Sept. 30, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - University of Tennessee Head Coach Rob Patrick will attempt to become the winningest coach in program history this week, as the Lady Vols (8-5, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) are set to host a pair of contests. UT will welcome Kentucky to Rocky Top for a 7 p.m. showdown on Wed., Oct. 1 in Thompson-Boling Arena before taking on Auburn at the same time two days later.
With a sweep at Georgia last Sunday, Patrick tied Bob Bertucci for the most wins by a Lady Vol head coach, moving his career record to 229-130 (.638). Just two days before that victory, the Big Orange dropped a four-set decision at LSU, giving it a split in its first weekend on the road in SEC play.
Sophomore Nikki Fowler paced UT offensively in both contests with 19 kills against the Tigers and 13 versus the Bulldogs. She also recorded her team-high fourth double-double of the season and 15th of her career with 10 digs against UGA. Defensively, junior Chloe Goldman continued her torrid pace, amassing 37 total digs in two matches, good for an average of 5.29 per set. The Monterey, Calif., native recorded 17 digs against LSU and 20 in just three sets at Georgia.
Tennessee will offer free live video of its showdown with Kentucky on Wednesday night at www.UTLadyVols.com. Roger Hoover will provide play-by-play of the action and, as always, fans can follow along with live stats via GameTracker as well. UT will also live stream video for matches against Louisville (Oct. 8), Arkansas (Oct. 19), Georgia (Oct. 31), LSU (Nov. 2) and Florida (Nov. 14).
On Sunday, the Lady Vols will participate in the Susan G. Komen "Dig for the Cure." Fans can make either a flat donation or donate per dig as UT raises money in support of breast cancer research. Last season, UT averaged just over 17 digs per set in two contests against Auburn. For more information about making a pledge or donation, please visit www.UTLadyVols.com or call (865) 974-1734. Pledge sheets must be submitted by Oct. 1.
Following this week's action, UT will step out of conference play to host Louisville on Wed., Oct. 8 at 7 p.m., before hitting the road to face South Carolina and No. 10 Florida at 7 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 10 and 1:30 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 12, respectively.
Tennessee will take on one of the hottest teams in the nation this Wednesday when it hosts the Kentucky Wildcats. UK has won 10 straight matches, including a 4-0 start in conference play. Kentucky (13-2, 4-0) bested Georgia 3-1 on Friday before sweeping LSU on Sunday. The Wildcats lead the SEC in hitting percentage (.276), kills per game (13.83), and blocks per game (2.73).
UK Head Coach Craig Skinner's team is led by sophomores Sarah Mendoza and Lauren Rapp, who lead the team with 3.25 and 3.04 kills per set, respectively. Junior setter Sarah Rumely, meanwhile, ranks first in the SEC with 10.71 assists per set, including an average of 10.38 in league play.
Queen Nzenwa, a 6-2 senior middle blocker from Baltimore, Md., is attacking at an SEC best .520 clip in league play. Nzenwa also leads the league with an average of 1.54 blocks per game in conference matches.
Kentucky hasn't lost to Tennessee since Nov. 6, 2005, winning the last four matches in the series. The Wildcats have an all-time record of 38-23 against UT including a pair of 3-1 victories a year ago.
Auburn (5-10, 0-4 SEC) has lost its last five matches under first-year head coach Wade Benson. The Tigers dropped a 3-1 decision at in-state rival Alabama last Friday and fell, 3-2, at Mississippi State on Sunday.
Offensively, the Tigers are paced by senior OH Jessica Glover's 3.11 kills per game. Glover, who also ranks second on the squad with an average of 0.46 blocks per set, was solid in last weekend's matches, recording 27 kills and attacking at a clip of .322. As a team, Auburn is only attacking at a percentage of .176, ranking it ninth in the SEC.
Sophomore setter Sarah Shanks leads the team with 8.16 assists per set, while fellow sophomore Liz Crouch averages a team-best 3.24 digs per set.
Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick is 13-3 all-time against the Tigers and Tennessee leads the all-time series between the two squads, 21-12-1. The Big Orange had won 13 straight decisions against Auburn before losing in four sets on the road last season.
