Sep 5, 2013
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --Tennessee opened up the Country Inns & Suites Invitational with a three-set sweep (25-11, 25-22, 25-21) of host Chattanooga on Thursday night in front of a record crowd of 1,532 at Maclellan Gym.
SeniorEllen Mullins scooped up 28 digs, setting a Tennessee program record for most digs in three sets during the 25-point rally scoring era. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week, Mullins has recorded 20 or more digs in every match this season. Chloe Goldman previously held the record with 25 digs against Arkansas in 2008.
"We've been talking about Ellen Mullins from the beginning of the season and how important she is to the success of our team," head coach Rob Patrick said. "She has a huge effect on what we do offensively and defensively and she continues to give our team more opportunities to score because of how she performs defensively."
Tennessee was led by freshman Jamie Lea and junior Shealyn Kolosky on the offensive side. Lea tallied 12 kills, the only player in the match to record 10 or more kills. Kolosky hit at a .421 clip, a game-best and team-best on the night.
Sophomore Lexi Dempsey recorded her second double-double as she dished out 33 helpers with 10 digs.
The Lady Vols got off to a fast start in the opening set, jumping out to a 10-3 lead before the Mocs took a timeout. UT continued playing low-error volleyball as team hit .379, the best mark for the Orange & White this season in a set. Lea led UT hitting .667 with four kills on six attempts. Senior Whitney Heeres also recorded four kills, hitting at a .429 mark during the set. Tennessee took the first set 25-11, holding the Mocs to the school's seventh lowest set score of the rally scoring era.
UT held down the lead most of the second set by as many as five points before the Mocs made a late-run tying it up 20-20. The Big Orange battled back and edged out Chattanooga 25-22. The Lady Vols hit .225 compared to the Mocs' .060 in the second set.
Coming out of the break for the third set, the Lady Vols powered to a 10-4 lead. Chattanooga climbed back, tying it three times before the two teams were knotted at 16-16. UT then responded with a six-point streak and eventually took the match-set 25-21.
Under Rob Patrick, Tennessee is now 21-1 against in-state rivals. It was the first match against another Tennessee opponent in two years.
UT returns to action in the Country Inns & Suites Invitational at 12:30 p.m. Friday taking on UNC Asheville.