Amy Morris led Tennessee with 17 kills and 14 digs.
Oct. 19, 2003
KNOXVILLE - Sophomore Amy Morris registered 17 kills and 14 digs, powering the University of Tennessee volleyball team by the University of Alabama, 3-1 (26-30, 30-24, 30-21, 30-24), on Sunday afternoon at Stokely Athletics Center. With their fourth win in a row, the Lady Vols improve to 16-4 overall this season and 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Crimson Tide fall to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the SEC.
"Amy Morris was definitely one of the keys to our victory today," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "She has been performing very well in practice, so I was happy to see her play this well in a match. Alabama was blocking our middles, which have been the strongest part of our game, very well today. Amy provided a nice offensive punch by allowing us to spread the ball around to our outside hitters to get some kills."
Morris' match-leading 17 kills came on a .419 hitting percentage, helping UT out-hit Alabama .305 to .121. Also providing offensive punch for the Big Orange, sophomore Kristen Andre and freshman Sarah Blum tallied 10 kills each. Sophomore setter Julie Knytych divvied out 48 assists to go along with five kills and nine digs, while freshman libero Cynthia Buggs added 13 digs of her own. Tennessee's blocking, led by eight send-backs from Andre and four denials each from Blum and Knytych, also frequently stifled the UA hitters.
After dropping the first game by a 30-26 count, Tennessee came roaring back to win games two, three and four. Although UT hit at a .345 clip in game one, `Bama bettered that with a .429 rate, as UT was only able to record six digs. From that point on, the Lady Vol defense stepped up to hold the Crimson Tide to hitting percentages of .077, -.029 and .045 in games three, four and five, respectively. During that same period, UT posted hitting rates of .265, .353 and .265 in games two, three and four.
"I was frustrated with how we performed in the first game," Patrick explained. "After that game, we re-emphasized what we wanted to do defensively and went back to our game plan, which made us much more effective. After game one, we looked at the fact that we had only six digs and talked about how we needed to execute our game plan. From that point on, we got back to what we needed to do and held their hitting percentage below .100 for the rest of the match. Overall, I was happy with how we played in the final three games."
The Tennessee-Alabama match on Sunday was filmed by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) and is scheduled to air on Tue., Oct. 21 at 10 p.m. CSS can be found on cable channel 33 in Knoxville.
With the victory, the Orange and White now hold a 21-6 advantage in the all-time series against `Bama. Tennessee has also won nine of the last 10 meetings, a stretch that dates back to the 1996 season.
In their next match, the Lady Vols will face a tough challenge on the road from Arkansas on Fri., Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. CT, as the Lady Razorbacks are currently 9-0 in the SEC and riding an 11 match win streak. Following that contest, UT heads south to Baton Rouge, where it will face LSU (9-12 overall, 4-5 SEC) on Sun., Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. CT.