GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Tennessee Volunteers took the second set but could not close other close sets in a 3-1 loss to fifth-ranked Florida on Sunday at the Lemerand Center.
Freshman outside hitter Tessa Grubbs finished with 17 kills while adding four digs and three blocks to lead the Vols (10-6, 1-3 SEC).
All four sets came down to a close finish, but Florida (13-2, 3-1) won three to clinch the match and rebound from a Wednesday loss to Kentucky.
"I'm very happy with how we competed every point," Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. "I thought the team carried out the game plan as well as we could have. I thought we were playing them point-for-point, but eventually Florida made a play here, a play there, that made the difference in the sets they won."
The Vols tied up the first set 19-19 on a kill by Raina Hembry, but Florida went on a 4-0 run that included back-to-back aces by Carli Snyder. Tennessee saved one set point but Florida eventually took the set 25-21 on a kill by Alex Holston. Both teams hit above .400 in the set with Florida leading with .433.
Tennessee rebounded the in the second set, breaking a 14-14 tie by winning seven of the next nine points. Raina Hembry and Grubbs recorded a block to cap the run and putting Tennessee ahead 21-16. The Vols led the rest of the way, ending the set 25-19 with a 3-0 run.
Grubbs had eight kills in the second set alone to lead the Vols. The Vols hit .378 as a team in the set while Florida dropped to .143.
The third set came down to the wire. Florida scored back to back kills to take a 21-19 lead and stayed ahead the rest of the way. Shainah Joseph had a kill to give the Gators the set 25-22.
Florida led by as many as six points early in the fourth set, but the Vols chipped away at the lead. Back-to-back blocks by Tennessee capped a 3-0 run to tie the set 20-20, but Florida won the last five points to close out the match.
"In the fourth set, we were basically behind five or six points for most of the set but didn't quit," Patrick said. "I was really excited about that."
- Tennessee starters: Raina Hembry, Bri Holmes, Alyssa Andreno, Sedona Hansen, Erica Treiber, Britney Vallez and Brooke Schumacher as libero. It is the second time the lineup has been used this year (Georgia, 9/25).
- Bridgette Villano (Davie, Florida) was back playing in her home state.
- Sunday marked the Vols' first match against a ranked opponent this season. The Vols went 1-2 against top-25 teams last year. This is the only time the Vols and Gators face this season.
- Tessa Grubbs has finished with at least 15 kills six times this season.
- Four Vols had at least 10 kills: Grubbs (17), Holmes (14), Treiber (10) and Hembry (10).
- The Vols have hit above .275 as a team in three of four SEC matches this season.
- The Vols close out their non-conference schedule Wednesday with a road match at Troy, set for a 7 p.m. start.
- Tennessee concludes the week -- and the current four-match stretch of road matches -- with a Sunday contest at Kentucky.