Tennessee registered 17 blocks Friday (August 30) and held on to defeat the Morehead State volleyball team 3-2 in both team's 2013 season opener at the Cincinnati Invitational inside Fifth Third Arena.
Morehead State, which has won three straight Ohio Valley Conference titles, played just seven five-set matches in 2012.
Sophomore outside hitter Courtney Smith compiled her first career double-double at MSU with a team –best 13 kills to go along with 16 digs. Junior setter Colbey Cameron nearly scored a triple-double with a career-high 43 assists, 14 digs and eight kills via a .294 attacking efficiency.
Tennessee was led by Ashley Mariani and Jamie Lea with 10 kills apiece. Shealyn Kolosky posted a match-best nine blocks, while Raina Hemby had eight rejections.
Morehead State got a team-standard 27 digs from senior libero Leslie Schellhaas, who ranks among MSU's top 10 in career digs. Senior outside hitter Aryn Bohannn recorded a double-double as well with 10 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Hannah Sigala produced five total blocks.
MSU raced out to an 8-2 advantage in the opening set and eventually pushed its lead to 17-7. Morehead State took its largest lead at 24-12. The Eagles hit .414 in the first frame and held the Lady Vols to negative-.051.
Tennessee vaulted to a 10-1 lead in the second stanza before an 8-3 MSU run. The Lady Vols pushed their advantage to 18-12, but MSU rallied again and pulled to within 20-17. The Eagles trailed just 24-23, but a net violation gave UT the deciding point. MSU hit .154 and limited Tennessee to .049.
The Lady Vols landed 12 kills and made just three errors, while the Eagles committed eight attack miscues in the third set. Despite tying the contest late at 22, the Eagles saw UT score the final three points.
The Eagles put together a 9-1 run to end the fourth frame. Tied at 16, MSU rattled off eight consecutive points to distance itself for the set victory. The teams combined for 18 attack errors.
The teams traded scores in the deciding set before the Eagles pushed ahead 12-11. The Lady Vols scored the final four points though, including two blocks and an MSU attack error. The Eagles held advantages in kills (55-42), hitting percentage (.117-.050), digs (90-84) and aces (6-4).
Morehead State continues tournament action against Butler tonight (August 30).