April 18, 2024

Tennessee Volleyball lose back-to-back road games to SEC squads

The VolleyVols took to the road this week, losing a pair of matches to conference foes South Carolina and Florida.

KNOXVILLE,TN - AUGUST 27, 2016 - Outside hitter Tessa Grubbs #17 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the match between the MTSU Blue Raiders and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee volleyball started a four-game road trip this week as the Vols (10-6, 1-3 SEC) faced two SEC rivals, coming up short in both games.

The road tests began on Wednesday night as the Vols lost to South Carolina in a five-set match, 3-2 (24-26, 25-12, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13).

Despite taking a 2-1 lead early, the Gamecocks (13-1, 1-1 SEC) would not let Tennessee out of their sight, taking the final two sets to win.

The Vols found themselves rallying to win in the first and third sets, but South Carolina’s momentum in the fourth made it hard for Tennessee to bounce back.

Later in the fourth set, Tennessee took a 20-18 lead, but stellar back-to-back kills from the Gamecocks’ Alicia Starr sparked a 6-1 South Carolina run to grab a 24-21 lead. Freshman Mikayla Shield later stepped up with a kill to close out the fourth for the Gamecocks. Momentum stayed on South Carolina’s side in the fifth set, leading the Gamecocks to a win after falling behind 10-7 in the set.

Sophomore Erica Treiber and freshman Tessa Grubbs led the way in kills for the Vols with 17 each on the night. Tennessee actually finished with more kills than the Gamecocks (66-57) and its five-set match with South Carolina was the team’s first match longer than three sets since meeting with Xavier on Sept. 10.

On Sunday, the Vols traveled to Gainesville to take on their first ranked opponent of the season, losing to No. 5 Florida, 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 22-25, 20-25).

After dropping the first set, Tennessee bounced back in the second set, going on a 7-2 run to force a 14-14 tie before winning the set, 25-19.

The Gators (13-2, 3-1 SEC) managed to take the next two sets and win the match, putting them third in the SEC standings.

Vols’ head coach Rob Patrick was pleased with the way his team played.

“I thought the team carried out the game plan as well as we could have,” Patrick said. “I thought we were playing them point-for-point, but eventually Florida made a play here, a play there, that made the difference in the set they won.”

A total of four Tennessee players finished with double-digit kills—Grubbs (17), Bri Holmes (14), Treiber (10) and Raina Hembry (10). This makes the sixth time this season that Grubbs has finished with at least 15 kills.

The Vols now look to finish off the final half of this four-game road test as they head to Troy on Wednesday.

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

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Danielle is a senior studying Journalism and Electronic Media. Before coming to UT, she was a student intern for 106.3 ESPN Radio where she assisted in the broadcasts and productions of Pigeon Forge High School football and basketball. She is also a former sports correspondent for The Mountain Press and worked as a promotions assistant for the Tennessee Smokies. If she's not busy with the Triple Play podcast or writing sports stories, you'll most likely find her at St. John XXIII Catholic Center on campus or watching sports somewhere while she sips on an Arnold Palmer. Follow her on Twitter: @Dani_Marie_15