Sept. 17, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - University of Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick became just the second coach in UT volleyball history to reach 200 career wins as the No. 13 Lady Vols defeated Arkansas in four games, 32-30, 30-28, 24-30, 30-24, to earn their first Southeastern Conference victory of the season Sunday afternoon at Stokely Athletics Center.
"This accomplishment is a tribute to every player who has played at Tennessee in the last 10 years," Patrick said. "They deserve all of the credit."
The only other coach to accomplish the feat is Bob Bertucci who compiled a 229-115 (.666) record during his time at Rocky Top from 1979-1986. Since coming to Tennessee in 1997, Patrick now has a career record of 200-97 (.673).
For the fourth-consecutive match, junior outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova posted a double-double, finishing with a match-high 22 kills as well as 12 digs. The Sofia, Bulgaria, native also recorded a season-high 52 attack attempts. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Fautsch had a stellar performance as well, collecting season-highs in kills (19), attack attempts (39) and hitting percentage (.359).
Other statistical standouts for the Big Orange included sophomore setter Chelsea Noble, freshman middle blocker Leah Hinkey and senior libero Annie Sadowski. In addition to her 11 digs and three blocks, Noble recorded a career-high 63 assists, surpassing her previous mark of 62 set at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8. Hinkey recorded team-highs with eight blocks and a .368 hitting percentage (10-3-19). On the defensive side, Sadowski also tallied a team-high mark with 14 digs in the contest.
"We did not play our best match today," Patrick said. "We were a little sluggish and made a lot of unforced errors that we normally do not make. We will have to continue to improve our defense as well. We kept plugging away, however, and made enough plays to be successful in this match."
Both teams came out of the locker room looking for the quick knockout as the two squads combined to hit .441 in the opening frame. The Lady `Backs put down 19 kills in 31 attacks with four errors (.484) while the Lady Vols had 21 kills in 37 attacks with six errors (.405) in the set. With the score tied at nine, a Christina Lawrence kill sparked a four-point Arkansas run that seemed to stagger UT. The Orange and White kept their feet under them, but still found themselves facing three game points, down 26-29, before catching their second wind. The Lady Vols proceeded to fight off each potential game-winner until Sadowski served one of her three aces on the night to tie the frame at 29. A quick kill by senior Sarah Blum two points later disoriented Arkansas who hit an attack into the net to give the Big Orange the first-game victory, 32-30.
The Lady Vols used the same come-from-behind tactic to earn a second-game win, 30-28. Trailing 23-25, UT put together a streak in which it won seven of the next 10 points, capped off by one of Stoyanova's seven kills in the set, to go up two games to none. Arkansas assisted the Tennessee cause with 14 unforced errors.
After the intermission, the roles reversed as the Lady `Backs took advantage of five Tennessee service errors and 10 attack errors to stake claim to the third game, 30-24. The set remained close until Arkansas reeled off eight of nine points to move their lead to five and put it out of reach. Sophomore Mindy Flynn tallied half of her six total kills and did not have an error in six swings to lead the team with a .500 hitting percentage in the frame.
UT was not going to allow a repeat performance of Friday night and quickly shut down Arkansas, 30-24 to end the match and earn its first SEC win of the season. Fautsch and Stoyanova combined for 14 kills and a .393 hitting percentage with eight and six putaways, respectively. Sadowski paced the team's defensive effort with eight digs, while Hinkey blocked four Arkansas attacks, including a sharp putback with Noble of an Amy Allison blast to end the match.
The Lady Vols will conclude the non-conference portion of their regular-season schedule when Louisville heads to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. contest Tuesday night at Stokely Athletics Center.