Sept. 3, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Just hours after the Tennessee Lady Volunteers rallied late for a five-set victory over 21st-ranked Dayton, they did not repeat that feat in their evening contest against Houston.
The Lady Vols fell behind early in the final set and lost in five sets 19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 15-8 to close out their final match at the Illinois State Farm Classic at Huff Hall.
Tennessee (4-2) wrapped up the two-day tournament with a 1-2 record, having also lost in four sets to a talented seventh-ranked Illinois squad Friday evening.
The deciding fifth set was tied 6-6 when Houston jumped on a 7-1 run to go up 13-7. While the Lady Vols had dug out of a five-point deficit against Dayton earlier, they could not string the points together a second time.
Errors plagued Tennessee off and on during the match, particularly in the service game, where they had six aces but 19 serves that landed outside of play, a ratio that made it difficult for the team to get its offense rolling. Houston, on the other hand, had two aces and just 10 service errors.
Freshman Tiffany Baker was also a bright spot for the Lady Vols, playing her most productive match from the front line. She had a career-best 14 kills and hit .400.
The first two sets were closely contested, each with more than 10 tie scores and five lead changes. Tennessee led 20-15 in the second set, when Houston surged to take 10 of the next 12 points to close out the set and even the match at one set each.
Houston took the lead early in the third set and held on, but Tennessee battled back in the fourth, where the Lady Vols led from the first point on. They forced the deciding set thanks to hitting .325 while limiting Houston to .188.