Tennessee volleyball dominated in a straight set victory (25-12, 25-14, 25-12) over New Hampshire Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena, improving to 4-2 on the year.
Senior Morgahn Fingall led the Lady Vols’ offense most of the night. She ended her night with 16 kills and hit .560%, leading Tennessee.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be able to perform for my team,” Finagall said. “...being able to produce a product that helps the team win, I’m really happy.”
Fingall had help from sophomore Erykah Lovett, who had 13 kills for the Lady Vols and hit .281%.
“As attackers we talked this week on being efficient, and if we don’t have it just keeping the ball on the court,” Lovett said. “So we placed emphasis on that this game and I think we executed that well.”
As a team, Tennessee had 48 kills and hit .367%. Head coach Eve Rackham Watt had a lot of praise for Tennessee’s offensive performance following the match against New Hampshire.
“And then I loved what we did on the pins in terms of our attacking efficiency,” Rackham Watt said. “Just on the pins we were able to be really, really efficient – which is something we worked on all week.”
Tennessee jumped out early in the first set. By New Hampshire’s second timeout, the Lady Vols were up 19-9. They would win the first set 25-12. Fingall and Lovett both tallied 5 kills in the first set.
Tennessee forced an early New Hampshire timeout, hitting 1.00% and leading 6-2. By New Hampshire’s second timeout of the set, the Lady Vols were up 17-8. Five of New Hampshire’s eight points came from Tennessee errors. Despite the errors, the Lady Vols would win set two 25-14. Both Fingall and Lovett had double digit kills by the end of the second set.
“For us they’re two players (Fingall and Lovett) who are going to see a lot of sets, they’re going to get a lot of balls,” Rackham Watt said. “So their ability to manage swings, to have some variety in their attack. For us to be able to go to them in points where we need to side out or we need to score a point. That’s just going to continue to be important to us and something we stressed a lot after last weekend.”
Errors plagued the Lady Vols early in set three, leading Tennessee to trail New Hampshire for the first time all match.
“We had a couple of reckless mistakes,” Rackham Watt said. “Which sometimes will cost you in tight sets, so fortunately it didn’t tonight, but a couple things we still need to clean up.”
Despite early errors, Tennessee would go on to win set three 25-12 and complete the straight set sweep of New Hampshire. The Lady Vols outscored New Hampshire 58-23.
Tennessee has to turn around and face Norfolk State Saturday morning. The Lady Vols have struggled to get going in recent Saturday morning matches.
“We need to prove to ourselves that we’re capable of turning around quickly,” Rackham Watt said. “I mean that’s the hardest thing about these tournaments. You finish late at night and you’ve got to get up the next morning right away and play again.”
Tennessee is slated to play Norfolk State at 12 p.m. ET and The Citadel at 6:30 p.m. ET on day two of the Rocky Top Classic. Both matches can be streamed on SEC Network+.