Senior Janelle Hester
Aug. 30, 2002
The University of Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team opened the 2002 campaign Friday with a 3-0 (30-25, 30-23, 30-19) win over the Cal State Fullerton Titans at the Fordham Rose Hill Classic in Bronx, N.Y., at Rose Hill Gymnasium. The Orange and White are now 4-2 in season-openers under Head Coach Rob Patrick. For his inaugural 2002 starting lineup, Patrick chose senior outside hitters Janelle Hester and Kelli Scott, sophomore middle blocker Michelle Piantadosi, freshman middle blocker Kristen Andre, freshman outside hitter Jasmine Fullove and freshman setter Julie Knytych.
Tennessee fell behind early on as the Titans ran the score to 8-3 for their largest lead in the first game. The Lady Vols stormed back and eventually grabbed their first lead of the match at 14-13 when senior outside hitter Janelle Hester recorded one of her 10 kills for the frame. The game seesawed back and forth until the Big Orange won six of seven points after the game had been tied at 20-20 to take a commanding 26-21 advantage. The Lady Vols went on to win the first game by a 30-25 count.
The Big Orange clung to several precarious leads in the second game until Cal State Fullerton tied the match at 16-16 and 20-20. Andre's solid serving coupled with a balanced offensive and defensive front quickly ran the score to 24-20 in favor of UT. The Lady Vols found themselves with game point at 29-22 after Piantadosi and Hester combined for consecutive block assists. Piantadosi finished off the second game at 30-23 with her then-sixth kill of the match. The Boca Raton, Fla., native finished the match with nine kills.
Leading the match 2-0, UT carried its momentum through the third game by never relinquishing the lead. The Titans came within two points of tying the game on two occasions, but the Lady Vols quickly dashed their hopes each time. With the match in hand at 26-19, UT freshman middle blocker Heather Harrington entered the contest for the first time and along with Andre, ended the match with a block assist for a dominating 30-19 win in the final game.
"I was very impressed with our organized play, especially from our freshmen," said Patrick following the match. "Our upperclassmen did a tremendous job shouldering most of the offensive load, which is difficult to do early in the year. Defensively, we made a statement and had to because our blocking was not in sync until later in the match."
Hester finished the match with 23 kills and 45 attacks, while her senior counterpart, Scott, recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 17 digs. Knytych ended her first collegiate match with a double-double as well, tallying 45 assists and 10 digs. As a team, the Lady Vols hit at a .322 clip and registered 66 digs to Cal State Fullerton's .144 hitting percentage and 44 digs.
Next up for the Big Orange is Iona and Fordham in the conclusion of the Fordham Rose Hill Classic tomorrow, Aug. 31. The Lady Vols' match with Iona is set for 11:30 a.m., followed by host Fordham at 7:30 p.m. After a day of rest on Sunday, UT heads to South Orange, N.J., for a non-conference match-up with Seton Hall on Sept. 2 at 3:30 p.m.