No. 14 Tennessee takes down No. 24 Colorado State in five-set match
WICHITA, Kan. – For the second consecutive match, the No. 14 University of Tennessee volleyball team prevailed against a top-25 opponent in five sets as the Lady Vols defeated No. 24 Colorado State, 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 27-25, 22-25, 15-11), in their opening match of the Wichita State Shocker Volleyball Classic at Charles Koch Arena.
With the win, Tennessee improves to 3-1 on the young 2012 campaign. Last season, the Lady Vols beat four ranked teams, including three in the top 16. The win also improves UT to 3-1 all-time against Colorado State (3-2).
Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson led the match with 24 kills and 18 digs to notch her third-consecutive and 30th-career double-double. Tiffany Baker tied a career high with 19 kills and eight digs, while Leslie Cikra added 10 kills and a career-high seven blocks for UT. Robinson and Baker also combined for six service aces.
Setter Mary Pollmiller dished out an even 50 assists and scooped nine digs for the Lady Vols. Kayla Jeter and Olivia Okoro combined for nine rejections.
The Lady Vols jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Rams in the opening game, but quickly had their lead erased as CSU leveled it at 3-3. Midway through the set, Robinson gave UT a 16-14 lead following consecutive aces. After a CSU timeout and kill, Tennessee went on a 4-0 run to go up 20-15 in the game. Robinson put an end to the back-and-forth affair with consecutive kills to secure a 25-22 win for UT. The set consisted of 10 ties and six leads changes.
The Big Orange went up as many as five points in the second game at 16-11, but the Rams fought back to win the set by a 25-23 margin. Robinson posted six kills and six digs in the set to reach her 30th-career double-double in just the second frame.
After the break, the third set looked a lot like the second, as UT cruised to a 17-11 lead midway through. The Rams rallied once again and tied the set at 21. A Jeter roll that landed in the middle of the Ram defense gave UT a 23-22 lead. A Baker kill gave Tennessee set point, but CSU would score three consecutive points to force its own set point at 25-24. With Baker at the line, she landed two serves in a row between CSU defenders to close out the set with the Lady Vols ahead, 27-25.
Colorado State established control of the fourth set early, as the Mountain West Conference affiliate went up 4-0. The Lady Vols battled back to tie it late in the game at 16, but CSU strung some point together once again to secure a 25-22 victory and level the match at two sets apiece.
Behind a Baker kill and block, UT took a 3-1 lead to start the fifth and final set, but again the Rams would rally to score four consecutive points and go up 4-3. The teams traded points until the Lady Vols posted a 7-0 run, which included two kills from Robinson and two from Baker, for match point at 14-8. CSU scored the next three points, but Robinson put the match away with her 24th smash of the night to secure the five-set win.