KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —After a 3-0 sweep against opponent New Hampshire to start off the Rocky Top Classic, the Lady Vols Volleyball team (6-3) looked ahead to another two wins against Norfolk State (0-6) and The Citadel (4-5) on Saturday, and came out successful.
Tennessee opened Saturday’s doubleheader against Norfolk State. In the first set, the Lady Vols gained the lead easily. Erykah Lovett showed up with her usual outstanding performance of kills throughout the game to assist Tennessee in gaining the lead, ultimately resulting in the first set ending 25-12, Tennessee.
The second set seemed to be more of a challenge for the Lady Vols early on, as Norfolk State kept in closer range with Tennessee throughout the match. However, Kadynce Boothe stepped up with four kills early in the set to keep the ladies ahead. Despite their struggles, the Lady Vols closed out the set 25-17, with just one more win needed. Earning the final point to seal the win came after a final kill by Lovett, but not before multiple team errors in the plays before.
When the Spartans caught up with the Lady Vols at seven points in the third set, coach Eve Rackham Watt called a time out to regroup. Carla Hernandez for the Spartans stepped up in the third set, pulling off 11 overall kills by the end of the match. It took three Norfolk State possessions for Tennessee to regain their lead, after being down no more than three points until their 15th point, ahead 15-14. Tennessee held this lead for the rest of the match, securing their overall defeat of Norfolk State, 3-0.
Overall, Morgahn Fingall led the Lady Vols in kills with 14, and Klaudua Pawlik was the hitting percentage leader with a percentage of .833 %.
To start off the second match against Citadel, the Lady Vols were met with a five-point deficit, calling a timeout after the Bulldogs led 5-0. After a serve that drifted out of bounds from the Citadel’s Belle Hogan, Tennessee began to rack up points slowly. It took the Lady Vols a majority of the set to find their footing, after many team errors and kills from Bulldogs Ali Ruffin and Maddy Cardenas. Finally, Tennessee was able to slowly meet Citadel at 22 points and won the set by only 25-23. Fingall was the leader in kills with 7, contributing greatly to make up for the Lady Vols’ early mistakes.
In the second set, the Lady Vols came back to prove themselves, after gaining a lead early and never losing it til the final set score of 25-14.
Similarly to the first set, the third and final set of the night opened with the Lady Vols starting out behind early, not catching up with the Bulldogs until 12-12 and then taking the lead the play after. However, the set remained a neck and neck matchup, but ultimately Tennessee would remain victorious, shutting out the Citadel 25-18 to close out the final match of the evening and of the Rocky Top Classic series.
Finghall led all 3 sets against the Citadel with 17 kills, and Lovett with the leading hitting percentage of .478%.
The Lady Vols take on Western Kentucky back again in Knoxville at Thompson-Boling Arena, Tuesday, September 13th at 6 pm EST.