Nov. 2, 2011
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The No. 16 University of Tennessee volleyball team took a break from conference action on Wednesday evening, but the end result remained the same, as it swept the Cardinals in straight sets, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19, at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville, Ky.
Tennessee (21-3, 13-1) found all of its offensive output in six players, all of whom who hit .286 or better against U of L, as juniors DeeDee Harrison and Leslie Cikra, sophomore Kelsey Robinson and freshmen Tiffany Baker, Shelayn Kolosky and Mary Pollmiller accounted for every one of UT's 52 kills.
"I was really pleased with the effort we gave today," Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick said. "I thought we grinded it out. It wasn't a pretty match on our side of the net, as we were just a little bit off-balance. To come in here and play a very, very good and well coach Louisville team, we had to really bring our "A" game to the match. I couldn't be more proud of the players."
Robinson hit a team best .452 on the night, connecting on 17 kills on 31 attacks. Harrison also eclipsed the .400 mark, as she at a clip of .429 and tallied eight kills. Also recording double digits in kills was Baker, as she blasted 11 and hit .308.
"A lot of times you see that your outside hitters get a lot of swings because of inconsistent passing and that is the only player you can get the ball to," Patrick said. "This match, we actually wanted to set Tiffany and Kelsey. Part of that was because of the very consistent passing. Ellen Mullins, Nikki Brice, Jasmine Brown and Kelsey Robinson did a fantastic job of getting the ball in Mary's hands. She was able to distribute it to the right people at the right time and it just so happened that our outside hitters were the recipients of having some split blocks and some great sets by Mary. They did a wonderful job of getting kills for us throughout the match."
Kolosky connected on seven of her 14 swings, while only two errors to hit .357 against the Cardinal defense. Cikra had a hitting percentage of .286 and tallied six kills.
In addition to hitting .375 versus the Cardinals and registering three kills, Pollmiller dished out 42 helpers to lead the team. Mullins, a sophomore, had five assists of her own and recorded a team-best 13 digs. Freshman Nikki Brice tied for second on the team in digs, as she and Pollmiller each had eight.
The first set saw offensive firepower from both squads, as the Big Orange outhit Louisville, .455-.400. The opening frame went back-and-forth, as it featured 21 ties and 10 lead changes. The only run of three or greater came after a Robinson kill gave UT an early 1-0 advantage, as the Cardinals would score the next three to take a 3-1 lead.
Tennessee would regain the lead 5-4 off a Baker kill, but the match would be tied at points six through 15. A serving error by the Cardinals and a block by Harrison and Robinson propelled the Big Orange into a two point lead, 17-15. Louisville responded, scoring two straight to tie the match at 17, as the teams traded the ensuing four points to knot the set up at 19.
U of L regained the lead at 20-19, but kills from Baker and Cikra vaulted UT into a 21-20 lead. The squads would go point-for-point with one another, all the way up until the set was tied at 23 all. A Robinson blast got Tennessee within one, 24-23, and an ace by senior Kelsey Mahoney ended the set, 25-23.
In the second set, the Lady Vols and Cardinals traded the first five points, as U of L took a 3-2 advantage. Tennessee would follow by scoring four straight to take a 6-3 lead, as Baker had a kill, Brice registered an ace and the Cardinals committed two errors. Louisville came right back with a 3-0 rally of its own, evening the set up at six apiece.
UT and Louisville were even at points seven through 11, before U of L took a 13-11 advantage. A kill by Kolosky and a Cardinal attack error knotted the match back up at 13. Down a point, 14-13, UT rattled off three straight off of kills from Baker and Robinson and a U of L miscue to take a 16-14 lead. The Cardinals quickly regained the lead, going on a 3-0 run of their own, making the score 17-16.
Even at 18-18, the Orange and White closed out the match by scoring seven of the final 10 points to earn the set victory, 25-21. Tennessee took the lead, 21-18, after the Lady Vols scored three straight off of a pair of Robinson kills and a U of L attack error. Up 23-21, Cikra blasted a kill to get UT within a point, and Kolosky and Baker ended the set, 25-21, by sending a Cardinal attack back.
The third and what proved to be final set was controlled by the Big Orange from start to finish. Down a point, 2-1, kill s from Robinson and Cikra, plus a Louisville attack error gave UT a 4-2 advantage. The Lady Vols would not relinquish that lead, aided by a 4-0 run that started with the score at 5-4. In that span, Baker, Kolosky and Robinson all tallied kills, while Louisville had an attack error.
Tennessee led by as many as seven on four occasions, 15-8, 18-11, 19-12 and 20-13. Down the stretch, back-to-back kills from Robinson made the score 22-16. Another Robinson kill gave UT a 24-18 advantage, and a shot off the arm of Cikra ended the set, 25-19, and the match.
In the last set, the Orange and White had 22 kills. UT's last 18 points all came by way of UT kills, as the team hit .439 and Robinson had 10 blasts in the third frame alone.
The Lady Vols next match will be on Sunday, as the team hosts Mississippi State at 1:30 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena.