Oct. 13, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball team (10-8, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) will attempt to get back to its winning ways Tuesday night when it makes the short drive to Johnson City, Tenn., to take on East Tennessee State at Brooks Gymnasium a 7 p.m. Live video of the match will be available at www.ASun.tv.
The Lady Vols hit a bit of a rough stretch last week, dropping two of its three matches. Following a solid, 3-1, victory over Louisville at home last Wednesday, the Big Orange suffered a pair of three-set conference road losses this past weekend, falling to South Carolina on Friday and No. 9-ranked Florida on Sunday.
In the triumph over the Cardinals, the Orange and White got double-digit kill totals from both sophomore Nikki Fowler and senior Milan Clarke who pounded out 21 and 12 putaways, respectively. Defensively, junior libero Chloe Goldman continued her defensive dominance, collecting 22 digs in the win.
Despite the defeats over the weekend, the Lady Vols had some promising results from a number of players, including Fowler, junior Farren Powe and freshman Kayla Jeter. A native of Dallas, Texas, Fowler led all UT players with an average of 3.50 kills per game over the weekend, including team-high totals of eight against the Gamecocks and 13 versus the Gators. Powe and Jeter, meanwhile, were both very efficient offensively, hitting at clips of .417 (13-3-24) and .467 (7-0-15), respectively, in the two contests.
After its match against ETSU, Tennessee will return home for a pair of showdowns against SEC Western Division squads this weekend. First up will be Ole Miss (8-8, 4-3 SEC) at 7 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 17 before Arkansas (5-12, 2-5 SEC) makes the trip to Rocky Top for a 1:30 p.m. match on Sun., Oct. 19.
SCOUTING EAST TENNESSEE STATE
ETSU features a balanced offensive attack with seven players having recorded 85 kills or more this season. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Baufield leads the way for the Bucs with 129 putaways (2.11/set), while fellow classmate Erin Ryan and freshman McKayla Barber are just behind her with totals of 113 and 100, respectively. A pair of players pace the offense, as sophomore Whitney Cogburn and junior Amanda Youell have split time at the setter position this season. Cogburn, a native of Kingsport, Tenn., leads the team with 346 assists (5.32/set) in 2008. Defensively, East Tennessee looks to freshman libero Jen Neice who has tallied at squad-best 270 digs (4.15/set) thus far this season. Two other Bucs have reached triple-digits in the digs category as well, with sophomore Dani Howe and Youell having recorded totals of 116 and 103. The ETSU blocking effort, meanwhile, is led by Barber's total of 47 blocks, which includes a team-high 13 solo putbacks. East Tennessee State enters this Tuesday's showdown with UT with a 7-10 overall record and a 4-6 mark in Atlantic Sun action. The Bucs have won four of their last six, however, after dropping eight of their first 11 contests. Tennessee holds a commanding 27-5 advantage in the all-time series between the two squads, including victories in 18 consecutive matches, dating back to the 1979 campaign. The Lady Vols, who have not dropped a set to ETSU since 1997, last played the Bucs on Sept. 13, 2003 at the Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville. UT has only traveled to Johnson City five times during its history, but it holds a perfect 5-0 record during those matches.
The Lady Vols have been a fixture at the top of the SEC statistical rankings this season and currently rank among the top five teams in nearly every major statistical category in league play. The Lady Vols rank second in the conference in digs (15.96/set), are third in opponent hitting percentage (.178), assists (12.78/set), kills (12.78/set) and blocks (2.31/set) and are fourth in hitting percentage (.221). Individually, UT is well represented on the SEC charts, led by junior Chloe Goldman's 4.89 digs/set average, which ranks second in the conference. Sophomore Nikki Fowler's name is found on the kills list where she stands third with 3.78/set. Freshman Kelsey Mahoney, meanwhile, is currently third in service aces with 0.41/set, while fellow classmate Alyssa Hilby is in third as well with 1.25 blocks/set. Junior Farren Powe is also on the hitting percentage leaderboard, ranking third with an average of .393.
"CHALK TALK" WITH Rob Patrick
Prior to every remaining home match, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick will lead a "Chalk Talk" session to give fans an inside look at that day's contest. 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 open one hour before first serve and Patrick's session will begin 45 minutes prior to the start of each match.
LADY VOLS "DIG FOR THE CURE"
On Fri., Oct. 3, the Lady Vol volleyball team helped raise over $1,000 by participating in the Susan G. Komen "Dig for the Cure" , when it took on Auburn. Fans made either a flat donation or donated per dig as UT raised money in support of breast cancer research. "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.
LIVE VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR SELECT HOME MATCHES
UT volleyball fans not able to attend home matches will be able to watch from the comfort of their own home this season 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 live stream video for matches against Ole Miss (Oct. 17), Arkansas (Oct. 19), Georgia (Oct. 31), LSU (Nov. 2) and Florida (Nov. 14).
PATRICK SETS UT CAREER WINS RECORD
With a 3-0 victory over Auburn on Sun., Oct. 3, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick became the all-time winningest coach in UT history, earning the 230th victory of his career to surpass Bob Bertucci's mark of 229 set from 1979-86. During his 12 seasons at Rocky Top, Patrick has amassed a career record of 231-133 (.635). Patrick 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.
LADY VOLS ON TV
The University of Tennessee volleyball team made its first of two appearances on television on Sun., Oct. 12, when its contest against then-No. 9 Florida was featured on Sun Sports Television.
UT will be on television once again 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.