Aug 30, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Tennessee earned its second win of the day and season as the Lady Vols took down Cincinnati, 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-19) at Fifth Third Arena Friday evening.
Freshman Ashley Mariani came out firing for the Big Orange and she tallied 14 kills in the match, hitting at a .316 clip. Sophomore Lexi Dempsey recorded her first double-double as she dished up 27 assists and scooped up 11 digs. Freshman Jamie Lea led the squad in blocks with four, denying three of those shots on her own.
UT jumped out to an early 10-5 lead in the opening set, and led by as much as eight points (19-11) over the Bearcats. Strong digging in the back row from veterans Ellen Mullins and Nikki Brice helped boost Tennessee to a 25-19 victory as the duo accounted for 14 of the team's 25 digs during the set.
Mariani showed no signs of stopping in the second set for the Lady Vols as she put away seven kills, half of her total (14) in the three sets. Four of UT's last six points of the set came from the 6-foot-1 middle blocker's kills. She hit a .412 clip during the set, while Tennessee hit .238. UT took the second set, 25-22.
"Lexi (Dempsey) and I started connecting as the set went on," Mariani said. "The passes were doing great. We were really just in a rhythm and the team was coming together."
Tennessee trailed at the beginning of the third, before tying it up at 6-6. For the next couple of possessions, the teams battled back and forth for the lead before UT took it over at 10-8. From there, the Lady Vols never gave up the lead and went on to win the third and final set, 25-19. Mariani hit .364 with six kills, while Dempsey had 10 assists in the third set alone.
Tennessee is now 6-3 all-time against the Bearcats.
The Lady Vols wrap up the Cincinnati Invitational Saturday when they take on Butler at 2:30 p.m. ET.