Sept. 29, 2009
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball team (8-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) will step out of league play to close out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 7 p.m. showdown against Louisville at Cardinal Arena on Wednesday.
Playing at home for the first time in nearly a month this past weekend, the Big Orange took full advantage of the opportunity to play in front of its hometown fans, sweeping a pair of SEC opponents. The Lady Volunteers opened up the weekend with an impressive, 25-19, 25-20, 26-24, triumph over Arkansas on Sunday, giving UT Head Coach Rob Patrick the 250th victory of his career.
The Big Orange posted one of its best offensive performances of the season, hitting at an impressive .352 clip as a team. That mark is good for the squad's second-highest attack percentage of the year, trailing just the .380 standard it set against Tennessee Tech in its season opener.
Leading the way was junior Nikki Fowler who finished with a match-high 13 kills and a solid .385 hitting percentage. The Dallas, Texas, native also added nine digs and a pair of blocks in the victory.
Just two days later, Tennessee made a good impression in its first television appearance of the season, taking out Ole Miss, 25-12, 27-25, 25-20. With the match televised live on ESPNU and the fourth-largest crowd in school history in attendance, Fowler finished off a stellar weekend of play with the 20th double-double of her career, as she tallied match highs in both kills and digs with 14 and 15, respectively.
She also hit .333 with just four errors in a team-high 30 swings and added five blocks to round out a solid all-around performance. Also posting terrific offensive performances were senior Farren Powe, junior Leah Hinkey and sophomore Kayla Jeter, as each player tallied seven kills, while hitting at least .400 for the contest.
For her efforts, Fowler picked up her fourth career SEC Player of the Week award and second Lady Vol Athlete of the Week honor of the season. She now leads Tennessee with 140 kills, 417 attacks and 174.0 points this season, ranks second in both total aces (11) and digs (136) and is third with 44 blocks. With a career total of 937 kills, Fowler needs just 63 more to become UT's 17th entry into the 1,000 kills club.
The Orange and White will finish off its three-match road trip this weekend with matches against South Carolina and No. 5 Florida. The Lady Vols will square off with the Gamecocks at 6 p.m. in Columbia on Friday before traveling to Gainesville for a 1:30 p.m. matchup against the Gators on Sunday.