Nov. 20, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Senior middle blocker Sarah Blum has claimed her second Lady Vol Athlete of the Week title of the year, following a unanimous vote by the Lady Vol media relations staff. The 6-3 Tulsa, Okla., native guided the Tennessee volleyball squad to a pair of impressive performances this past weekend, including a four-game victory over Auburn on Sunday afternoon.
Blum paced the team's defensive effort over the weekend, with an amazing total of 25 blocks in just two matches, for an average of 3.12 blocks per game. The Orange and White standout also accumulated 17 kills, 53 attack attempts and three digs.
On Friday night, Blum was a dominating force against No. 7 Florida, recording seven kills and a match-high nine blocks in the tightly-contested four-game match. Her presence at the net played a significant role in the Lady Vols' third-game victory over the Gators.
As impressive as her performance against Florida was, it was no match for what she would accomplish on Sunday afternoon against Auburn. Entering the contest, Blum needed to tie the school's all-time match record for blocks (14) to move to the top of the career blocks chart. After sending back just three attacks in the first two games, it did not look as if she would reach her goal, but she was just getting warmed up.
Midway through the third frame, Blum took over the match, recording four blocks and two kills in a span of eight plays. She would tally three more putbacks in the set, to move her total on the day to 10 and her career mark to 661.
With three blocks early in the fourth and final game, Blum tied Robin Maine's career record of 664, before breaking it in style, with her only solo block of the match. She was not done yet, however, as she added three more before the end of the match to set a new career record with 667 and match record with 16.
The previous single-match blocking record of 14 was first set by Mary Heinecke against Georgia on Oct. 5, 1996, before Blum matched the total against Purdue on Sept. 11, 2004. The career record had been standing since conclusion of the 1983 season, when Robin Maine finished her four-year career with 664 total blocks.
Blum concluded the regular season with a team-high 344 kills, .335 hitting percentage, 24 solo blocks, 178 block assists, 202 total blocks, and 466.0 points. She also finished third on the team with a 3.32 kills per game average.
Tennessee (19-11, 10-10 SEC) will now await word in regards to its NCAA Tournament hopes. The Lady Vols' fate will be decided during the NCAA Selection Show, which is scheduled to air between 3:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 26 on ESPNews.