The Tennessee Lady Vols (17-5, 8-2) defeated SEC East rival South Carolina (15-5, 6-4) in three straight sets (25-21, 29-27, 25-19) on Wednesday night inside of Thompson-Boling Arena. The matchup was the Lady Vols first home game since October 7.
Tennessee handed the Gamecocks their third loss in their last four matches as well as their fourth conference loss on the season. Riding the momentum of a now three game win streak, Tennessee is now tied with Missouri for third place in the SEC standings.
Junior Tessa Grubbs led the way for the Lady Vols on the offensive end with 14 kills for the match. She also chipped in on defense with two total blocks.
Senior Erica Treiber finished the match with nine kills along with four total blocks, two digs, and a service ace.
Here are the takeaways from Tennessee’s win over South Carolina:
Lady Vols found lots of success on serves
Coming into the match, Tennessee ranked 13th in the SEC with only 0.96 aces per set, but their service game proved to be very effective against South Carolina’s defense.
“I was happy with our service pressure,” head coach Eve Rackham said. “I feel like that scenario we’ve worked really hard on. We had six aces tonight and I felt like we put South Carolina in a lot of really tough situations.”
Their serves were most effective in the first set; they collected three of their six aces.
Lily Felts led the way with two service aces of her own.
Freshman Felts steps up
Although the final result of the match was a sweep, the second set took extra points to determine a winner.
After taking a 26-25 lead, South Carolina had all of the momentum and needed just another point to secure the match. Felts had other plans in mind.
She would be the engineer of a 4-1 run by the Lady Vols, scoring Tennessee’s last four points and securing the second set of the match.
“Lily is really stepping up her game,” said Tessa Grubbs. “She’s starting to play calmer and really putting the pressure on the other teams.”
Rackham was also excited about the freshman’s clutch performance.
“She’s a gamer,” Rackham said. “I was happy for her and to see her competitiveness come out. To be able to count on her at the end of the game was huge.”
Lily filled the stat sheet for the night with 10 kills, six digs, two assists, and a solo block to go along with her two aces.
After their pitstop at home, the Lady Vols will be back on the road for their next two matches. They next travel to Athens, Georgia on Sunday to take on the University of Georgia. Georgia is 12-8 on the season with a 3-6 record in SEC play. The first serve is set to take place at 2 p.m.