Sept. 14, 2004
A three-game sweep over Lipscomb, 30-14, 30-18, 30-18, gave the No. 22 University of Tennessee volleyball team a 7-0 mark, the best start for a UT volleyball team since the 1986 squad went 11-0. The Lady Vols have a 21-2 games record so far this year, only dropping the first game of the season against both Villanova and then-No. 24 Purdue last Saturday before rebounding for 3-1 victories.
Junior setter Julie Knytych (LaGrange Park, Ill. / Lyons Township H.S.) tallied 35 assists to advance her career total to 2,983 and into fourth place on the all-time Lady Vol list, surpassing Laurie Caraher (1984-87). Next on the list for Knytych is Wendy Jones (1986-89), who tallied 3,541 in her storied career.
"Julie's really became a better student of the game," Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "She's always been an excellent setter, but now she's making very good decisions in serve receive and in running our transition offense, determining who to set. She's one of the reasons our team hitting percentage is so high (.310 tonight and on the season)."
Senior outside hitter Whitney Gifford (York, Pa. / Dallastown H.S.) tied her career high with a .500 hitting percentage (6-1-10). Against Auburn on Oct. 12, 2001, Gifford also hit at a .500 clip (5-1-8).
Senior outside hitter Michelle Piantadosi (Boca Raton, Fla. / Olympic Heights H.S.) recorded 11 kills and hit .350, while junior outside hitter Amy Morris (Michigan City, Ind. / Penn State) hit .333 with 10 kills and also tied for the team lead in digs with Gifford with eight.
Defensively, the Lady Vols held Lipscomb to a -.054 hitting percentage to stay
in control the entire match. Game one saw UT secure a 10-3 advantage on its
way to a 30-14 victory. Lipscomb stayed close early in game two, tying the
match, 7-7, but the Lady Vols pulled away with a 10-2 run on their way to a
30-18 victory. Tennessee put away the match in game three, grabbing an 11-6
lead and prevailing, 30-18.
"I thought we stayed fairly well focused for two out of the three games, even though we were physically overmatching them," Patrick said. "It would have been very easy to go through the motions once we got into the lead in each game."
The Lady Vols next head to the Michigan/Nike Invitational, facing Western Michigan (4-4) and Virginia Tech (5-3) on Friday at 1 and 5 p.m., respectively, before battling the host Wolverines (7-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Michigan is off to its best start in 21 years and, if it wins its first two matches prior to facing the Lady Vols, will secure its best start in school history. Saturday's match will be broadcast live on the Internet at http://www.wcbn.org/listen.html.