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Libero Madison Bryant (12) passes the ball in serve receive in Thompson-Boling Arena on September 5th, 2021.

The No. 20 Tennessee volleyball team will once again hit the road and travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to face off against the LSU Tigers. The Lady Vols will play in a two-game series on Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re playing a really good team,” head coach Eve Rackham-Watt said. “LSU is big and physical, they’re as big as a team we’ve played since Baylor. For us, we’ll have to be good offensively and try to combat what they do with their block. They’re an experienced team, and I know we have a challenge ahead of us but our team is looking forward to it.”

Tennessee (15-3, 7-1 SEC) has the momentum going into the match, as it looks near unstoppable midway through the season. The last time these two teams played against each other was in 2020. The Lady Vols managed to win both games over the Tigers, 3-1 and 3-2. Tennessee needs to be able to block LSU and score effectively to get one over the Tigers this weekend.

With the Lady Vols entering their last few games of the season, every game becomes that much more important. The team hopes to finish the season strong and have a good standing in the NCAA tournament.

“We always say the next match is always the most important match of the season,” graduate student Breanna Runnels said on the match’s importance. “Saturday’s going to be the most important match and on Sunday that will be our focus.”

Various Lady Vols contributed to the win against Georgia last week. Senior Lily Felts had 12 kills and held a hitting percentage of .222. Breana Runnels led the team offensively with 15 kills. Runnels has been Tennessee’s main weapon, as she currently is the team leader with 208 kills.

The Tigers (8-11, 4-6 SEC) are coming off a big win against South Carolina. Down two sets early to the Gamecocks, the Tigers were able to storm back and pull off the reverse sweep to come home with a win.

The Tigers have an experienced and talented roster. LSU is led by graduate student outside hitter Kylie Kuyava-Deberg. Against the Gamecocks, she notched a double-double with 15 kills and 13 digs.

Tennessee has been successful away from Knoxville with an away record of 4-1. The Lady Vols will be playing their fourth and fifth road game in a row against LSU.

“We definitely talked about how October is the longest month, and it’s definitely proving it being away for so long,” Runnels said. “This weekend we really just got to focus on being mentally tough and making LSU’s gym our gym and going out and competing.”

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