UT sophomore Kayla Jeter
Oct. 30, 2009
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
OXFORD, Miss. - Despite a slow start, the University of Tennessee volleyball team (16-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) was able to bounce back to notch a tough, four-set victory over Ole Miss (8-15, 2-11), 20-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, Friday evening at the Gillom Sports Complex in Oxford, Miss. Sophomore Kayla Jeter recorded her second highest kill output of the season with a match-high 17 putaways, all but one of which came in the final three frames.
"Winning on the road in the SEC is always something to be proud of," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "Mississippi is a very hard place to get comfortable because the fans are right on top of our players and there isn't much room to maneuver around the court. Although we started off the match unorganized, we were able to right the ship between the first and second sets and were able to sustain some runs that carried us through the match.
"Our serving really came alive after the first set and allowed us to defend Ole Miss a little more easily," Patrick said. "Kayla Jeter came up big for us today, as we really had to look for her to get kills in both serve receive and transition. She continues to play at an extremely high level with very few errors."
Jeter finished with a stellar .342 hitting percentage, recording just four errors on 38 swings. She also added a pair of digs and two blocks in the victory. After not reaching double-digits in kills in the first 26 matches of her collegiate career, the Solon, Ohio, product has now accomplished the feat in 10 of the last 15 contests.
In addition to Jeter's offensive outburst, junior Nikki Fowler notched her sixth consecutive double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. Freshman Natalie Guerra paced the UT attack with a career-high 25 assists and five digs in the most extensive action of her career. Senior Chloe Goldman led the squad defensively with 15 digs, while junior Leah Hinkey topped the team's blocking effort with four putbacks.
The opening frame didn't go quite as planned for the Orange and White, as Ole Miss rolled to a 25-20 triumph, hitting at a sizzling .444 clip (16-4-27). Although senior Farren Powe gave the Lady Vols an 11-10 advantage with a kill that landed wide off the block, it would be their last lead of the frame as the Rebels rattled off five of the next six scores to go up 15-12.
UT would take advantage of three consecutive Ole Miss miscues to knot things up at 15-all, but UM responded by winning five of the next seven points to go back up by three at 20-17. Once again, the Big Orange made a push to move within one on a blast by Fowler down the right-side line and an attack error by Miranda Kitts. That would be as close as it would get though, with Ole Miss closing out the set on a 5-1 run.
Tennessee rebounded nicely in the second frame behind the strength of four kills by Jeter to tie the match at one-set each with a 25-21 victory. It was a battle of runs early with Ole Miss using a pair of 3-0 sprees to UT's one, to jump ahead, 9-7. The Orange and White took control at that point, however, going on an 8-2 tear to effectively put the set out of reach.
The Rebels helped the Lady Vols out a bit with four unforced errors, sandwiched around a Fowler ace, to move the score to 12-9 in UT's favor and force Ole Miss Head Coach Joe Getzin to burn his first timeout. Although the tactic netted his squad a pair of points, an attack by Caitlin Weiss landed long to give the ball back to Tennessee. An ace by Guerra and a block by Jeter and Powe later, the Orange and White found itself leading by four at 15-11.
The Big Orange would continue to fend off the Rebels until back-to-back kills by freshman Leslie Cikra and Jeter and a block by senior Kylie Marshall and Powe gave it six chances at set-point. Ole Miss was not done fighting though, tallying three straight scores before Jeter finally closed things out with a shot down the left-side line.
Tennessee continued to roll in the third frame, adding an identical 25-21 triumph to go ahead two sets to one. Jeter led the way with seven more kills, while Powe tallied four hammers on as many swings and Marshall collected seven digs.
After falling behind early, 9-5, an absolutely sinister kill by Powe down the center of the court sparked a 5-0 UT comeback. Following Powe's blast and a Rebel attack error, Jeter added a laser of her own that pinballed off two defenders into the stands. She picked up another putaway on a hammer down the line on the next play before Powe finished what she started by pushing the ball around the Ole Miss block for a kill. The Rebels never really threatened the rest of the way as the Lady Vols cruised to the win.
The Big Orange was able to carry over the momentum into the fourth and final frame, taking a quick 6-1 advantage behind two kills by Jeter and one each from Fowler and Marshall. Ole Miss rallied back to within one with a trio of scores, but Fowler halted its run with a cross-court shot from the right side.
Although it never really struck a knockout blow, UT methodically put away the Rebels slowly inching ahead further and further until it found itself with a 23-18 lead after Goldman notched her fourth kill of the season when she ended a long rally by pushing one over the net that caught the tape and fell between a pair of Ole Miss defenders. Following kills by Regina Thomas and Courtney Cunningham and a Rebel block, Fowler decided she had seen enough and put an end to the match with back-to-back kills to give the Orange and White a 25-19 victory.
Tennessee will continue its current road trip with a match against Arkansas at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville at 1:30 p.m. CT Sunday afternoon. Upon the completion of this weekend's action, the Orange and White will return home for contests against Mississippi State and Alabama. UT will first take on the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, before welcoming the Crimson Tide to Rocky Top for a 1:30 p.m. showdown on Sunday, Nov. 8. Both matches will take place at Thompson-Boling Arena with live video and stats available at www.UTLadyVols.com.