Sept. 2, 2002
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J.
The University of Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team remained undefeated on the year by downing the Seton Hall Pirates 3-0 (30-22, 30-28, 30-25) Monday afternoon at Walsh Gym in South Orange, N.J. UT is now 4-0 and has yet to lose one game this season. Seton Hall fell to 1-4 with the loss.
In the opening game, the Pirates kept the match tight in the early goings, but after the eighth tie of the frame at 14-14, the Lady Vols never relinquished the lead. UT's largest margin was nine points at 29-20, when senior outside hitter Janelle Hester blasted one of her seven kills in the game. Seton Hall attempted to mount a comeback after winning the next three, but Hester silenced their hopes with her final kill of the first game.
UT raced out to an early 4-0 advantage in game two behind the powerful jump serving of senior outside hitter Kelli Scott. Seton Hall, however, kept the game interesting, never letting the Orange and White build a lead of greater than five points. The Lady Vols appeared to have game two in hand at 28-24, but the Pirates once again made a late push, running off four consecutive points to tie the game. With the match deadlocked at 28-28 and Seton Hall serving, the Big Orange found themselves in their closest game of the year. After the Pirates dumped a serve in the net, UT used its consistent play to win the game at 30-28 by letting Seton Hall beat itself with a hitting error.
After a lackluster beginning to the third frame, which saw UT trailing 6-9 after 15 points, the Lady Vols began rolling. The Big Orange ran off seven straight points for a 13-9 advantage, and the Pirates never climbed within more than three UT's lead during the final game. Tennessee went on to win the match by a 30-25 count in the third game.
Hester paced the Lady Vol offense with 13 kills, followed by sophomore middle blocker Michelle Piantadosi with 10. The Boca Raton, Fla., native also recorded four blocks on the afternoon. Freshman middle blocker Kristen Andre continued her impressive debut with eight kills, as did setter Julie Knytych with 28 assists.
"Julie has been doing a great job of running our offense and making smart decisions on the court," said Tennessee Head Coach Rob Patrick, who now stands only four wins shy of 100 for his career. "Kristen has been playing solid defense for us and her hitting is still coming around. Both of them are certainly much further along than we could have hoped for this early in the year."
The Lady Vols will head to Cullowhee, N.C., for their next tournament when they take part in the Catamount Clash III, hosted by Western Carolina on Sept. 6-7. UT matches up with the host school on Sept. 6 at 8 p.m., and then plays Villanova at 11 a.m. and Georgia State at 5 p.m. on Sept. 7.