Kristen Andre recored 20 kills on the day.
Sept. 17, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
The 22nd-ranked Lady Volunteer volleyball team rebounded from a 35-33 second-game loss to topple Western Michigan, 30-19, 33-35, 30-25, 30-15, this afternoon at the Michigan/Nike Invitational. Tennessee was led by junior middle blocker Kristen Andre's (Kelseyville, Calif. / Kelseyville H.S.) 20 kills, one off her career high, and season-high .559 hitting percentage. Andre is hitting .447 on the season.
Also strong for the Lady Vols was freshman outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova (Sofia, Bulgaria / 81 SOU Victor Hugo H.S.), who hit .355 with 16 kills and a season-high 10 digs. Junior setter Julie Knytych (LaGrange Park, Ill. / Lyons Township H.S.) hit .429 (7-1-14) to go with 56 assists, her second-highest total of the season. Senior outside hitter Michelle Piantadosi (Boca Raton, Fla. / Olympic Heights H.S.) contributed 12 kills to the Lady Vol attack.
Defensively, five players recorded double figures in digs: sophomore libero Annie Sadowski (Wheaton, Ill. / Wheaton-Warrenville H.S.) tied her career high in digs with 15, while junior outside hitter Amy Morris (Michigan City, Ind. / Penn State) also had 15 digs to go with her eight kills. Those with 10 digs included Stoyanova, Knytych and senior outside hitter Whitney Gifford (York, Pa. / Dallastown H.S.).
Sophomore middle blocker Sarah Blum (Tulsa, Okla. / Bishop Kelley H.S.) continued her strong play at the net, recording six blocks. Blum had tied the school record of 14 last Saturday in a 3-1 victory versus then-No. 24 Purdue.
Game one saw UT pull away from a 4-4 deadlock with a six-point run, helped by three Bronco attack errors and two kills from Piantadosi and one from Knytych. Even though WMU pulled to within three three times at 12-9, 13-10 and 14-11, Tennessee then went on a 5-0 run to pull away and came out on top, 30-19.
A 22-14 Lady Vol advantage in game two would not hold up as Western Michigan came roaring back with a 15-5 run, pulling ahead 29-27. Kills by Morris and Piantadosi and a Bronco attack error eliminated two WMU game points and gave UT one of their own at 30-29, but WMU stayed in the game, tying it at 30.
Stoyanova then caught on fire, giving UT 31-30, 32-31 and 33-32 advantages with spectacular kills, but WMU came back every time to tie the game and then scored the final three points to win, 35-33. Tennessee had come within inches of winning the game when, with a 31-30 advantage, a Gifford serve landed just out-of-bounds.
Game two was the second-highest scoring game, since rally scoring into effect in 2001, in Tennessee history. The Lady Vols lost game one of a 3-2 victory over Marquette on Nov. 23, 2001, by a score of 36-34. Last season, UT won a 35-33 result (versus Ole Miss on Sept. 26) and also lost by the same margin (at LSU on Oct. 26).
Western Michigan came out strong in game three, taking a 14-11 lead, but Tennessee went on a 9-4 run for a 20-18 advantage and held the Broncos at bay, 30-25. Game four was never in doubt as UT jumped out to a 10-3 advantage, allowing a point to make it 10-4 and then never let the Broncos that close again, putting away the game and match, 30-15.
The Lady Vols return to action at 5 p.m. tonight to face Virginia Tech (5-4) before returning on Saturday to play the host Wolverines - 8-0 entering tonight's match with Western Michigan (4-5).