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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

No. 11 Tennessee edges No. 20 Florida in five sets

24 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A career night from Jenaisya Moore lifted the No. 11 Tennessee Lady Vols to the win in an epic five-set thriller (23-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13) against 20th-ranked Florida on Friday night at Exactech Arena.

Moore, a graduate student outside hitter, recorded her second double-double of the year, finishing with a career-high-tying 23 kills on .388 hitting, a personal-best 16 digs and three blocks. During the final frame, she had six kills to lead the Lady Vols (19-3, 10-2 SEC) to their first victory in Gainesville since another five setter on Nov. 4, 2011.

Junior outside hitter Erykah Lovett also posted a double-double, notching her sixth of the season with 15 digs and 12 kills. Graduate student right side Morgahn Fingall had an all-around performance with 17 kills, eight digs, five blocks, two assists and one ace. Redshirt freshman setter Caroline Kerr narrowly missed a double-double, posting 53 assists and nine digs on the day. It was the third 50-assist match of her career.

Defensively, graduate student libero Yelianiz Torres tallied a team-best 21 digs and three assists from the back row. At the net, graduate student middle blocker Raeven Chase recorded a match-high six blocks and seven kills, while sophomore middle blocker Keondreya Granberry added four kills and three blocks.

The match featured eight lead changes and 27 ties. Tennessee won the battle defensively, outblocking the Gators (14-6, 6-5 SEC) 12 to seven on the day and tallying 71 digs to Florida's 67. UT hit .256 for the contest and finished with 65 kills.

The first set was a story of runs. Tennessee opened on a 6-2 swing, but the Gators answered with a 10-3 run of their own. The Lady Vols responded by winning seven of the next nine points to go up 16-14, but Florida followed it up by taking nine of the next 11 points. UT made a late push, but the hole was too deep to climb out of. Despite hitting .000 for the frame with nine attacking errors, the Lady Vols narrowly dropped the set, 25-23. Moore had four kills and three digs, while Chase added three blocks and two kills to lead Tennessee.

The second set was all Lady Vols thanks to an impressive offensive display and converting on 14 of their 15 sideout opportunities. The Big Orange outhit UF .485 to .128 in the frame, while Fingall had six kills to pace the offense. Tennessee jumped out to an 8-3 advantage and never trailed throughout the duration of the period to even the match at 1-1.

After both teams went back and forth to open the third frame, the Gators used a 4-0 run to pull ahead 11-7 and forced UT to take a timeout. UT fought hard but never pulled closer than three points the rest of the set, as Florida hit .385 to retake the lead.

In the fourth set, the Lady Vols scrapped, clawed and battled the entire frame. With the match on the line, the Big Orange was resilient and forced the fifth set thanks to six kills from Fingall and four from Moore.

Down to the final frame, Florida scored the opening point of the set, but Tennessee responded by winning five of the seven points to go ahead 5-3. From there, the Big Orange put continued to put the pressure on the Gators, using another 5-3 run to take a 10-6 advantage. UF answered with a 5-1 swing of its own to pull even at 11-11. Tennessee wouldn't be denied, though, completing the comeback victory after a Florida serve sailed long on the final point of the match. Moore fueled the offense with six kills on .750 hitting to seal the win.

Up Next
The Lady Vols return to Food City Center for a pair of home matches against Georgia and Ole Miss. UT opens with a Friday night contest against the Bulldogs at 6:30 before taking on the Rebels for a 2 p.m. matchup on Sunday. Both matchups will be streamed on SEC Network+.