Knoxville, Tenn. – Jamila Johnson put down a career-high 28 kills, but it was not enough, as Tennessee outlasted Furman 3-2 on Saturday night in the finale of the 2017 Rocky Top Invitational. The loss drops the Paladins to 6-7 at the close of non-conference play.
Johnson's match-high 28 kills surpassed her previous high of 26, set earlier this season at Georgia Tech. She also added 18 digs on the night for one of Furman's two double-doubles. Hunter Thompson had the other with 48 assists and 13 digs. Johnson was named to the All-Tournament team, her fourth all-tournament nod of the season.
The teams traded points early in the first set, until Furman used a 7-1 run to take a 15-10 lead. Furman and Tennessee continued to trade points until a kill by Thompson gave the Paladins a 20-14 lead, prompting the Vols to use their final timeout of the set. Tennessee used a 5-1 run of its own to cut the lead to two at 21-19 and 22-20, but Furman ended the set with three-straight points, capped off by a solo block by Hoffman, to take set one, 25-20.
After the Vols took set two, 25-10, the teams traded points in the early part of set three. A kill by Mack, followed by a block and a kill by Campbell gave the Paladins a 9-8 lead and forced Tennessee to call a timeout. Later in the set, Furman used a kill by Mack, back-to-back aces by Abbey Crawford and a second kill by Mack to take a 16-13 lead. Tennessee cut the lead to one at 17-16, but the Paladins pushed it back to four on two kills by Johnson. Tennessee couldn't overcome the deficit, as the Paladins took set three, 25-22, for a 2-1 match lead.
The teams traded points early in set four, until Meg DeMaar served the Paladins on a 4-0 run to give the Paladins the 9-7 advantage. Furman pushed the lead to four at 14-10, but Tennessee used a 7-2 run to take a 17-16 lead, forcing the Paladins to call a timeout. The teams traded points out of the timeout, until Tennessee took a 22-20 lead and Furman called its final timeout of the set. Gabby Howard put down two kills out of the timeout and the Paladins capitalized on a UT error to tie the set at 23 and force Tennessee to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Vols used a kill and a block to take set four, 25-23, and send the match to a deciding fifth set.
Tennessee opened a 6-2 lead in the fifth, but the Paladins battled back to cut the lead to one at 7-6. The Vols then used a 3-0 run to stretch the lead to 10-6, forcing Furman to call a timeout. Tennessee ended the match on a 5-1 run to take set five, 15-7, and the match, 3-2.
The Paladins are back in action on Wednesday, September 20, opening SoCon play at Wofford.