LIVE VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR UK MATCH
Starting this Friday, fans not able to attend UT home matches will be able to watch from the comfort of their own home as live video of select matches will be available at www.UTLadyVols.com. Roger Hoover will provide play-by-play of the action and, as always, fans can follow along with live stats via GameTracker as well. UT will also live stream video for matches against Louisville (Oct. 8), Arkansas (Oct. 19), Georgia (Oct. 31), LSU (Nov. 2) and Florida (Nov. 14).
"CHALK TALK" WITH Rob Patrick
Starting with this Wednesday's contest against Kentucky, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick will lead a "Chalk Talk" session prior to every remaining home match. UT volleyball fans are encouraged to attend the event which will be held at the Courtside Club in the Ray Mears Room at Thompson-Boling Arena. Gates to the arena will open one hour before first serve and Patrick's session will begin 45 minutes prior to the start of each match.
LADY VOLS SET TO "DIG FOR THE CURE"
The Lady Vol volleyball team will participate in the Susan G. Komen "Dig for the Cure" on Fri., Oct. 3, when it takes on Auburn at 7 p.m. Fans can make either a flat donation or donate per dig as UT raises money in support of breast cancer research. Last season, UT averaged just over 17 digs per set in two contests against Auburn.
"Dig for the Cure" was established in 2003 in an effort to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research while partnering with volleyball programs across the country. Currently, 156 volleyball programs are involved in this organization and have helped raise over $340,000 for breast cancer research.
For more information about making a pledge or donation, please visit www.UTLadyVols.com or call (865) 974-1734. Pledge sheets must be submitted by Oct. 1.
PATRICK CLOSING IN ON RECORD
With his next victory, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick will become the all-time winningest volleyball coach in Tennessee history. With a 3-0 triumph over Georgia on Sept. 28, he tied Bob Bertucci (1979-86) for the most career wins in UT history with 229.
He became just the second coach in UT volleyball history to record 200 career wins with a 3-1 victory over Arkansas on Sept. 17, 2006.
The Cleveland, Ohio, native has led a resurgence of volleyball on the UT campus since his arrival in 1997. Six of the eight years prior to that season, UT had recorded losing campaigns, while Patrick has earned a winning record in nine of the last 10 years, en route to setting the school mark for consecutive seasons above .500 with nine straight from 1998-2006. He bested the previous mark of seven (1978-84) with his 17th win of the 2006 campaign.
NOBLE INDUCTED INTO ROBERT MORRIS HALL OF FAME
This past Saturday, Lady Vol Assistant Coach Katie Noble returned to her alma mater, Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pa., where she was officially inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.
A member of four straight NEC Tournament championship teams and subsequent appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Noble is the only two-time NEC Player of the Year (2001, 2002) in Robert Morris volleyball history. She held the Colonial career record for kills with 1,418 before it was eclipsed in 2005 and also ranks third in career attack percentage (.280) and block assists (203), fourth in games played (463) and fifth in solo blocks (133).
In 2001, Noble, a native of Mentor, Ohio, and a graduate of Mentor High School, helped lead RMU to a school record 30 victories.
Five of the six members of the 18th class of inductees, including Noble, were enshrined into the Robert Morris Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime of RMU's football game against Monmouth, Saturday, Sept. 27, at Joe Walton Stadium.
FRESHMEN MAKING AN IMPACT
The much heralded UT rookie class is already beginning to make an impact on the court this season with three different freshman having already earned starting nods through the team's first 13 contests.
Mahoney is second on the squad with 238 assists and 4.67 assists per set this season in addition to having collected a team-high 13 aces and 65 digs. In just seven matches, Hilby has accumulated 34 kills and a squad-best 44 blocks, while Jeter has 14 kills, three aces, 22 digs and 11 blocks in 10 contests.
UT HISTORY IN HOME OPENERS
Throughout the years, the University of Tennessee volleyball team has amassed a stellar 26-5 (.839) record in home openers, including a 3-0 triumph over Gardner-Webb this season. During the Rob Patrick era, the Lady Vols have been even better with an 11-1 (.917) mark in his 11 years at the helm. The lone loss during that span was to LSU on Sept. 21, 2001.
UT CLAIMS TITLE AT MARQUETTE KICKOFF TOURNAMENT
The University of Tennessee volleyball team opened its season in style, claiming the Marquette Kickoff Tournament title with three wins in two days on Aug. 29-30.
