Staff Report: SPORTS

The No. 21 Tennessee volleyball team continued its road dominance Friday night, as it took down Georgia in four sets (22-25, 25-22,25-17, 25-18). The victory marked the Lady Vols’ third consecutive SEC road win, and it improved their record to 15-3 (7-1 SEC). Tennessee entered the matchup first in the SEC and seventh in the nation in blocks per set. 

The Lady Vols were determined to win against the Bulldogs after losing 3-2 in their last matchup back in 2020. Performances by junior right side hitter Morgahn Fingall and senior outside hitter Lily Felts helped propel the team to a win. Fingall ended the night with 15 kills followed by Felts’ 12. 

On defense, senior middle blocker Ava Bell led the team with 7 blocks. The Lady Vols were further helped by senior setter Natalie Hayward who dished out 40 assists throughout the game.  

The Bulldogs took an early lead in the first set and quickly put pressure on the Lady Vols. Miscommunication on defense and Tennessee’s top hitters struggling to get going spelled disaster for the Lady Vols. 

Georgia’s junior outside hitter Amber Stivrins was a problem for the Lady Vols, as she led the Bulldogs with 7 kills. Unforced errors plagued the Lady Vols and made it difficult to mount a comeback. Despite Tennessee’s best efforts late in the set, Georgia was able to hold on and take the first set 25-22.  

Tennessee was able to bounce back in set two but continued to struggle off the serve early. The Lady Vols were able to get star offensive players Felts and Bell going, and they ended the set with a .412 hitting percentage, a vast improvement on their .152% clip in the first set. Tennessee took the second set 25-22. 

The Lady Vols rode that momentum into the third set, taking it without much resistance. The Lady Vols limited their attack errors to just a pair and had no service errors in the set. The team was rolling offensively and cruised past the Bulldogs, 25-17.  

The fourth set was more competitive as both teams fiercely competed for every point. Georgia's biggest lead was 3 points, but it simply could not hold on, as Tennessee stormed back to take the lead. The Lady Vols came up with clutch blocks throughout the set that proved pivotal. Tennessee would end with 4 blocks and a .270 hitting percentage as a team, closing out the set 25-18. 

Despite the slow start, Tennessee managed to bounce back and get one over Georgia. The Lady Vos will have plenty of time to regroup and to prepare for their next road matchup against the LSU Tigers on Saturday.

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