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Kristen Andre had 10 kills on the night.

Kristen Andre had 10 kills on the night.

Oct. 17, 2003

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The University of Tennessee volleyball team cruised by Southeastern Conference rival Auburn, 3-0 (30-22, 30-18, 31-29), on Friday night at Stokely Athletics Center. With their third straight win, the Lady Vols improve to 15-4 overall this season and 5-2 in the SEC, while the Tigers fall to 9-11 overall (0-8 SEC). UT controlled seemingly all aspects of the match, out-hitting AU .262 to .146, out-digging the Tigers 53 to 46 and out-blocking Auburn 11 to five.

"I though we played well overall tonight," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "Our positioning was consistently good, which allowed us to touch a lot of balls. We made some unforced hitting errors that we shouldn't make, which extended the third game a bit, but overall I though everyone on the floor for us did a pretty good job."

The Orange and White used a balanced offensive attack against Auburn, as sophomore OH Amy Morris and freshman MB Sarah Blum each recorded 11 kills, while sophomore MB Kristen Andre added 10 put-aways of her own. Sophomore setter Julie Knytych, meanwhile, dished out 32 assists to go along with eight digs and four kills. Aggressive serving also played a role in the match, as UT tallied six aces thanks to three from Andre and two from freshman Ann Mullins.

"Our middles have been our go-to hitters, but Auburn was focusing on taking our middles away," Patrick explained. "Because of that, we started spreading the ball to our outside hitters and they did a nice job of getting some kills. Julie Knytych moved the ball around well to the right people, keeping Auburn off-balance throughout the match. She has been running the offense very well and continued to do so today."



Defensively, Morris, junior Whitney Gifford and freshman Cynthia Buggs registered 11 digs apiece, while Mullins added nine digs of her own. Blum, who entered the match ranked fourth in the SEC with 1.36 blocks per game, continued her dominant front-line play with eight denials for the third match in a row. The freshman from Tulsa, Okla., has now been the Lady Vols' leading blocker in 14 of 19 matches this season.

"Even though we registered 11 blocks, our blocking was not in sync the entire match," Patrick noted. "We were blocking the right people, but technically we weren't doing the right things to finish the block. During a timeout in game two, we made a couple of adjustments and got three blocks in a row, however, Auburn passed the ball really well today and they were able to stretch out our block for much of the match."

With the victory, Tennessee increased its advantage in the all-time series with Auburn to 14-11-1. The Big Orange now have won six consecutive matches against the Tigers, dating back to the 1999 season.

The Lady Vols' weekend of competition will continue at 2 p.m. on Sunday when they take on Alabama. That match is slated to be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast and will air on Tue., Oct. 21 at 10 p.m. Following this week's contests, the Lady Vols hit the road to battle Arkansas on Fri., Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. CT and LSU on Sun., Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. CT.

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