UT christened the campaign with a three-set sweep over in-state rival Chattanooga, 25-13, 25-14, 25-18, on Aug. 29, before taking out Houston in five sets, 25-12, 25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 15-10, and Marquette in four frames, 25-14, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21, the following day.
Sophomore Nikki Fowler took home tournament Most Valuable Player honors as well as SEC Offensive Player of the Week accolades after knocking out a team-high 41 kills over the course of the weekend, while senior Milan Clarke and juniors Kylie Marshall and Chloe Goldman earned spots on the all-tournament team as well.
FOWLER NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-SEC TEAM
University of Tennessee sophomore outside hitter Nikki Fowler was named to the 2008 preseason All-Southeastern Conference team on Aug. 21. The poll was the first in the history of the conference and featured nine athletes.
Fowler was the only underclassman to make the squad, which also consists of seven seniors and one junior. Each SEC head volleyball coach voted for seven players and no ties were broken. The Eastern Division had five players recognized, while the West had four. LSU led all teams with three selections, and Florida had two.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Fowler became just the second player in UT history to garner a postseason player of the year award during her initial season at Rocky Top, being named 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year. She also earned a spot on the conference's all-freshman team.
The first SEC Freshman of the Year in Tennessee history, Fowler played a critical role in a number of areas for the Lady Vols during her rookie campaign, leading the Big Orange with 370 kills, 1,081 total attacks and 449.0 points and averaging a team high 3.27 kills per game and 3.97 points per game. She also stood second on the squad with 26 aces and 98 blocks, third on the team with 98 assists and 0.87 blocks per game and fourth with 281 digs and 2.49 digs per game.
The only other Lady Vol to claim a postseason player of the year award is Amy Morris, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year following the 2005 season.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Harrison's father, former Vanderbilt star Dennis "Bigfoot" Harrison, spent 10 seasons as a defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons in the NFL. In addition, her brother, David Harrison, is currently a center on the Indiana Pacers roster in the NBA. Her father earned a spot in the NFL Pro Bowl in 1981, while her brother was named to the All-Big XII First Team and earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American honors at Colorado in 2004. In all, Harrison has 11 siblings, including five brothers and six sisters.
Meanwhile, Jeter's father, Gary, was an All-American defensive tackle for Southern California, a top-five draft pick and played in the NFL for 13 seasons with the New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. During the 1985 season with the Rams, he was a teammate of and played on the same defensive line as DeeDee's father, Dennis.
MOVIN' TO AN ARENA...DOWN BY THE RIVER
After spending 10 seasons in Stokely Athletics Center, the Lady Vol volleyball team has made the short move down to the Tennessee River to play in Thompson-Boling Arena for the 2008 campaign.
The Big Orange hopes that it can bring with it the tradition of home-court dominance that it displayed in Stokely, where it amassed an impressive 98-34 (.742) record following a multi-million dollar renovation that was completed prior to the 1998 season. So far so good for the Orange and White which has won four of its first five contests in TBA this season.
Another tradition that UT hopes to continue at Thompson-Boling is that of record-breaking attendance. Tennessee had competed in TBA on two occasions prior to this season, setting the top two home attendance marks in the process, including a crowd of 3,311 that came to see the Orange and White take on Georgia on Oct 28, 2005. In 2008, the volleyball configuration at TBA will provide seating for up to 7,000 Big Orange faithful.
LADY VOL OLYMPIC CONNECTION
While the 2008 Beijing Olympics took place halfway across the globe, there was at least one connection that linked Tennessee volleyball to Olympic gold, as UT Head Coach Rob Patrick is a former coach of two-time beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh.
During the 1996 season, Walsh was a freshman on the NCAA National Champion Stanford team on which Patrick was an assistant coach. That year, Walsh was named National Freshman of the Year and first team All-American after she and Patrick helped lead the Cardinal to a Pac-10 title and a victory over Hawaii in the national championship match.
LADY VOLS ON TV
The University of Tennessee volleyball team will make at least two appearances on television this season. The Lady Vols will first hit the airwaves on Sun., Oct. 12, when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the University of Florida at 1:30 p.m. The match will be shown live on Sun Sports.
UT will also be on television on Sun., Nov. 16 when South Carolina makes the trip to Rocky Top for a 1:30 p.m. contest. That match will be tape delayed and broadcast on FOX Sports Regional Networks at 3:30 p.m. that same day.