Morgahn Fingall (7) attacks the ball from the back row, resulting in a point in Thompson-Boling Arena on September 5th, 2021.

The No. 21 Tennessee volleyball team looks to get back to its winning ways as it gets ready to start SEC conference play against the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday. The match will start off a two-game series between the two schools at Thompson-Boling Arena. 

The Lady Vols (8-2) hope to rebound after suffering their second loss of the season, getting swept in three sets by No. 9 Purdue. The Razorbacks (10-2) look to extend their two-game winning streak after taking down LSU in four sets Wednesday. The last time these two teams met was back in 2020 where they split the series 1-1 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

Playing against SEC opponents brings a new level of competition for the Lady Vols. The margin of error is slim and little mistakes can make or break a series. In the week leading up to their game, the Lady Vols have worked on cleaning up mistakes they made against Purdue.

“I think what really got exposed this past weekend was our floor defensive,” head coach Eve Rackham-Watt said. “I thought that we weren’t as good as we needed to be, so we spent a lot of time on that this week. In general, our serve-block defensive needs to be at a higher level. What makes this team really good is our offensive production and we got to continue to work on that as well.”

Over the course of the season, Tennessee has proven that it is a top-rated program and a serious contender for the NCAA championship. The team has continued to climb the ladder each week, and they have the stats to back that up. 

Lady Vols lead the SEC in kills per set (14.85), assists per set (13.38) and blocks per set (2.82). Tennessee comes in at second in the SEC in hitting percentage with .289, only trailing Ole Miss. 

For Lady Vols to come out on top against the Razorbacks, they’ll need their star senior outside-hitter Lily Felts and junior right-side hitter Morgan Fingall to show up. In both of Tennessee's losses this season Felts was limited offensively and was not able to help the Lady Vols overcome their deficit. Fingall, who has been the Lady Vols go-to option offensively, has been a key part of the team’s success and when she’s in the zone the Lady Vols are nearly unstoppable. 

“I’m really excited,” Fingall said concerning the upcoming match. “I think getting into SEC play were finally getting into that part of the season where we get to show how much we have prepared over the summer and preseason and make a name for ourselves within the SEC.” 

The opening pitch is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. EST. Live coverage of the game will be provided by SEC+ Network. 

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