The No. 25 Tennessee Lady Vols (20-5, 11-2 SEC) got their 20th win of the season on Sunday as they defeated the Texas A&M Aggies (13-12, 6-7 SEC) in four sets (25-21, 25-12, 23-25, 25-19) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Lady Vols traveled to Texas A&M and defeated them in a five set thriller last month. The match was the first of a current five-game winning streak.
Despite coming out of the gates being outhit 22 percent to 49 percent, Tennessee jumped out to an early 13-10 lead, prompting a Texas A&M timeout.
After a tightly contested first set, the Lady Vols came out on top with a 25-21 final tally. Leading the SEC with 13.9 kills per set, Tennessee closed out the first set with 15 kills.
Finding their mojo on the offensive end, the Lady Vols jumped to a fast 6-1 advantage in the second set. They would never ease up as they broke the set wide open, resulting in a 25-12 set victory. The Lady Vols converted attack attempts at a blistering 50 percent for the set.
The third set would prove to be as competitive as the first, as both teams traded leads and momentum throughout the set. Texas A&M would ultimately prevail by a score of 25-23.
Tennessee trailed 3-2 early in the fourth set, but after two straight points they would never let the Aggies regain the lead. The Lady Vols would go up 20-14 before surrendering a 4-0 scoring run to Texas A&M. The Lady Vols would hold off the late push, and after a kill by Tessa Grubbs, would take the match-clinching set 25-19.
“I think the key to our victory was sticking to fundamentals,” Grubbs said. “It was just one of those things where we start to win the first and second set, and the third set we kind of went rogue. We had to reign it back in the fourth set and that’s ultimately what won it for us.”
In the final set, Tennessee held Texas A&M to only a six percent hitting percentage for the set. The Lady Vols also collected five blocks in the set.
Reigning SEC Player of the Week, Grubbs led the way for Tennessee on the offensive end as she finished the match with 18 kills on 36 attack attempts. After averaging 5.13 kills per set last week, she followed it up with another solid performance in the game, which included the match-winning kill.
“(Tessa’s) been terrific,” head coach Eve Rackham said. “I feel like she’s getting better and better and smarter and more confident. I’m proud of her because she’s really worked hard to develop her offensive game.”
Freshman Lily Felts nearly bagged a double-double, as she finished with 10 kills and eight digs.
Erica Treiber moved up the ranks yet again, as she became fourth all-time in program history in blocks with 470 total blocks. Coming into the match she only needed one, but she eclipsed that and finished with four. She also had eight kills and three service aces on the night.
Tennessee will have a week off before they travel to Starkville to take on Mississippi State on Nov. 11. The Lady Bulldogs are 5-20 on the season, with a 1-11 conference record in the SEC. The Lady Vols swept them in their last match on Oct. 7. The match is set to begin at 2:00 p.m.