Sept. 24, 2004
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -
Ole Miss (7-5, 0-1 SEC) opened Southeastern Conference play with a tough task Friday, hitting the road to face 24th-ranked Tennessee (11-1, 1-0 SEC) in the SEC opener for both teams.
The task proved to be too much for the Lady Rebels as the Lady Vols took the conference opener 3-0 (20-30, 23-30, 20-30).
Tricia Eble led the Ole Miss offense as the junior hit .357 on the night, recording seven kills and four blocks on the night. Nikki Hill led the team defensively with 10 digs on the night. No Lady Rebels reached double digits in kills, as the team hit .085 for the night.
"We need to regroup and focus to take on South Carolina on Sunday," said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. "We didn't compete well, and Tennessee is a solid team. We have to learn how to compete better."
The Lady Vols opened the first game with a score when the Lady Rebels were called for a double hit on a set, but Katie Kramer snatched the next point back with a kill for Ole Miss. Tennessee pushed out to a 6-2 lead, but Ole Miss responded and cut the lead to two at 7-5. The two point advantage held for a while, but the Lady Vols pushed ahead at 16-11 and forced the Lady Rebels into a timeout.
Jillian Ohrman slammed home a kill out of the break to get Ole Miss scoring again, but Tennessee pushed ahead more on Lady Rebel miscues to take a six-point edge at 19-13. The Lady Vol lead extended to seven at 26-19 and forced Ole Miss into its second timeout of the game.
The timeout wasn't enough as Tennessee pushed on out to claim the first game 30-20.
Ole Miss took the first two points of the second game, but the Lady Vols roared back to take a 5-3 lead. The two-point edge would hold in favor of Tennessee, as both teams traded points until Ole Miss tied the game at nine. The Lady Vols recaptured the lead immediately on the next three plays to go back ahead 12-9. Ole Miss called timeout when the Tennessee lead crept out to 16-12 on a reception error by the Lady Rebels.
Ole Miss took its second timeout as the Lady Vols extended the lead to 22-14.
Tennessee continued to score out of the break, as Ole Miss backed off of its aggressive attack and mental mistakes began to creep into the game, allowing the Lady Vol lead to continue to grow. The Lady Rebels put the brief Tennessee run behind them for a rally, cutting back into the lead, but it wasn't enough as the Lady Vols took the second game 30-23.
The first two scores of the third game went the way of the Lady Vols, but Nikki Hill responded with a strong attack that sailed off the hand of a Tennessee blocker to put Ole Miss on the board. The Lady Rebels tied it up at three. A service ace from Hill gave the Lady Rebels the lead at 5-4, but it was short lived as the Lady Vols quickly regrouped and took the lead back 9-5 on a five-point run.
Ole Miss cut the lead to one at 9-8, but Tennessee again rallied to push ahead by three.
The three-point edge held in favor of the home team before stretching to 19-14 after Ole Miss stood and watched a Tennessee free-ball fall harmlessly to the floor at the center of the court and force the Lady Rebels into a timeout.
Tennessee continued to build on its lead out of the break, as Ole Miss never found its rhythm again under a relentless attack from the Lady Vols. The Lady Rebels took the second timeout of the game down 24-16.
The Lady Vols took the match with a 30-20 victory in game three, after Ole Miss never found an answer for the Tennessee attack.
Ole Miss will continue Southeastern Conference play on the road at South Carolina on Sunday, when the Lady Rebels take on the Gamecocks at 1 p.m. CST in the Volleyball Competition Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina.