Volleyball vs Citadel

KNOXVILLE, TN - No. 6 Erykah Lovett and No. 7 Morgahn Fingall celebrate winning the third set in a row against The Citadel to win the match on Saturday Sept. 10, 2022.

For the first time since Oct. 9, the Lady Vols are back in action in Thompson Boling Arena. Tennessee hosts LSU for a two-match series this weekend. 

The Lady Vols are coming off a big road win against Ole Miss – winning a five-set thriller. 

Erykah Lovett led the Lady Vols' offense in that match. The sophomore transfer from Long Beach State put down 18 kills en route to the victory.

“The more she’s out there, the better she will be and continues to be,” head coach Eve Rackham Watt said. “As the confidence level grows with her, it grows with our setter and grows with our team… She’s been consistently good for us and then she’s had some really great matches.”

While Lovett led the Lady Vols against Ole Miss, Danielle Mehaffey’s return solved some of Tennessee’s defensive issues.

“Honestly, it was such a great feeling because of the long road that it was just to get back,” Mehaffey said about her return. “It was really great to just finally be back and get back into many things.”

Coming into this season, the middle-blocker was expected to be an everyday starter for the Lady Vols. After she suffered a lower-leg fracture before the season, Mehaffey was forced to be sidelined until Wednesday when she returned to the floor against Ole Miss. 

“She makes us better defensively,” Rackham Watt said about Mehaffey. “She’s such a good blocker. She makes it tough for the other team to score, which has been one of the areas for us that we haven’t been as good at this year – just defending the other team. She had a great offensive night as well.”

Mehaffey and the Lady Vols will be tasked with slowing down LSU’s offense over the weekend. The Tigers are hitting .277 on the season and average 12.74 kills per set. 

The Tigers are 13-9 (7-5) on the year and have had 10 matches go to five sets. 

“They’re in it with everybody,” Rackham Watt said about LSU. “They’re gritty and they don’t go away. They keep scrapping for points and they get you into a lot of long rallies…They’ve been in it with every team they’ve played. They just don’t quit.”

LSU’s strength is on the defensive side of the net. The Tigers hold opponents to .191 hitting and average 15.67 digs per set – ranked No. 2 in the SEC. 

“They’ve got a big physical middle who takes a ton of court away as a blocker,” Rackham Watt said. “So, it’s kind of a mismatch for everybody.”

Tennessee will need Mogahn Fingall to break LSU’s defense if the Lady Vols hope to find success this weekend. 

Fingall sits at 304 kills on the season. The senior is averaging 4.11 kills per set – ranking No. 1 in the SEC. 

Fingall has put down 996 career kills as a Lady Vol, just four shy of the 1,000 career mark. 

Tennessee is hunting to better its resume in hopes of making a postseason appearance. A sweep against LSU would play big in the eyes of the selection committee. 

First serve on Saturday is set for 1 p.m. ET and Sunday’s start time is noon p.m. ET. Both matches can be streamed on the SEC Network.

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