Sept. 30, 2001
The University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer volleyball team dropped a hard fought 3-0 match on Sunday against the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Florida overcame Tennessee by the scores of 30-24, 31-29, 30-21.
Head coach Rob Patrick got strong performances out of junior outside hitter Janelle Hester and senior setter Erica Lear. Hester slammed down a match-high 16 kills and added six digs, while Lear recorded 38 assists in the match. Sophomore Alex Compeau anchored the Lady Vols' defense, digging the ball 10 times and freshman Whitney Gifford posted another strong all-around effort as she added seven kills, seven digs and three blocks to the losing effort.
In the opening game, the lead volleyed back and forth with no team taking a more than two point lead until Florida went up 24-27. UT could not stop the Gator attack and UF went up 1-0 in the match.
Game two brought more of the same as UT spent most of the tilt up by two points. Patrick's squad, however could not build on that lead and Florida pulled even at 23-23. The teams traded serves and points until Florida stepped up to serve with a game-point at 29-27. However, Tennessee held off the Gator rush and evened the score at 29-29 on its next serve, but could not sustain the momentum. The Gators capitalized on their next to serves including a service ace by Aury Cruz to seal the second stanza.
Florida sprang out to a five-point lead early in game three, but UT crawled back to tie the game at 14 apiece. Florida responded once again, surging ahead, 16-21. Then, with Cruz serving, UF went on a six-point run to increase its lead to nine points. Tennessee would hold off three match-points before a Gifford service error would seal the match for the Lady Vols.
Patrick's squad drops to 5-6 overall and 1-3 in the SEC, while Florida improves to 7-1 overall, 3-0 in the SEC.
Up next, Tennessee will pay a visit to Appalachian State on Tuesday at 7 p.m., before returning to the Stokely Athletics Center and SEC play with a match against No. 18 South Carolina on Sunday. Tennessee is 4-1 against Appalachian State, the team took a 3-0 match from the Mountaineers last season.