Posted on September 3, 2016
KENT, Ohio — After losing a close second set, the Tennessee Volunteers jumped out to big leads early in the final two sets to defeat Kent State 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-13, 25-14) on Saturday night at the M.A.C. Center.
The Vols (5-1) rebounded from a five-set Friday night loss at Cleveland State to record their first true road win of the season against Kent State (3-3).
Senior Bri Holmes and Tessa Grubbs led the Tennessee offense with 14 kills each, hitting .400 and .324 respectively. Four Vols hit above .300 in the match, and Tennessee hit .298 as a team. Freshman setter Sedona Hansen had her third double-double of the weekend with 47 assists and 11 digs.
“With three freshmen and a sophomore on the court, I felt really good about the level we played at and how hard we played,” Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick said. “We’re really getting back to what we call `Tennessee Volleyball.’ The players did a wonderful job of coming back from a disappointing loss at Cleveland State to come out here to Kent State in front of their home crowd and get a victory.”
The Vols went on a 4-0 run midway through the first set with three consecutive kills by Grubbs and a block by Alyssa Andreno and Erica Treiber to go ahead 19-16. Tennessee led the rest of the set, and Bri Holmes put away a kill on set point to take it, 25-22. Grubbs finished the set with six kills, and Hembry added five.
Kent State swung the momentum late in the second set. Tennessee led by as many as five points but KSU eventually tied up the match at 20-20. The score was tied two more times, but Kent State won two of the final three points of the set, eventually tying the match at one set each on a kill by Kelsey Bittinger.
With a 5-0 run early in the third set, Tennessee jumped ahead 10-3 and never looked back. The Vols led by as many as 13 points and wrapped up the set 25-13 on a KSU service error.
While the Vols hit .375 as a team in the third set, they stepped up their hitting further in the fourth set, hitting .467. Tennessee broke a 5-5 tie with a 7-0 run to go up 12-5 aand led the rest of the way.
Tennessee plays a two-day tournament next weekend at Western Michigan. Opponents include: WMU, Milwaukee and Xavier.