KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Ole Miss volleyball team continued its strong offensive play of late, and paired that with another impressive defensive performance to notch its second-straight road victory. Led by four double-digit kill performances and another double-double from freshman setter Aubrey Edie, the Rebels defeated Tennessee 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-18) Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the Lady Vols.
The Rebels’ victory gave Ole Miss its first season sweep of Tennessee since 2007. Ole Miss topped Tennessee 3-1 on Oct. 18 in Oxford.
“Being on this long road stretch, I was really pleased with how the team responded tonight,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We’ve talked all season about clicking on all cylinders, and we’re starting to do that. We’re hitting well and we’re digging well.”
Edie’s double-double was her team-high sixth of the season, and her second in as many matches. The Fayetteville, Ark., native finished the match with 47 assists, one shy of her season high, and 10 digs. Freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow led Ole Miss offensively with a career-high 16 kills and five block assists. Sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair, who had a career-high 19 kills Wednesday night in a 3-1 victory at Mississippi State, hammered down 15 kills Friday at Tennessee. Fellow sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte had 11 kills, two solo blocks and five block assists, while senior outside hitter Kara Morgan had 10 kills on a season-best .526 clip, and eight digs.
Defensively, Ole Miss held Tennessee to a .142 attacking percentage, had 11.0 total blocks and out-dug the Lady Vols 50-40. Junior libero Cara Fisher, who had a career-high 17 digs Wednesday at Mississippi State, tallied a team-high 11 digs Friday against the Lady Vols.
Ole Miss (13-12, 3-9 Southeastern Conference) trailed for the majority of the first set, but stayed within striking distance throughout. That tenacity paid dividends as the Rebels went on a 3-0 run to take their first lead of the set at 20-19. Following a Tennessee timeout, Ole Miss scored two of the next three points and forced the Lady Vols (9-17, 1-11 SEC) into their second timeout of the set. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, the Lady Vols got hot from there, closing out the set on a 5-1 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-23 first-set victory. Clair had six kills in the opening sets, and Edie passed out 11 assists.
Similar to the first set, Ole Miss stayed close to the Lady Vols after Tennessee jumped out to an early lead, and again used a 3-0 run to take its first lead of the set at 13-12. After the Rebels extended their lead to three at 18-15, Tennessee called its first timeout of the set. The Rebels continued their strong play after the timeout break, and evened the match at one set apiece with a 25-18 win in the second set. Edie shined in the second set for Ole Miss, accumulating 13 assists, three digs, one kill and one block assist. As a team, Ole Miss hit at a .312 clip in the set.
Ole Miss got off to a strong start in the third set, and never trailed en route to taking a 2-1 lead in the match with a convincing 25-14 victory. Ole Miss hit at a fantastic .632 clip in the third set, highlighted by four kills each from Clair and Crow, and 10 assists from Edie. The Rebels’ .632 hitting percentage, in which they notched 14 kills on 19 attempts with just two errors, was their highest clip in a set this season.
Ole Miss continued its impressive play in the fourth set by hitting at a .317 clip and cruised to a 25-18 victory to seal the match. Crow had a set-high six kills in the final game, and Edie passed out another 13 assists to go with her six digs.
The Rebels return home Sunday for their first home match since Oct. 20. It will be the first and only matchup of the season between Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The Aggies, as a team, entered the weekend ranked in the top-five in the league in hitting percentage (.244), assists (13.32 per set), kills (14.29 per set) and digs (15.70 per set). At the net, redshirt-freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers is second in the league in blocks, averaging 1.23 blocks per set.
Sunday is also Military Appreciation Day at the Gillom Sports Center. Retired and currently active military members will receive two free football tickets to the Ole Miss football game against Troy scheduled for Nov. 16.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including recaps, live stats and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can also follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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