With another win, the Lady Vols add to an already impressive winning streak, pushing their run to six in a row.
In head coach Rob Patrick's 500th career match with Tennessee (20-6, 13-4), the Lady Vols were tested early and often by the Auburn Tigers (17-10, 8-9) before finally taking the match in five sets Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
"Its gone by really fast," Patrick said. "I've had an incredible administration that's supported us, and we've had some absolutely incredible players that have sacrificed and come here and put in a tremendous amount of work, so those are the things I think of, of five hundred matches."
A back-and-forth match all night, the Lady Vols lost the first and third sets 25-23 and 31-29 respectively before finally knocking the Tigers off balance to take the game after five sets by winning the second set 25-20 and the fourth and fifth sets 25-19 and 15-6.
"I was relieved that we were able to continue to stay in it, one of the teams was going to break down at some point, and it could've been us. I was really relieved that we didn't," said Patrick. "We wanted to get the kills, we've got these big strong hitters that have been very successful over their careers and to be dug over and over again it gets a little frustrating."
Five Lady Vols managed to reach double digits in kills for the night and the team was led by senior Leslie Cikra who tied a career-high kills with 20. Cikra had a memorable night hitting .425 and only recording 3 errors to go with her kills.
"I probably haven't scored that many kills since my freshman year, but we switched up the lineup a little bit and with Tiff (Baker) out, had to make the adjustment and come in and play left side," said Cikra. "It was good to kind of get in the groove tonight and it was fun."
Cikra's performance was aided by an impressive overall effort spread among the rest of the team with junior Kelsey Robinson recording 15 kills and 13 digs with redshirt-senior Kayla Jeter also recording a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs. Junior Ellen Mullins chipped in with 28 digs to back up her third nomination as SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
With this win, Tennessee has won eleven of the their last twelve matches and is positioning themselves for a favorable seeding in the NCAA tournament. Tennessee will look to continue their winning streak and sweep LSU for the season as they host the Tigers Sunday at 1 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.