In the highest-profile match of opening day and one of just two between ranked opponents, the 12th-ranked Florida State Seminoles defeated the No. 15 Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team in straight sets, 3-0 (27-25, 25-15,25-21), on Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena to conclude the opening night of the 2012 Comcast Lady Vol Classic.
Junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson led the Orange & White (0-1) with 12 kills and eight digs. Sophomore Tiffany Baker had 11 kills, while hitting at an even .300 clip. Mary Pollmiller, the 2011 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, dished out 26 assists and added seven digs.
Florida State (1-0) jumped out to a 15-10 lead in the opening set of the season, but UT rallied behind Robinson to level the opening frame at 22. Redshirt freshman Mercedes Vaughn and redshirt senior Kayla Jeter, who was playing in her first match since 2010, gave UT a 23-22 lead with a big block.
After two failed set-point chances for the Lady Vols, FSU blocked back-to-back Tennessee attacks to win the frame, 27-25, and take a 1-0 lead in the match. Robinson hit .294 in the first game and put down a set-high seven kills.
Florida State, a 2011 NCAA Final Four participant, used accuracy to take a 14-9 advantage in the second stanza and went into the break with a 2-0 lead after a 25-15 victory in the set. The Seminoles hit a scorching .435 in the game and was led by Elise Walch's four kills and .571 hitting percentage.
With a 2-0 lead in the match, Florida State took control and led 4-1 early in the third set. The Lady Vols were able to level the score at 5-5, but again the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions rallied to extend their lead to 14-11. Baker and redshirt senior DeeDee Harrison strung together consecutive kills to cut the Seminoles' lead to 22-20 late, but FSU would score three of the last four points to finish the set, 25-21, and clinch the match in straight sets.
Errors plagued Tennessee off and on during the match, particularly in the service game. UT committed 17 service errors in the match.
It was UT's first season opening home loss since 1978 and first season debut loss since 2007 - when the Lady Vols dropped a three-set decision against then-No. 1 Nebraska. It was also the first time Tennessee had been swept at home since losing in three frames to then-No. 11 Minnesota in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Championship.
No. 10 Iowa State shutout Cincinnati, 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-20), in the opening match of the tournament.
Comcast Lady Vol Classic action resumes on Saturday morning when the Lady Vols take on Cincinnati at 10 a.m. Iowa State will play FSU at noon and the Seminoles will take on the Bearcats at 5:30 p.m. UT concludes the event at 7:30 p.m. against the 10th-ranked Cyclones.