Nov. 19, 2009
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - As the season winds down, the University of Tennessee volleyball team (20-7, 13-4 Southeastern Conference) is geared up for a pair of important SEC showdowns this weekend as No. 13 Florida (20-4, 14-3) and South Carolina (14-13, 5-12) will make the trip to Knoxville.
The Lady Volunteers will welcome the Gators to Rocky Top at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, before taking on the Gamecocks two days later at 1:30 p.m. Both matches will be contested in Thompson-Boling Arena with live video and up-to-the-minute stats available at UTLadyVols.com.
On Friday, the Orange and White will attempt to break the school's single-match attendance record of 3,311 set against Georgia on Oct. 28, 2005. Prior to Sunday's contest, UT will honor Carol Cheade, Chloe Goldman, Kylie Marshall and Farren Powe in "Senior Day" festivities.
In its final road trip of the 2009 regular season last weekend, the Big Orange split a pair of five-set matches, falling to Auburn before rebounding with a victory over Georgia. With the win against the Bulldogs, the Lady Vols reached the 20-win mark for the second consecutive season, seventh time in the last 10 years and 18th time in school history.
Junior Nikki Fowler continued her stellar all-around play, picking up her 10th and 11th straight double-doubles en route to defending her SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, which she has now won a league-high three times this season. For her career, she has claimed the award six times, making her the second-most decorated offensive player in league history, behind only three-time SEC Player of the Year Aury Cruz from Florida who garnered offensive player of the week honors seven times during her stint in Gainesville.
Against Auburn on Friday, the Dallas, Texas, native pounded out a match-high 22 kills, in addition to tallying 15 digs, four blocks and a pair of assists. She followed up that performance with arguably the best match of her career on Sunday at Georgia where she delivered a personal-best 29 kills on .362 hitting (29-8-58) and narrowly missed her second career triple-double with 13 digs and career-high tying eight blocks.
The 29 putaways stand as the ninth-highest total in a five-set match in school history (highest in 25-point scoring format), tie for the most by an SEC player in any match this season and top her previous best of 28 which she set against South Carolina on Nov. 11, 2007.
Following this weekend's action, Tennessee will finish off the 2009 regular season by hosting No. 10 Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The Lady Vols will then await their NCAA Tournament fate which will be announced at 3 p.m. on ESPNews on Sunday, Nov. 29.