior studying Journalism and Electronic Media with a focus on sports broadcasting and reporting. He has been with TNJN since the fall of 2014. He is also a DJ for WUTK 90.3 fm. and a member of the Rock Solid Sports team. Sam has spent six years marching in the Pride of The Southland Marching Band. When he is not covering or talking sports, you can find him outdoors, playing music or hanging out with friends. You can find him on twitter: @samWforman