KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Volunteers stunned No. 23 Kentucky 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17) in the home finale Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols (17-13, 7-10) spoiled Kentucky's bid for an SEC title. The Wildcats (22-7, 15-3) fell into third place behind Florida and Missouri.
Tennessee concludes the season at No. 22 Missouri on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
"I was really proud of the team and the energy and fight they showed," Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. "Kentucky is obviously a great team all around. My hat's off to my team and how they went after Kentucky. They were aggressive all match, offensively and defensively."
Sophomore middle hitter Erica Treiber, who led long Tennessee runs with her serving over the last three sets, finished with eight kills (.533 hitting percentage), three aces, five blocks and three digs.
Kentucky jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the first set. Despite a 7-3 run by the Vols in the middle of the set, the Wildcats closed out strong and won, 25-18. Senior Nora Reed led UT's offensive attack, landing three kills on four attacks.
Tennessee responded with a strong second set, edging out Kentucky, 25-19. Junior Kendra Turner recorded four of UT's last five kills in the set. As a team, the Vols had a .483 hitting percentage.
Kentucky went up early in the third set, 7-4, but UT caught fire and went on a 14-2 run in the set. Despite a late comeback by the Wildcats, an ace by junior Kanisha Jimenez sealed the set for Tennessee, 25-17.
The final set was back and forth between the two teams, but an 11-2 run by the Volunteers -- largely behind Treiber's serve -- propelled Tennessee over the 23rd-ranked Wildcats, 25-17, in the fourth set.
The Vols capitalized on their first match point with Jimenez hitting off Kentucky's block and out of play. The team stormed the court after the victory, the Vols' first win against a ranked opponent this year.
- Tennessee starters: Nora Reed, Raina Hembry, Bri Holmes, Kanisha Jimenez, Claudia Coco, Sedona Hansen and Brooke Schumacher at libero. It was Reed's first start of the season on her senior night.
- The Vols had entered the match 0-2 against ranked teams, having lost to No. 5 Florida (Oct. 2) and No. 25 Kentucky (Oct. 9).
- Tennessee snapped a seven-match losing streak against Kentucky. The last win was 3-1 exactly five years ago on Nov. 23, 2011. That victory sealed UT's SEC title.
- The win marked the Vols' first victory of the season after losing the first set.