Sept. 18, 2004
ANN ARBOR, Mich.
The No. 22 University of Tennessee Lady Vols (9-1) fell to Michigan (9-1), 30-27, 19-30, 30-23, 30-20, in the final match at the Michigan/Nike Invitational on Saturday night, ending UT's 10-match winning streak, including the final match of 2003. The streak was UT's longest since an 11-match stretch in 1986. Michigan, Western Michigan and Tennessee each went 2-1 at the tournament with the Wolverines earning the championship and Tennessee placed second.
Lady Vols named to the all-tournament team were freshman outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova (Sofia, Bulgaria / 81 SOU Victor Hugo H.S.) and a pair of juniors: setter Julie Knytych (LaGrange Park, Ill. / Lyons Township H.S.) and middle blocker Kristen Andre (Kelseyville, Calif. / Kelseyville H.S.). For the three-match tournament, Stoyanova had 3.7 kills/game, Knytych recorded 12.91 assists/game and Andre hit .385 (39-9-78).
The intense crowd saw a match filled with long rallies and numerous impressive digs on both sides of the net as the Big Orange recorded a season-high 80 digs, while Michigan contributed 76 of their own. Sophomore libero Annie Sadowski (Wheaton, Ill. / Wheaton-Warrenville H.S.) had 21, the most by a Lady Vol this season and a career high for Sadowski. Three others recorded double figures in digs: senior outside hitter Whitney Gifford (York, Pa. / Dallastown H.S.) with 13, Knytych added 12 and junior outside hitter Amy Morris (Michigan City, Ind. / Penn State) had 10. Tennessee held the Wolverines to a .225 hitting percentage for the match, but Michigan kept UT to a .123 clip, its lowest mark of the season, as the Lady Vols entered the match with a season hitting average of .299.
Tennessee was led by Morris' 15 kills. Andre had 14 putaways to go with six blocks, while Stoyanova added 11 kills. Knytych compiled 47 assists.
Even though the Lady Vols held Michigan to a .127 hitting percentage in game one, the Wolverines shut down the vaunted Lady Vol attack, holding UT to a .053 hitting percentage in the 30-27 Wolverine victory. UT got off to a fast start in the game, grabbing a 4-0 advantage, but Michigan came right back to tie the game, 4-4. With UT holding a 25-19 lead, Michigan then ran off an 8-0 run to grab a 27-25 lead and put the game away three points later.
Tennessee came out on fire in game two, taking 5-0 and 12-4 leads, but Michigan would not die, coming to within five, 22-17. An 8-2 UT run finished off the game, 30-19, tying the match at one. Tennessee held the Wolverines to a -.024 hitting percentage for the game.
Michigan had control of game three the entire way, prevailing, 30-23, the fewest points scored by UT so far this season, out-hitting the Lady Vols, .357-.149. The Wolverines took a 26-17 advantage in game four and claimed the game, 30-20, by out-hitting UT, .475-.171, and completed the match victory.
"Michigan played a very strong game and committed few errors," Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "We were not able to step up to the challenge and were unorganized on defense and didn't play consistently. We played hard but committed too many unforced hitting errors. We'll see how well we can come back when we play Louisville."
Tennessee now returns home to play host to the No. 17 Cardinals (8-1) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday before opening Southeastern Conference play next weekend, as Ole Miss visits Stokely Athletics Center at 7 p.m. on Friday and Mississippi State faces the Lady Vols at 2 p.m. on Sept. 26.