Nov. 13, 2011
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 15 University of Tennessee volleyball team concluded the road portion of its regular season schedule in dominating fashion, topping Alabama in straight set, 25-17, 25-14, 25-13, on Sunday afternoon at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"I was really excited about the way we came out and played from the first point on," Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick said. "Overall, I was pleased with the defense, offense and the serving. It was a good win for us."
The Big Orange (24-3, 16-1) hit at a clip of .433, which was the team's second best performance of the season, only behind its .446 effort against South Carolina on Oct. 30. The triumph over the Tide marked the team's ninth straight victory and the program's 800th win.
Sophomore Kelsey Robinson and junior DeeDee Harrison both had 12 kills on the afternoon. Robinson recorded her 19th double-double on the year, as she added a team-best 12 digs, while Harrison hit a career-best .733 by connecting on 12 of her 15 swings, with just one error. Harrison also led the team with five blocks.
Freshman Tiffany Baker had a hitting percentage of .500, as she was successful on five of 10 swings, while not committing an error. Leslie Cikra, a junior, also hit at a high percentage, as she finished with a clip of .400 after converting on five of her 10 swings.
Setter Mary Pollmiller dished out 35 of UT's 41 assists, while also recording six kills, which was a career-best for the freshman. Fellow classmate Shealyn Kolosky tallied seven kills against UA, which was her eighth SEC match this season where she had at least seven kills.
"Mary was able to distribute the ball to the right people and ran our offense really well," Patrick said. "Our outside hitters did a wonderful job of taking great swings and taking what Alabama gave to us, which wasn't a lot."
The defense put forth a fabulous effort, as it held Alabama (11-18, 4-14) to a hitting percentage of .125, including holding the Crimson Tide to .100 or below in both the second and third sets. Behind Robinson, freshman Nikki Brice had nine digs, while Baker added eight and sophomore Ellen Mullins had five.
The Lady Vols made it tough for the UA offense to get its offense going, as the team tallied six serving aces, highlighted by junior Jasmine Brown notching three, which was a career-best.
The Big Orange jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead, as with the score 2-1 in UA's favor, Kolosky, Robinson and Harrison recorded consecutive kills to give Tennessee a two-point advantage. The Tide would catch the Lady Vols, tying the set up at seven, and again at points eight through 12.
Tied at 12 apiece, the Lady notched five straight and six of the ensuing seven to grab a commanding 18-13 lead. During that run, Cikra had a pair of kills, Harrison had a kill, Cikra and Harrison combined for a block and Alabama had two miscues. UA would get to within three, 19-16, but a kill from Baker ignited a 5-0 run.
Brown came in to serve with the score 20-16 and quickly registered an ace, followed by two kills from Robinson and a shot from Kolosky, making the score 24-16. After a UA point, a Robinson kill ended the set, 25-17.
Robinson totaled five kills and hit at a clip of .556, while Harrison had a hitting percentage of .750, as she connected on three of her four swings. As a team, Tennessee outhit Alabama .452-.194, as the Big Orange defense totaled three blocks and 12 digs.
Kills from Baker and Robinson kicked off the second set, as UT raced out to a quick 2-0 lead. Up a point, 3-2, the Orange and White scored three of the next four, as two kills from Harrison and a Pollmiller ace made the score 6-3.
With the lead still at three, 9-6, the Lady Vols took advantage of three consecutive Alabama errors, as Tennessee scored eight straight. After the Tide miscues, Robinson and Pollmiller tallied two kills each, while Brown recorded her second ace, which made the score 17-6. Consecutive kills from Harrison and sophomore Carly Sahagian pushed the Tennessee lead to 12, 22-10.
A pair of kills from Cikra got the Lady Vols to within a point of winning the set, 24-12. The Crimson Tide would score the next two, but Tennessee would prevail, 25-14, after Alabama sent a serve into the net to give the Big Orange a 2-0 match advantage.
The third frame saw Tennessee score four of the first five, as two Pollmiller kills, plus a kill from Robinson and a UA attack error made the score 4-1. Up three at 6-3, Harrison had a hand in UT's next five points, as she had three kills and combined with Robinson and Baker for two blocks, giving Tennessee an 11-4 advantage.
With Tennessee leading by six, 14-8, a solo block and kill from Kolosky, a service ace by Brown, a kill from Baker and a Bama attack error made the score 19-8.
Tennessee finished off the Tide by scoring five of the final seven points of the set and match. Robinson had a pair of aces and a kill to go along with two Harrison kills, which ended the set, 25-13, and the match.
The Big Orange is now home for its final three matches of the season; beginning with Arkansas on Friday evening at 7 p.m. ET.