Tennessee Volleyball (11-4, 2-1 SEC) won in a tight five set match against the Missouri Tigers (12-3, 2-1) on Sunday. The Lady Vols fought toe-to-toe with the Tigers until they pulled ahead in the fifth set to close out the match with three set wins.
Tennessee proved better both offensively and defensively with 69 kills and 72 digs to Missouri’s 63 kills and 63 digs.
Midway through the first set, Tennessee’s strong play above the net allowed the Lady Vols to pull away. Offensive efficiency drove Tennessee to a first set victory by a score of 25-20, with Raquel Perinar scoring the winning kill for the Lady Vols.
Tennessee kept up their strong play in the second set, but Missouri clawed to fight back. Tied in the second set at 15-15, both teams continued aggressive play with Missouri attacking 60 times to Tennessee’s 59. However, Tennessee proved to be the more efficient of the two teams, leading with 25 kills to Missouri’s 20.
Tennessee’s unrelenting attack and high efficiency failed to phase Missouri. The Tigers broke back to win the second set 25-22 after a kill by Missouri’s Kylie Deberg and an attack error by Tennessee’s Tessa Grubbs. Tennessee and Missouri sat tied once again at a set score of 1-1 with each team willing themselves through each point back and forth.
Tennessee faced its turn to bounce back as the Lady Vols quickly scored up 18-13 in the third set after key successive kills by middle blocker Erica Treiber. Yet each point remain contested. The Lady Vols needed to fight each battle at the net.
Fight they did.
Tennessee built upon the momentum and the four-point lead it acquired to win the third set 25-18. Though Tennessee only attacked once more than Missouri, the Lady Vols improved upon communication errors in the last match to dominate in efficiency with 47 kills to Missouri’s 39.
Tennessee appeared to have the momentum on their side at the beginning of the fourth set, as the Lady Vols led the Tigers early in the set. But momentum proved fickle. Missouri renewed and roared back to win the fourth set 25-21.
Tennessee finally closed out the match in the fifth set after taking an early lead. The Lady Vols won the set 15-9 off of an attack error by Missouri’s Leketor Member-Meneh after the play withstood a challenge by Missouri.
Freshman Lily Felts proved to be a key piece on both offense and defense for the Tennessee team, racking up 15 kills and 12 digs. Felts helped provide the Tennessee team with a necessary push at the end of the fifth set with two of its final three kills. However, junior Erica Treiber proved Tennessee’s true offensive juggernaut, giving Tennessee 19 kills on 30 total attempts.
Tennessee improved to 2-1 in SEC standings with its first SEC win at home. The team lost its first home SEC match last Sunday to No. 20 Kentucky.
“Every win is big in the SEC,” Tennessee head coach Eve Rackham said. With her first home SEC win in her first year as head coach, Rackham hopes to continue building efficient response on offense and defense.
Tennessee will face Arkansas in Knoxville on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
Featured photo Sumner Gilliam/TNJN archives
Edited by Lexie Little