The Tennessee volleyball team (20-5, 11-2) beat Texas A&M in four sets (25-21,25-12,23-25,25-19). The Lady Vols improved their winning streak to six and their home record to 12-1.
The win gives Tennessee its 23rd 20-win season in program history. The team has not won 20 games since 2015. The win gives coach Eve Rackham her first 20-win season as a head coach.
Sedona Hansen and Callie Williams orchestrated the Lady Vols’ attack all night. Hansen recorded a team-high 26 assists while Williams dished 19 out to her teammates.
“We were feeding off of each other’s energy,” junior Tessa Grubbs said. “Whenever someone got a big kill you had your team cheering you on and that went the whole way.”
Grubbs played at a top-level throughout the match for the Lady Vols, recording a team high 18 kills. Freshman Lily Felts had 10 kills in her team’s winning effort. Erica Treiber led the team with three aces.
Slowing down Hans
Texas A&M brought a preseason all-SEC pick in outside hitter Hollann Hans with them to Knoxville. Hans torched the Lady Vols on October 19th in College Station, recording a game-high 22 kills. Tonight was much different, as she only recorded 14 kills for her team.
“She is a terrific player,” Rackham said, “When you play that kind of player you just hope to slow them down, make it harder for them to score. You know the ball is going to her and you got to do your best to stop it.”
It was a total team effort for the Lady Vols on the defensive end, with five players recording five or more digs. 10 Lady Vols in total were credited with keeping the ball off of the floor once. Tennessee outgained Texas A&M in digs, 52-44, throughout the entire match.
Schumacher returns to lineup
Senior Brooke Schumacher returned to the starting line-up at Libero after playing sparingly for coach Rackham throughout the SEC season. She started seven games at the position before conference play but has come off the bench since. On Sunday night, Schumacher’s name was called.
“Brooke is a veteran Libero,” coach Rackham said. “She has a lot of experience at the position and we just decided to make the switch tonight. She has played as a defensive specialist and played really well.”
After playing in 30+ matches in each of her first two years at Tennessee, the senior has not seen quite as much action. Schumacher has had to make the most of her time on the floor.
Tonight, she recorded a team-high 12 digs. Over the past three games she has gone over double digit digs every time, getting coach Rackham’s attention. The starting line-up move may not be permanent, but Schumacher will likely continue to make a big impact the rest of the season.
Tennessee will take on Mississippi State next Sunday in Starkville, Mississippi. The team will try to improve on their 6-4 road record. This will begin a three-game road trip.
“We are always looking to the next game,” Rackham said, “You can only celebrate the victories for so long and then it is on to the next game.”