The University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers volleyball team picked up its second straight victory over Kentucky and extended its winning streak to five matches on Sunday with a 3-0 blanking of the Wildcats in the Stokely Athletics Center.
The win completed a season sweep of Kentucky, a feat UT has not accomplished since 1998. The Lady Vols are now 15-8 overall and 7-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee also gained sole possession of third place in the league's Eastern Division with the match, breaking a tie with UK.
Junior outside hitter Janelle Hester led the way for the Lady Vols with 12 kills and hit a team-high .400.
Senior middle hitter Ariana Wilson was the only other UT player with double-digit kills, pitching in 10 kills and seven blocks. Junior outside hitter Kelli Scott continued her hot serving streak, recording five service aces in the match. Sophomore defensive specialist Megan Arner posted a team-high nine digs for the Lady Vols. The teams kept things close to start the first game, before UK built a small three-point lead. UT battled back with a 4-0 run to make it 18-13 and force Kentucky to spend a timeout.
The Lady Vols extended their lead to five before UK brought the tilt back within two points at 24-22. The score then tied at 24 on two Tennessee hitting errors. The Lady Vols held on to take a tight 30-28 victory despite being outhit .085 to .071.
The second stanza played almost as a rerun of game one with Kentucky grabbing an early 8-4 lead. The Wildcats continued to hold strong and ran up a 23-15 lead, forcing head coach Rob Patrick to sit down and talk things over with his squad. The Lady Vols slammed down two straight kills out of the break and cut the deficit to six. Building momentum, the Lady Vols tied the frame at 27 with two straight Scott service aces, but a Scott service error would make it 28-27 in favor of UK. UT went on to score the next three points to give the Lady Vols a 2-0 advantage in the match. After Kentucky took a 5-2 lead in the third frame, Tennessee knotted the match at five and took control from there. UT built a nine-point lead at 24-15 behind strong hitting from Hester and Wilson. Maintaining the lead, the Lady Vols limited the Wildcats to just four more points en route to 30-19 triumph to seal the match. Tennessee's hitting percentage rebounded in the third game as the Lady Vols improved to a .355 from .190 in game two.
The Lady Vols will wrap up regular-season SEC play next weekend when it plays host to No. 9 Florida on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. before closing out its league schedule on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. against Georgia in a match that will be televised by College Sports South.