The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team (0-4) fell 3-0 Thursday night to the Tennessee Lady Vols (3-1) in front of a record crowd of 1532 in the first match of the Country Inns & Suites Invitational. Tennessee topped the Mocs 25-11, 25-22 and 25-21 in its three sets.
The crowd of 1532 is the largest crowd in program history to watch a Mocs volleyball match, topping the previous record of 1311 against the Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla.
“It’s a tough loss for us, but it’s hard to be disappointed,” Head Coach Travis Filar said. “We had an amazing crowd tonight and they really got behind our team when we needed it most. The city of Chattanooga and the students of UTC were great tonight, and I saw a lot of things we did well on the court as a team.”
Sophomore Briana Reid (Houston, Texas), normally an outside hitter, was called upon to fill the role of setter and did not miss a beat. The Texas native led the Mocs with 18 assists and totaled 12 digs, en route to her third double-double of the season.
“This isn’t the result we wanted, but the atmosphere was phenominal,” Reid said. “The fans gave us a lot of energy tonight and I believe we played well. We are a team that doesn’t give up, even when the score isn’t in our favor.”
The Lady Vols jumped out to a dominating lead in the first set with a 25-11 final. Tennessee racked up four quick points before the Mocs could get a word in edge-wise, but it didn’t take long for Chattanooga to get fired up in crowded Maclellan Gym.
In front of a “Packed Mac,” Chattanooga and Tennessee edged neck-and-neck to the finish in the second frame. Leading by as many as five points, UT saw the Mocs attack swiftly with five quick points to tie the stanza 20-20. Chattanooga took a brief 22-21 lead late, but Tennessee edged back to the front and took the competition 25-22.
The third set of the match did not lack dramatics either as Tennessee garnered a 10-4 lead out of the gate. Finding themselves in the same place they were most of the night, the Mocs climbed out of the cellar and jumped out to a lead over the Lady Vols. Ten of the next 12 points were awarded to UTC, putting the Mocs up 15-13 and forcing Tennessee Head Coach Rob Patrick to call a timeout.
Tennessee went on to strike a six-point streak and take the match-set 25-21.
Reid led the Mocs with 10 points, adding three kills to the total, while freshman Allie Davenport (Tyrone, Ga.) took charge of the offense with eight kills. Sophomores Julimar Alvarado (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and Sarah Batterton (Colbert, Wash.) along with freshman Kendall Sexton (Orlando, Fla.) tallied five kills.
Sophomore libero Catherine Chason (Alpharetta, Ga.) led Chattanooga with 13 digs while Sexton totaled four blocks – two solo and two assisted – to represent the Mocs on the net. Junior Kasey Talley (Boiling Springs, S.C.) and Davenport each recorded two service aces.
The Country Inns & Suites Invitational continues tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. with Charlotte taking on UT Martin. The Mocs play again at 7 p.m. in a matchup with Charlotte.