The Lady Vols vs. Illinois

Lily Felts, #15, lies on the floor for a moment after diving for the volleyball during the game against Illinois University on Friday, August 30, 2019.

Coming off two hard-fought losses against No.6 Illinois, the Tennessee volleyball team is looking towards their next match to get their momentum back. 

Starting off 0-2 isn’t how any team plans to start their season, but Tennessee head coach Eve Rackham and the Lady Vols are fully prepared for the team to change their trajectory in the upcoming Spartan Invitational this weekend.

“The main message we’ve been establishing as a team and with our coach is just being tough and being disciplined,” junior libero Madison Coulter said. “We maintain the things we do in the gym and practice and bring them on the road since we’ll be traveling so much.”

Tennessee is set to take on Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), and hosting Michigan State between Friday and Saturday in the hopes of getting the season back on track before starting SEC play in the coming weeks.

All eyes will be on the veteran players to see if they can produce the same effect that they had on the team against Illinois.

Alyssa Andreno partnered with Addisyn Rowe to produce seven kills throughout the middle matches on this past Friday and Sunday, that helped bring the Lady Vols back from an 0-2 match deficit.

Sedona Hansen registered a double-double for the 49th time in her career against Illinois, earning a team-high 37 assists and 14 digs. Coulter also finished with a match-high 15 digs.

“Madison and Sedona are both tremendous defensive players,” head coach Eve Rackham said. “They’re just fearless and they’re willing to get their body in the way of the ball. They’re both really competitive kids so being able to deny the other team a kill is a big deal for them, and they take their defense very seriously.”

After the back-to-back Illinois matches, the Lady Vols have clear expectations for what they need to work on in preparation for another tough weekend invitational that will feature another Big Ten program.

 “I like how hard we competed, especially Sunday," Rackham said. “I felt like being down 0-2 on the road it would’ve been easy to lose in 3 but our kids found a way to fight and get themselves in a position to win so I was really proud of that, but we’re still in the same boat and we’ve got to figure some things out.

“There’s nothing to be down about, but we’re asking them to come into practice with some urgency. We’ve got to get answers and we’ve got to get them soon.”

Tennessee will kick-off the weekend in East Lansing, Michigan on Friday at 10:15 a.m. against the Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1) at the Jenison Fieldhouse.

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