Tennessee 3, Jacksonville State 0

Dec. 2, 2005

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The 15th-seeded and 23rd-ranked University of Tennessee volleyball team (22-8) advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament with a 30-23, 30-13, 30-28 sweep of Jacksonville State (19-11) on Friday evening. With the win, the Lady Vols set up a match-up versus defending national runners-up and 17th-ranked Minnesota (25-7) in the Second Round at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Golden Gophers defeated Winthrop (28-6), 30-13, 30-13, 30-24.

In tonights contest, senior libero Amy Morris (Michigan City, Ind.) neared the school record for digs in a season as her match total of 19 brought her season sum to 440, just five short of Stephanie Ehlers total of 445 recorded in 1988. Freshman defensive specialist Chelsea Noble (Vandalia, Ohio) also contributed eight digs tonight. Junior outside hitter Kelsey Fautsch (Chisago Lakes, Minn.) had five.

Junior middle blocker Sarah Blum (Tulsa, Okla.) tied for the second-highest hitting percentage recorded by a Lady Vol (with at least 12 kills) this season, hitting at a .667 clip (12-0-18) tonight. She also led the team in kills with 12 for the first time since a 3-0 sweep of LSU on Nov. 7, 2004. Senior middle blocker Kristen Andre (Kelseyville, Calif.) had 11 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova (Sofia, Bulgaria) contributed 10.

Senior setter Julie Knytych (LaGrange Park, Ill.) had a match-high 38 assists.

Andre led all players in blocks with seven, Blum contributed four, while Stoyanova and freshman outside hitter Mindy Flynn (Louisville, Ky.) had three each.

The first game was close early as neither team garnered greater than a one-point advantage until a 4-0 Lady Vol run earned UT an 8-5 edge. The Big Orange gradually increased its advantage until it reached an apex of nine at 27-18 on the way to UTs 30-23 win.

Tennessee took a stranglehold on game two early, taking 5-0 and 13-2 leads on its way to greater advantages of 21-5 and 27-8 before winning, 30-13. The 17-point difference was the largest in an NCAA Tournament match for Tennessee since rally scoring was introduced in 2001.

The third game was also tight early as Jacksonville State earned itself its largest lead of the match at 2-0 and neither team could pull away by more than a pair of tallies until UT broke a 13-all tie with three straight tallies and a 16-13 edge. The Gamecocks, however, battled back for 19-18 and 20-19 leads. At that point a 6-0 Lady Vol run gave the Big Orange control at 25-20 and, with a late 29-24 lead, appeared on its way to the comfortable win. With its season on the line, JSU battled back, scoring five straight times to cut the UT lead to a tenuous total of one before a kill from Andre moved the Lady Vols to the Second Round, 30-28.

The Lady Vols are now 12-0 at home this season, including 18 straight and 27-of-28.

UTs opponent in the second round, the Golden Gophers qualified for last seasons national championship match, falling to Stanford, 30-23, 30-27, 30-21, and advanced to the national semifinals the year before. Minnesota has advanced to the Regional Semifinals in five-of-the-past-six seasons. Senior libero Paula Gentil enters the contest just four digs shy of the NCAA record for digs in a season as she currently has 2,776.

The RKPI ratings, a simulation of the RPI that the NCAA uses to select and seed teams for NCAA Championships, has the Lady Vols ranked 13th, while Minnesota comes in at No. 21.

The winner of Saturdays contest moves on to play either Penn State or Long Island in a Regional Semifinal next Saturday on the Penn State campus in University Park, Pa.



-- Courtesy Tennessee