Junior Kristen Andre was named MVP of the tournament.
Sept. 5, 2004
LOS ANGELES, Calif.
The University of Tennessee volleyball team swept No. 18/17 Loyola Marymount, 30-24, 30-19, 30-22, on Saturday night to move to 3-0 on the season. The Lady Vols were sparked by a game one .515 hitting percentage, the squad's highest since game three of a 3-0 sweep of LSU on Nov. 17, 2002, a span of 123 games (35 matches). Tennessee held the Lions to under .100 hitting percentage in games two (.026) and three (.053). The victory gave UT the LMU Four Points Sheraton Volleyball Classic title.
"I'm proud for them," Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "I told them that this match was not won tonight in LMU's gym. It was won in practice and in the weight room this summer and since January.
"LMU is a great team, very well-coached and physical. We felt in control the entire match, which is extremely hard to do against a top-25 team. All phases of our game were working: serving, passing, defense and hitting. Our hitters did a good job taking big swings."
Junior middle blocker Kristen Andre (Kelseyville, Calif. / Kelseyville H.S.) was named the tournament MVP, hitting .473 in the tournament with 4.3 kills/game and 1.0 blocks/game.
"I felt she deserved the award," Patrick said. "She's always been fast and quick, but has increased her blocking. Her serving also kept LMU off balance." Freshman outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova (Sofia, Bulgaria / 81 SOU Victor Hugo H.S.) and senior outside hitter Michelle Piantadosi (Boca Raton, Fla. / Olympic Heights H.S.) were named to the All-Tournament team. Stoyanova hit .395 with 4.3 kills/game, while Piantadosi contributed hit .270 with 2.9 kills/game for the tournament.
In game one's victory, Stoyanova sparked the fireworks, hitting .714 (5-0-7).
The Lady Vols would take a 15-11 lead in game one on a service ace from Andre.
Three consecutive Lion attack errors later in the game gave UT a 19-13
advantage. The game was highlighted by sophomore defensive specialist Cynthia
Buggs's (Compton, Calif. / Long Beach Poly H.S.) aggressive, sprawling dive to
keep a ball alive. Even though LMU won the point to cut the Lady Vol lead to
25-21, the passion was emblematic of UT's play in the match. Tennessee closed
out the game, 30-24, on a kill from sophomore middle blocker Sarah Blum
(Tulsa, Okla. / Bishop Kelley H.S.).
Game two saw UT's aggressive digging continue (Tennessee would finish with 45 in the match) as the Lady Vols jumped out to a 24-14 lead. UT won the game, 30-19, and ran off a 9-4 run to begin game three, but Loyola Marymount would not go quietly, rallying to within five, 24-19. A 4-1 lead to conclude the game, 30-22, gave UT the impressive sweep.
For the match, Piantadosi hit .500 (13-2-22), while Stoyanova hit .407 (16-5-27) and Andre hit .435 (13-3-23). Junior setter Julie Knytych (LaGrange Park, Ill. / Lyons Township H.S.) contributed 42 assists.
UT comes home and hosts the Domino's Pizza Lady Vol Classic on Friday and Saturday with Wake Forest, Tennessee-Martin and Purdue coming to Stokely Athletics Center. The Lady Vols face the Demon Deacons at 7 p.m. on Friday and, on Saturday, play Tennessee-Martin at 1 p.m. and Purdue at 7 p.m.