Sept. 27, 2002
BATON ROUGE, La.
The University of Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team fell to 10-3 Friday night, dropping its SEC opener 3-0 (30-19, 31-29, 30-21) to the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, La. LSU improved to 8-4 with the win and 1-1 in the conference. The match was televised by SEC-TV and will air on FOX Sports Net South on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 3:30 p.m.
The Lady Vols fell behind early in the first frame, with LSU taking a substantial 11-3 lead. UT made a push to close the gap to 16-12 when senior outside hitter Kelli Scott recorded one of her five kills on the night, but the Tigers' 20 kills and .381 hitting percentage in game one was too much for the Orange and White to overcome as UT fell 30-19. Senior outside hitter Janelle Hester led Tennessee's offensive efforts in the first game with five kills on six attacks. LSU has now won the opening match in all 12 of its contests this year.
Tennessee turned things around in the second frame when they raced out to a 6-0 advantage, five of which came behind sophomore right side hitter Whitney Gifford's serve. The Tigers, however, fought back and closed the gap to two, 16-14, but the Lady Vols responded with three straight, capped by a service ace courtesy of freshman middle blocker Kristen Andre. LSU mounted another comeback and eventually took their first lead, 26-25.
After dropping the next two points, the Lady Vols made a surge of their own, claiming four straight points behind the serving of Andre. UT, however, was unable to close out the game when LSU sophomore outside hitter Kyra Lancon recorded one of her six kills for the frame to knot the game at 29-29. Pushed beyond the 30-point barrier for the first time this year, Tennessee lost the next two to fall in game three, 31-29.
The third frame was reminiscent of the first, as the Lady Vols fell behind 11-4 after the first 15 points. UT made a surge when the LSU advantage was cut to four, 22-18, with a kill by Hester, but the Tigers were unfazed. The Bayou Bengals took eight of the next 11 to close out the match, 30-21.
Big Orange freshman setter Julie Knytych turned in some impressive numbers on the night with seven kills and no errors on 12 attempts, 27 assists and 13 digs. The double-double was the LaGrange Park, Ill., native's team-leading sixth on the year.
As a team, the Lady Vols hit at a .142 clip, their second-lowest of the 2002 campaign. The Tigers hit at .349, while their 54 digs was six more than Tennessee.
The Lady Vols will head to Fayetteville, Ark., for their next SEC matchup when they take on the Lady'Backs of Arkansas on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 1:30 p.m. CT.