#10 Lady Vols Top #22 Auburn in Four Sets

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Lady Vols, ranked 10th, secured another victory against a ranked opponent, defeating No. 22 Auburn 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-21, 25-17) at Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center on Friday night.
In front of a crowd of 2,575, the fourth-largest in program history, the Big Orange (16-1, 7-0 SEC) extended their winning streak to 11 matches and their conference play dominance with 21 out of 23 sets won. This hard-fought contest featured 11 lead changes and 25 ties, with two Lady Vols achieving double-doubles.
Tennessee outperformed Auburn in several aspects, including hitting percentage (.231 to .122), kills (59-41), assists (51-35), digs (73-55), and aces (3-2). The Tigers, however, excelled in blocks, totaling 14 compared to UT’s seven.
Morgahn Fingall, a graduate right side hitter, led the team with a remarkable all-around performance, contributing 21 kills, 12 digs, and three blocks. Erykah Lovett, a junior outside hitter, also had an outstanding game, recording her fifth double-double of the season and fourth in SEC play, with 17 digs, 13 kills, two blocks, and one assist.
Jenaisya Moore, a graduate student outside hitter, completed the Lady Vols’ strong lineup with 13 kills and seven digs. Keondreya Granberry, a sophomore middle blocker, narrowly missed a double-digit kill total, contributing nine kills, five blocks, and two digs. Caroline Kerr, a redshirt freshman setter, finished with 45 assists, nine digs, and two blocks.
In addition to Fingall and Lovett’s double-digit digs, Yelianiz Torres, a graduate student libero, added 16 digs, five assists, one ace, and one kill. Abby Ekeler, a junior defensive specialist, demonstrated her skill on both sides with two aces and three digs.
Although Auburn took an early lead in the first set, the Lady Vols staged an impressive comeback with an 11-3 run. The Tigers responded with their own surge, narrowing the gap to two points at 20-18. However, UT foiled their attempt and finished the set with a 5-1 swing to claim an early advantage. Fingall’s six kills led the offensive charge, while Tennessee’s defense limited Auburn to a .000 hitting percentage.
The Tigers managed to win the second set, as their sideout percentage of 72 prevented Tennessee from gaining momentum. The Lady Vols struggled with self-inflicted errors, committing six attacking errors and six service errors in the frame.
The third set showcased a tight battle, featuring five lead changes and 11 ties. Both teams remained evenly matched for most of the set, but a late 4-0 run by UT, following a timeout, shifted the momentum back in their favor.
In the final set, UT quickly established a 9-2 lead, prompting Auburn to call two timeouts during the stretch. The Lady Vols maintained a comfortable four-point margin throughout the set, securing a dominant victory. Tennessee’s defense held the Tigers to a .030 hitting percentage, and the team contributed 18 digs and three blocks in the period. All three aces for UT occurred during the set, with Fingall leading the offense with six kills.
Next, the Lady Vols will face the 23rd-ranked Kentucky Wildcats at Food City Center on Sunday, with a 5 p.m. start time. The match will be televised on the SEC Network.
For fans attending Saturday’s football game between Tennessee and Texas A&M, their football tickets will grant them access to the volleyball match. Fans can visit the ticket window at Food City Center, present their football ticket, and receive a complimentary ticket to the match. Please note that the football ticket may disappear from your wallet on Sunday, so fans should access “expired passes” within their Apple or Android wallet and select expired passes to display the football ticket.


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