The Tennessee volleyball team rolled to a 30-26, 23-30, 30-18, 30-20 victory (7-8, 1-6 SEC) Friday evening at Auburn.
In the contest, senior setter Julie Knytych broke the school record for career assists. She tallied 52 to move to 5,077 in her career. Knytych surpassed Erica Lear’s (1998-01) career total of 5,069.
The tying assist came on the ninth rally of the fourth game as Knytych back-set junior outside hitter Kelsey Fautsch on the right side for a powering slam off a back-row dig attempt and high off the wall behind the end lines.
“It’s really exciting,” Knytych said. “Hopefully I can get a lot more assists the rest of the season and keep it going. Once again, I attribute it to our hitters because without them, it wouldn’t happen. I’m lucky to have such good hitters.”
Knytych moved up to spots on the all-time SEC list to eighth, surpassing Auburn’s Piper Craig (5,053 from 1995-98) and Lear.
“Our hitting really improved at the end of the game tonight due to Julie finding the right hitters, which she has done her whole career to allow her to reach the record-setting totals she has,” Tennessee coach Rob Patrick said. “I’m happy to see two great setters at the top of the assists chart.”
Overall, junior middle blocker Sarah Blum set the Lady Vol pace in hitting percentage at .474. Second was Fautsch at .278 and senior middle blocker Kristen Andre was third at .250. Tennessee’s kill leader was Stoyanova, who tallied 20.
Blum and Andre led the Lady Vols in blocks with six each, while Knytych had four and Fautsch and Stoyanova recorded three each.
“Amy really provided a spark for us by anchoring our serve receive with her ball-control passing and digging,” Patrick said. “Sarah continues to do a good job for us on the offensive end and is really coming on strong with her offensive game.
“We played hard, which I was very pleased with, but we need to play a little more consistent.”
In the first game, Auburn took an 11-6 lead, but the Lady Vols roared back with six straight points to take a 12-11 advantage. Tennessee pulled away from a 17-17 tie with a 5-1 run. The Lady Vols posted four of the final five tallies for the 30-26 win.
The second game saw Auburn take the lead from the onset and not relinquish it. The advantage went to as high as seven (21-14) before Tennessee rallied to within three at 25-22.
Tennessee controlled the third game from the outset, taking an early 6-1 lead. Auburn immediately cut it to 7-6, but the Lady Vols rebounded with a 7-2 run of its own for a 14-8 edge.