The Tennessee volleyball team prevailed over the Georgia Bulldogs, 30-25, 30-28, 30-23, on Sunday afternoon, capping a weekend that saw the Lady Vols fall in a three-game sweep at Florida on Friday.
In the contest, senior setter Julie Knytych recorded her 5,000th career assist, becoming just the second Lady Vol and 10th SEC player in history to attain membership in the exclusive club. She needed 25 assists to reach 5,000 and duplicated that number with 50 in the contest.
Knytych’s historic helper came on the 29th rally of the second game and got UT (10-6, 4-2 SEC) within three at 16-13. Sophomore outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova recorded the kill, hammering it off a Bulldog dig attempt in the center of the court.
“I wasn’t thinking about it (the 5,000 mark) since I didn’t even know, but that’s really exciting,” Knytych said. “It’s obviously a result of my hitters. I just get the ball up and when they get the job done, that’s when it really comes into place.”
At 5,025, the LaGrange Park, Ill., native is now just 44 assists away from the Tennessee school record of 5,069, currently held by Erica Lear (1998-01).
In the first game, the Lady Vols never relinquished its control or its lead. UT pulled away with a 5-1 run for a 22-15 edge and did not let Georgia (7-8, 2-3 SEC) within four the rest of the game pulling out the 30-25 win.
No. 5 Florida 3, Tennessee 0
The Lady Vols dropped their second SEC match in straight games Friday afternoon at Florida, 30-22, 30-22, 30-24.
“I was disappointed with our team’s lack of execution offensively as well as our inconsistency in controlling the ball on second contacts,” Patrick said. “We gave ourselves a lot of chances to score points with some nice digging and team defense, but we made too many errors and were not aggressive enough when we took swings at the ball.”
The first game was one of runs. Florida (15-1, 5-0) carried the momentum of a 7-0 run to grab an early 12-4 lead, but a 5-0 Lady Vol run later in the game cut the Gator edge to three at 19-16. UF responded with a 6-1 run for a 25-17 advantage before prevailing, 30-22.
In the second game, Tennessee took an 8-6 lead, but Florida came back with an 11-4 run to pull away.
The third game was close early, as the score was tied at 11 before Florida pulled away with an 8-1 run.
In the match, senior middle blocker Kristen Andre hit .273 while freshman outside hitter Milan Clarke hit at a .250 clip. Leading the way for the Lady Vols in kills was sophomore outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova with 11, while Andre was next with nine.
“We put Milan in a challenging situation, coming into a tough environment and I thought she did a really good job of stepping up to the challenge, especially just being a freshman.”