Sept. 6, 2003
The University of Tennessee volleyball team took a 3-0 decision over the host Nevada Wolf Pack to open the SBC/Sands Regency Invitational on Friday Night. The Lady Vols improve to 3-1 this season, while Nevada, a team that has qualified for the NCAA Tournament two years in a row, falls to 2-4. Tennessee out-hit the Wolf Pack .269 to .132 and committed only 18 errors compared to UN's 29.
Individually, UT sophomore setter Julie Knytych dished out 31 assists and contributed 10 kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Sophomore OH Amy Morris led the Orange and White with 11 kills and nine digs, while sophomore libero Jasmine Fullove also tallied nine digs. Freshman MB Sarah Blum continued the strong start to her collegiate career, recording a match-high five blocks.
"This was a good team win," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "Everyone fulfilled their roles well for us tonight. We knew that minimizing our errors would be a key because we felt that our defense could carry us. As you can see, after committing eight errors in game one, we improved and made only 10 during the rest of the match. Julie did a great job setting for us and creating some great matchups for our hitters."
Game one stayed close nearly the entire way through, as neither team lead by more than three points until Tennessee finally grabbed a 27-23 lead after an errant Nevada attack. The Wolf Pack, however, would bring the score back to 28-26, providing a momentary scare before UT finished off the game, 30-26. Hitting and defense served as two key factors in the first game, as the Big Orange out-hit Nevada .286 to .125 and out-dug the Wolf Pack 15 to nine. Morris had the hot hand for Tennessee, registering a game-high 7 kills behind a .500 hitting percentage.
In game two, Tennessee looked to be pulling away after a six point run behind the serving of freshman Cynthia Buggs made the score 15-10. The Wolf Pack battled back and pulled within one point at 21-20, however, that was the closest they would get, as the Lady Vols went on to win, 30-25. The Big Orange was actually out-hit .286 to .233 and out-dug 18 to 16, however, four service errors by Nevada and two aces by UT helped give the game to the Orange. Knytych lead the Lady Vols with five kills in game two, while also divvying out 10 assists.
The Lady Vols jumped out quickly in game three thanks in part to a 10 point run, capped with a block by freshman Sarah Blum and junior Michelle Piantadosi, that made the score 20-6. That 14-point lead proved to be insurmountable, as Tennessee clinched the match with a 30-16 win. UT out-hit the Wolf Pack .308 to -.026 in the third game and committed just four errors compared to UN's 13 attack errors and three service errors.
The SBC/Sands Regency Invitational will continue on Saturday for the Lady Vols when they face Arizona State at 10 a.m. PT and Gonzaga at 5 p.m. PT. ASU defeated Gonzaga, 3-0, in the tournament's first match on Friday. UT's initial home competition this season will take place over Sept. 12-13, when the Big Orange welcomes Cal State Fullerton, East Tennessee State and Michigan for the fifth edition of the Toyota of Knoxville Lady Vol Classic.