Aug. 27, 2011
BY AMANDA PRUITT
Teetering on the brink of a three-game loss, junior Jasmine Brown and the Tennessee Lady Volunteers kept their focus.
With Brown serving, Lady Vols fought off multiple match points in the third game and turned around the match late in a 3-2 victory over Maryland to win the Comcast Lady Vol Classic on Saturday night.
"We had a game plan for this, but we weren't mentally in the game," Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. "We were just playing volleyball. we weren't playing Maryland. We weren't competing for every point. They finally got into competing on every point, and it's going to happen, but I was disappointed it took so long for that to happen."
The 24th-ranked Lady Vols (3-0) recorded a sweep of their own earlier in the day against Villanova at Thompson-Boling Arena, but in the evening match they faced the potential of being on the losing end of that score in front of 1,938 fans, the second-largest crowd in program history.
Tennessee trailed 24-20 in the third game but regained possession on a kill by Robinson. Brown, who has long been a serving specialist for the Lady Vols, entered the match to serve and immediately had Maryland on its heels with every point, helping guide the Lady Vols to a 25-24 lead.
After exchanging several points, the Lady Vols took the lead on a service error by Maryland and captured the set 29-27 on another kill by Robinson.
After that, anything else seemed routine. Robinson put the Lady Vols ahead for good midway through the 4th game at 18-17. Tennessee then took command early in the fifth set and ultimately won 20-25, 22-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-5.
Sahagian had another career night with 18 kills and a .441 attack percentage. Sophomore Ellen Mullins added 19 digs. Pollmiller, Tennessee's lone setter this weekend, collected her second match with at least 50 assists, finishing with 51.
The Lady Vols have played three matches thus far, two of them being five-game victories. They played only five five-game matches all of 2010, going 2-3 in those contests.
Tennessee hits the road for the first time next week for the Illinois State Farm Classic in Champaign, Ill. The Lady Vols face host Illinois on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Central, and on Oct. 3, they play Dayton at noon and Houston at 5:30 p.m.