The University of Tennessee played Houston on Friday and No. 5 Baylor on Saturday for the Baylor Invitational, which took place in Waco, Texas.
Tennessee opened the tournament with a win over Houston, despite being down two sets to one to start the match. Tennessee took control for sets four and five as they held the Cougars to a .000 hitting percentage and only allowed 12 kills combined in the final two sets. Friday’s win over Houston gave Tennessee their third win in a row for the young season.
"Our team made a decision that they were going to win that match,” said head coach Eve Rackham. “Physically, we were making a lot of errors in the first three sets, even in the set we won. We weren't playing very clean volleyball, but I think they recognize that we needed to play a little bit cleaner. And we're able to do that in the fourth."
The Lady Vols were led by Madison Coulter, who secured 29 digs, which matched her career high. Ava Bell tallied 12 kills in the match and did it without committing an attack error. Bell had a .545 hitting percentage in the match and also added two blocks and an ace. Tessa Grubbs notched 20 kills for the second consecutive match and her third of the season.
Kailey Keeble and Sedona Hansen both recorded double doubles during the match. For Keeble, it was the first in her career as she finished the match with 18 assists and 10 digs. Hansen had a match-high 40 assists and tallied 10 digs to help her reach the double double mark.
Saturday’s match against No. 5 Baylor told a different story for the Lady Vols, as they got swept (18-25, 17-25, 16-25).
Grubbs ended the match with 15 kills. This is the 25th in 26 matches that Grubbs has posted double-digit kill number. After the tournament, she has presented with the Best Attacker Award. She hit seven of her 15 kills in the first set on a .286 hitting percentage. Grubbs is only three kills away from passing Erica Treiber for 16th on the all-time kills list.
Alyssa Andreno finished with a team-high five blocks during today’s match. She ended with a total of 12 blocks in the tournament and was awarded with the Best Blocker award.
Hansen assisted on 25 balls, which stood as a team-high against Baylor, and she added five digs. She is now just 55 digs away from reaching the 1,000 career dig mark.
Tennessee did a good job defensively against the AVCA National Player of the Week in Yossiana Pressley. Pressley had a season-low .226 hitting percentage and also only had 4.00 kills per set, which is two less than her average.
Next up for the Lady Vols, they return to Knoxville to finish up non-conference play at the Tennessee Classic on Friday and Saturday. Tennessee opens up against East Tennessee State on Friday.