Oct. 1, 2006
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - In a battle between two top-25 teams, No. 17 Tennessee (13-3, 4-2 SEC) fell in three games to No. 10 Florida (12-2, 5-1 SEC), 30-22, 30-16, 30-20, Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
"It is hard to be successful in a match against a top-level team like Florida when your serving and passing are very inconsistent," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "We had to rely too much on our outside hitters to carry the offensive load and Florida did a great job defending them.
"We also did not serve as tough as we needed to in order to take Florida out of their offensive system," Patrick said. "That made it very hard to defend their attack as they always had two or three hitter options.
"We will learn a lot from this match and now know what we need to do to be successful against top teams," Patrick said.
Sophomore Mindy Flynn led the squad with seven kills while fellow classmate Chelsea Noble recorded 15 digs for the third time this season. As a team, Florida held UT to season lows in both hitting percentage (.096) and kills (35).
In the opening frame, UT kept the score close early on but was unable to withstand the furious Florida attack, falling 30-22. After a Sarah Blum service ace put the Lady Vols up 7-5, the Gators went on a tear, winning eight of the next 10 points. Tennessee, however, kept on fighting and trimmed the lead to one at 14-13, following a blast down the left-side line from Kelsey Fautsch. Florida would then answer with another scoring spree, claiming nine of the next 11 points, to take a commanding lead from which the Orange and White could not recover. Noble posted game-highs with eight digs and a .667 hitting percentage (2-0-3).
It was all Gators in the second set as they took a two games to none lead over the Lady Vols with a 30-16 victory. Once again, UT could not slow down the Florida offense, which hit .472 in the frame, and the Gator defense held Tennessee in check. The Big Orange was able to record consecutive scores just twice in the frame, while Florida posted four runs of three or more points. Freshman Jena Berg collected four of her six total digs in the frame.
The Gators jumped out to a 12-6 advantage and never looked back as they put the match away with a 30-20 win in game three. Flynn tallied four of her team-high seven kills in the set and had just one error in 10 attempts for a .300 hitting percentage.
The Lady Vols will return home for a pair of SEC matches at Stokely Athletics Center this weekend. First on the slate is South Carolina, who will head to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. showdown on Friday, Oct. 6. A match-up with Georgia will follow at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8.