Kristen Andre led UT with 14 kills.
Aug. 30, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md.
The University of Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team bounced back from a grueling five-game loss against No. 25 Michigan State earlier in the day to down Villanova by a score of 3-0 (30-20, 30-23, 30-23) at the Maryland Invitational on Saturday. UT improves to 2-1 this season, while Villanova falls to 0-3.
Tennessee out-hit the Wildcats .271 to .078, out-dug them 67 to 52 and recorded seven total blocks compared to Villanova's two. Sophomore middle blocker Kristen Andre led UT with 14 kills and a .565 hitting percentage, while junior Whitney Gifford had a strong defensive effort, registering 17 digs to go along with seven kills. Sophomore setter Julie Knytych also played well, racking up 32 assists, seven kills and 10 digs.
"Our defense set the tone for the match," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "We were mentally and physically tired after playing Michigan State earlier today, but Julie Knytych did a great job of leading our team and running our offense. Overall, I'm pleased with how we competed at the tournament and the level of effort we put forth in each match."
The match began in competitive fashion, as UT and Villanova frequently traded points until the score was tied at 18. At that point, the Lady Vols began to break away with a six-point run that featured two Michelle Piantadosi kills to put UT out in front, 28-19. The Big Orange went on to win by a score of 30-20 after a solo block by freshman Sarah Blum clinched the game. Gifford had a stellar defensive effort, digging nine balls to go along with two kills. Tennessee's offense got off to a fast start, out-hitting 'Nova .273 to .000 thanks, in part, to four kills apiece by Andre and Knytych.
The Lady Vols and Wildcats battled back and fourth during the early stages of game two until Tennessee took the lead for good, 13-12, off a block by sophomore Heather Harrington. UT cruised to a 30-23 win behind three kills each by Gifford, Piantadosi and Andre. Knytych divvied out 11 assists and led the Orange and White with five digs. Tennessee out-hit VU .214 to .104 and out-dug the Wildcats 20 to 14.
Villanova jumped out quickly to an 11-3 lead in game three. Tennessee, however, showed the same resiliency it had demonstrated in its first two matches of the season and took the lead after a block by Andre and Gifford made the score 21-20. After that, the Lady Vols never looked back, sealing the match with a 30-24 game three win. UT had its best offensive performance of the match, hitting .364 as a team behind seven kills from Andre and six from Piantadosi, while 'Nova hit .146.
Tennessee competes next at the SBC/Sands Regency Invitational in Reno, Nev., hosted by the University of Nevada over Sept. 5-6. In addition to the host Wolfpack, UT will battle Arizona State and Gonzaga at the tournament. UT's first home matches this season will take place over Sept. 12-13, when the Big Orange welcomes Cal State Fullerton, East Tennessee State and Michigan for the fifth edition of the Toyota of Knoxville Lady Vol Classic.