The UT volleyball team entered Friday's match 8-9 on the season and winless in conference play.
Meanwhile, Missouri came to Thompson-Boling Arena as the No. 25 team in the country, boasting an 18-0 record.
The Tigers have yet to play a fifth set in any of their matches.
Missouri performed accordingly with a sweep of the Lady Vols in three sets (27-25, 25-10, 25-16).
Missouri's 19 wins to start the season are a school record.
The intensity of the Lady Vols in the first game gave Missouri all they could handle. The Tigers escaped 27-25 after the Lady Vols chipped away throughout the set.
"That's the best that the team has played all year in SEC play," UT's Ellen Mullins said, "and that we need to learn to maintain that consistency throughout the match."
It was a tale of two sets that sent the Lady Vols to the locker room down 0-2. The youth of the team was showing through the seven total errors that occurred in that set.
The Lady Vols that fans saw in the first set returned in the third, quickly jumping out to a 9-6 lead. Tennessee fought to maintain the early lead, but much like the whole match, the Tigers slowly regained control.
Missouri freshman Carly Kan finished her night with a double-double (10 kills, 10 digs).
"The biggest thing is consistency and playing at a high level," UT coach Rob Patrick said. "If this team gets better little by little each day, eventually, they're going to be great."
Patrick also addressed the injuries faced by his team and how it has affected play.
"First, the freshmen are playing against the top 25 team," Patrick said, "and then they are playing out of position for a week and a half.
"They battled it out there today. We played really well and then there would be an error because of new positions, which would result in some disorganization."
He preached playing at a high level that was seen throughout the arena during the first set.
Despite Mullins - a defensive specialist - consistently being all over the court, she had help from Lexi Dempsey and Megan Hatcher. The two sophomores shouldered some of the play with digs that combined for a total of 21 on the night.
"You play for your teammates, and you play for everyone around you," Dempsey said.
"Every little thing you can contribute to the game helps us all. If you do your job it makes the game that much easier, which translates from the defense to the offensive game."
Added Dempsey: "We have nothing to lose right now, and being a young team inspires us to play well and progress."
The Lady Vols left Thompson-Boling arena with an 8-10 (0-3 SEC) record and look to rebound Sunday against the Arkansas Razorbacks.