Tennessee showed it was the better team all weekend in a home and home series with Ohio Valley Conference opponent Morehead State. Tennessee won both matches in straight sets, and outscored the Eagles by a score of 152-107 over the two matches.
"I thought today, we played a much cleaner match than we did on Friday,” Tennessee head coach Eve Rackham Watt said. “Morehead State is a really good team. I thought that on Friday, it was our first time on the road and I think you could tell, we didn't play as well, we didn't play as clean but I thought today we played a much cleaner game."
Here are three takeaways from the Lady Vols’ sweep.
Tennessee built a substantial advantage throughout the weekend in the blocking department. Overall, Tennessee out-blocked Morehead State 21-3 on the weekend. Danielle Mahaffey, Ava Bell and Morgahn Fingall led the charge in blocking with 10, eight and eight blocks respectively.
“Blocking is an area where we spent a lot of time training,” Rackham Watt said. “Our middle blockers have done a really good job reading setters and getting nice clean blocks.”
Tennessee was able to keep Morehead State on its heels all weekend with a powerful and balanced attack. Fingall was a force at the net all weekend, leading the Lady Vols in kills in both games, 10 on Friday and 16 on Sunday for a hitting percentage of 48% on the weekend.
“I thought Morgahn Fingall had a phenomenal match,” Rackham Watt said after the match Sunday. “She was our go to late in the second set.”
Graduate transfer Breanna Runnels picked 16 kills on the weekend along with Lily Felts and Danielle Mahaffey who each picked up 13 kills on the weekend.
“I keep telling them that I think, as this team gets better, week by week, I think our confidence is going to keep growing,” Rackham Watt said. “The trust is going to keep growing. It's an experienced group but we still played a few different players in different spots. I think we're still settling into a few key roles, but I like what we've done. I think that we were way better today than we were on Friday, which is a good sign for us."
After a slightly shaky defensive performance on Friday, Tennessee was able to come together and produce a much better game on the defensive end on Sunday. Madison Bryant was a force on defense all weekend as she led the team in digs in both matches with 12 on Friday and 16 on Sunday.
The junior from Anderson, South Carolina, ranked second in the South Eastern Conference as a sophomore with 3.85 digs per set and has continued her defensive prowess into this season.
“They were very good defensively,” Rackham Watt said. “I like that we were able to play the same team twice and I think that will serve us well later in the year.”