Tennessee falls to Ohio State, rebounded from NCAA tournament | Volleyball
Tennessee’s volleyball playoff journey ended after losing to No.9 Ohio State in four sets (18-25, 25-14.21-25.21-25) in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Tennessee was just one of three SEC teams to advance to the second round of the tournament.
âIt’s a great senior class and they’ve had different backgrounds, but they’ve all been instrumental in what we’ve done as a program,â said head coach Eve Rackham-Watt. âThey were first class kids. It has been a pleasure to train them all and I feel really lucky. They are just a great representation of our program.
Tennessee (20-10.11-7 SEC) finished the night with a 0.250 pass percentage along with 14 star blocks. College graduate Breanna Runnels, with 16 kills and 5 blocks, led the Lady Vols in defeat. Four-year-old Knoxville native Lily Felts was just behind her with 11 kills and 4 digs. Her performance pushed her above the 1,000 kill mark for the Lady Vols.
“They were the best group of players I have ever played with,” Felts said after the game. âBeing able to play with my best friends on the pitch is impossible to say. This group played the highest level Tennessee has seen in a long time and I think every team in the county knew that. “
In the first set, Ohio State hit the ground running, scoring 5 unanswered points before the first timeout. The Lady Vols simply had no response to Buckeyes second-year center tackle Rylee Rader, who finished the set with 3 kills and 2 aces serving.
Although he came down early, Tennessee managed to keep the set competitive with their block. In the first set alone, the Lady Vols managed 6 blocks as a team. In the end, the Lady Vols had a .238 hitting percentage over Ohio State’s .138, but still lost the set 25-18.
Tennessee bounced back in the second set winning 25-14. The Lady Vols – looking to win their first set of the night – fought for every point and eventually racked up a 3-point lead thanks to the eliminations of Felts and Runnels. Tennessee continued the momentum, starting a 6-0 streak halfway through the set and continued to close Ohio State at the net.
The third set saw Ohio State make key adjustments and play more aggressively against the Lady Vols. Buckeyes sophomore Emily Londot and junior Gabby Gonzales managed to get ahead and capitalize on the mistakes made by the Lady Vols.
Tennessee played most of the set behind Ohio State by 3 points, but fought back by one point with Ohio State leading 21-20. The Big Orange were never able to overcome the deficit and abandoned set three 25-21.
Faced with elimination from the tournament, Tennessee needed a victory. The Lady Vols fought back and forth and fought for every end. The set was tied five times in total, but the Lady Vols never managed to take control of the lead. In the end, Ohio State turned out to be too much as they took set four 25-21 to take out the Lady Vols.
âThere were a lot of proud players. We felt like we gave everything we could and we competed hard, âsaid Rackham-Watt after the match. âWe knew Ohio State was a good team. It was hard to lose because it means the end of some careers. I think everyone was proud of our season. We were a long way from the second weekend, which is an elite undertaking. It was dark but everyone was proud.