Defense Leads UT to 3-1 Win Over UTM

Sep 7, 2013

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Capitalizing on solid defense and a boost of runs in the last three sets, Tennessee volleyball picked up its third-straight victory over the weekend against UT Martin on Saturday at Maclellan Gym in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Lady Vols won, 3-1 (16-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-17), and improve to 5-1 on the season.

"I was very happy with the way we were able to come back from a slow start," head coach Rob Patrick said. "Our defense really started to pick up in the second set. We had four players in double digits digs led by Ellen Mullins. I was very happy to see that type of production from our back row players."

Freshman Jamie Lea led the team with 17 kills, while freshman Ashley Mariani added 12. Senior Whitney Heeres laid down nine kills and junior Shealyn Kolosky recorded eight, hitting a team-best .350. Kolosky also led the team in blocks, rejecting eight UT Martin balls.

Tallying her third-straight double-double, sophomore Lexi Dempsey dished out 45 assists and scooped up 11 digs on the day. Senior libero Ellen Mullins registered 20 digs, while sophomore Megan Hatcher added 11 and freshman Bridgette Villano scooped up 10.

The Skyhawks jumped to an early 5-0 lead over the Lady Vols in the first set. Tennessee gained a late-set surge and took its first lead of the game at 21-20. The two teams battled back and forth with UT Martin eventually winning the first set, 29-27.

After trailing at the beginning of the second set, UT went on a 10-0 run with junior Nikki Brice serving, and charged to a 15-7 lead over the Skyhawks. During that span, the Lady Vols recorded three blocks and three kills, while UT Martin had five miscues. Tennessee claimed the second game, 25-20, tying up the match, 1-1.

"Nikki Brice did a fantastic job of serving today," Patrick said. "She put a lot of pressure on UT Martin and allowed us to score points. You don't see a lot of digs for her in this match, but there were a lot of things she did to put us in a successful position."

UT took advantage of a 6-0 run in the third set to go up 13-8 over the Skyhawks. Two service aces from Mullins after a Mariani kill put Tennessee ahead 18-11 late in the set. The Orange & White claimed a 25-20 set victory.

Tennessee closed out the fourth set on a 10-3 run, winning 25-17, and taking the match, 3-1.

UT is now 5-3 all-time against the Skyhawks, and has won the last four-straight.

Tennessee caps off the Country Inns & Suites Invitational against Charlotte at 6 p.m.





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