KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -The 21st Tennessee women’s volleyball team defeated Arkansas (31-33, 25-19, 25-21, 25-14) in a four-set showdown Saturday at the Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee’s defense (9-2, 1-0 sec) shut down Arkansas (10-2, 1-1 SEC) as it limited the Hogs to one.087 hit rate and 21 blocks as a team. The 21 blocks of the UT equate to fifth place in program history during the rally scoring era.
Natalie Hayward played brilliantly for the Lady Vols in the win, recording a career-best nine disposals, 38 assists and 19 digs. Hayward also reached a peak in his career.750.
Breana Runnels led Tennessee with 15 disposals, while Ava Bell recorded 11.
The defense was led by Danielle Mahaffey who had a career high with 12 total blocks. Morgan Fingall also set a new career high in blocks by finishing with nine.
Madison Bryant took a team-high 22 digs in the win.
In a back-and-forth first set, Arkansas defeated Tennessee 33-31. The Lady Vols strike struggled to go in first, committing 11 offense errors and hitting just.052. UT counted eight blocks in total to keep itself alive.
Arkansas ‘ Jillian Gillen totaled seven sales in the first set and scored the final finish that won the first for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas quickly took an 8-2 lead in the second set, but Tennessee fought back and rallied to win the set 25-19. Tennessee choked the Razorbacks ‘ strike, held them to a .051 stroke rate.
UT got five more blocks in the set, while Runnels and Bell each counted four disposals to lead the Lady Vols to the second set win.
Orange and White won in the third set, defeating the Hogs 25-21 behind four more Runnels and Bell eliminations and six blocks.
Hayward made five of her nine sales in the fourth set as she led UT to a 25-14 victory in the deciding set. Tennessee hit a light bulb.500 and held the Razorbacks to one. 033 success rate in the last set.
Tennessee returns to the field Sunday to close the two-game series against Arkansas. The first shift is set at noon ET. The match can also be seen on the SEC Network.