Sept. 2, 2006
LOS ANGELES - The No. 11 University of Tennessee volleyball team moved to 5-0 on the season, sweeping North Carolina at the LMU/USC Hilton LAX Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Gersten Pavilion.
"This was our most solid and consistent performance of the season," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "So far this year, we have had a tendency to lose momentum and give points away with unforced errors in the first and second games. We did a great job of reducing those errors today, which allowed us to go on some scoring runs and play with added confidence."
"Chelsea (Noble) did a really good job of running the offense and setting our hitters in the right spots," Patrick said. "Yuliya (Stoyanova) and Kelsey (Fautsch) also had terrific matches on the outside, getting kills in a number of clutch situations."
Senior Kelsey Fautsch was the team's leading offensive performer, tallying 13 kills and a .357 hitting percentage to pace the team's efforts. Fellow senior Sarah Blum led the Big Orange on the defensive end with six blocks. In the dig category, the Lady Vols were led by senior Annie Sadowski and junior Yuliya Stoyanova with both recording 11 digs each.
UT got off to a slow start in the first game, letting UNC jump out to a quick 3-1 lead. The Lady Vols, however, were able to quickly regroup and tie it up at six on a Mindy Flynn kill. The two teams then traded the next 12 points before a four-point run gave the Lady Vols the lead for good. UNC would not get closer than three points for the rest of the game as UT won the frame, 30-25. Flynn and Stoyanova paced the Lady Vol attack with four kills each, with Flynn's .667 (4-0-6) hitting percentage also leading the team during the set.
The Big Orange took advantage of nine unforced errors from the Tar Heels to win the second game by a score of 30-24. Patrick's squad put the game away with a six-point run in the middle of the frame that gave them a seven point lead. With her fifth kill of the game, Fautsch put the Lady Vols' up two games to none on a blast that fell wide off the UNC block.
After the intermission, the Orange and White came out determined to get the sweep. The Tar Heels closed the gap to just two at 20-18, but Patrick used a timeout to rally his troops. The Lady Vols scored three consecutive points after the short break to fend off the UNC attack. A blast off the hand of Fautsch closed out the match, giving Tennessee its fifth consecutive victory.
The Lady Vols are set to conclude the LMU/USC Hilton LAX Invitational with a 4 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. Eastern) showdown against No. 14 Southern California Sunday afternoon at the Lyon Center.