Sept. 9, 2011
BY AMANDA PRUITT
BLACKSBURG, Va. --The Tennessee Lady Volunteers started the Virginia Tech Invitational the best way possible Friday, with a three-set sweep against Seton Hall at Cassell Coliseum.
After cutting down early errors, the Lady Vols started clicking on all phases of the game in the third set en route to a 25-22, 25-17, 25-15 victory over Seton Hall.
The Lady Vols (5-2) picked up steam offensively as each set passed in their second shutout of the season. Their attack percentage rose from .132 in the first set to .312 in the second and finally .371 to close out the match in the third.
Much of the improvement came with simply eliminating mistakes. In the first set, Tennessee had seven attack errors, finishing with just 13 in the match. In the second set, the Lady Vols committed seven of 11 service errors.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot not just in game one, but game two as well," Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. "Any time we wanted to start building momentum, we'd make an error. In the first set, it was hitting errors. In the second set, it was serving errors.
"It made the match harder for us to get things going, but I was happy with our improvement throughout the match. I thought our defense improved as the match went on. We were able to provide ourselves with a lot of opportunities to get some kills in rallies."
Once again, sophomore Kelsey Robinson led the Lady Vols offensively, collecting 11 and hitting .400 in the match.
Freshman Shealyn Kolosky also added her best performance to date, getting a career-best 10 kills while hitting a whopping .769 (10-0-13) from the middle blocker position. Her first six attacks were kills.
"Shealyn's been improving every single weekend," Patrick said. "We just integrated her in our offense a little more and a little more and used her great arm swing to get her the ball.
"In the short period we've played already, she's shown she's not one to make a lot of errors. Our passing was on, you have to give credit to Mary Pollmiller to give Shealyn opportunities to take swings."
Freshman setter Mary Pollmiller had 29 of the team's 37 assists.
Defensively, Tennessee was on point all evening, holding Seton Hall to a .041 attack percentage. Sophomore libero Ellen Mullins led the way with 13 kills, and junior Jasmine Brown had a career-best 10 digs, surpassing her previous high of five.
Seton Hall committed 21 attack errors in the match, compared to Tennessee's 13.
"One of the things we really needed to work on that was exposed the first couple of weekends, was that there are some teams that just played better defense than us," Patrick said. "With our athleticism, we saw that was an area of improvement. That's something that we really worked on this week and spent time on in practice, and that's something we need to work on as the season goes along."
Tennessee led 18-11 to start the first set, but Seton Hall jumped on a 7-0 run to tie the match 18-18 and again at 20-20 before Robinson put the Lady Vols ahead for good with kill off a pass from Pollmiller.
The second set was the closest of the three early on, featuring eight ties and four lead changes. Kolosky got a kill to break a 9-9 tie, and despite the seven service errors, Tennessee led the rest of the way to take the frame 25-17.
Patrick called a timeout at 2-2 to start the third set, and Tennessee never slowed down from there. Kolosky got a kill and then served three consecutive points as the Lady Vols jumped ahead 6-2. Mullins later served during a 7-0 run that put Tennessee up 15-5.
Tennessee returns to Cassell Coliseum for a pair of matches tomorrow, playing American at 10:30 a.m. and host Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. A live blog will be available at UTLadyVols.com for both matches.