Amy Morris led Tennessee with a match-high 15 kills and 14 digs.
Nov. 16, 2003
Sophomore Amy Morris tallied a match-high 15 kills and 14 digs, powering the University of Tennessee volleyball team by the Ole Miss Lady Rebels, 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-20), on Sunday afternoon. Tennessee controlled all major aspects of the match, out-hitting Mississippi .275 to .141, out-digging UM 52 to 43 and out-blocking the Lady Rebels 13 to nine.
With the win, the Lady Vols improve to 20-8 this season and 10-6 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Lady Rebels fall to 7-24 and 5-11 in the SEC. The Orange and White have now won 20 or more matches three out of the last four years, including two seasons in a row. The last time UT teams posted back-to-back 20-win season was in 1983 and 1984. Tennessee's 10 SEC wins is also a program high, bettering the league mark of 9-5 achieved by UT in 2000.
Tennessee controlled game one from open to close, out-hitting Ole Miss .279 to .136 with seven kills from Piantadosi en route to claiming a 30-23 victory. Game two was much closer until, with the score tied at 21, the Lady Vols went on a four-point run to take the lead for good and eventually post a 30-25 win. UT clinched the match with a convincing 30-20 game three triumph, in which the Lady Vols out-hit the Lady Rebels .214 to .051.
"I thought this was one of our best all-around matches of the season," Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "I was pleased with our consistency in all phases of the game: serving, hitting, passing and controlling the ball with our digs. The entire team played very aggressive defense today.
"One item we have been working on lately is serving aggressively," Patrick continued. "We did a great job keeping Mississippi off-balance with our consistently tough serves."
In addition to Morris' explosive performance, UT's offense was powered by junior Michelle Piantadosi's 13 kills, followed by 11 kills from sophomore Kristen Andre, six from freshman Sarah Blum and four from junior Whitney Gifford. Blum led the Lady Vols' front line with seven blocks, followed by six from Andre and five from Gifford, while freshman Ann Mullins provided nine digs. Sophomore setter Julie Knytych, meanwhile, handed out 41 assists to go along with eight digs, four blocks and two kills.
With her 14 digs on the day, Morris now has a total of 347 digs this year, marking the ninth best single-season total in UT history. Blum's seven blocks move her into seventh place in the Lady Vol record books for blocks in a season, with a total of 136. Knytych now boasts a total of 1,274 assists this year, which stands as the seventh best seasonal total in program history. Additionally, Knytych owns the ninth best single-season assists total in school history with her 1,244 helpers in 2002.
Tennessee must now prepare for the SEC Tournament in Columbia, S.C., over Nov. 21-23. The Lady Vols will then have one final regular-season match at Winthrop on Nov. 28, before finding out if they receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA First Round matches will take place at various campus sites, beginning on Dec. 4.