Sept. 10, 2010
Northwestern 3, No. 14 Tennessee 2
Site: Convocation Center Athens, Ohio
Records: Northwestern (5-1), Tennessee (6-1)
Up Next: vs. Pittsburgh 4 p.m. CT
Northwestern vs. Tennessee Box Score
2010 Northwestern Volleyball Statistics
ATHENS, Ohio -- In one of the most dramatic comebacks in program history, Northwestern rallied from a 2-0 deficit to stun 14th-ranked Tennessee 19-25, 17-25, 25-8, 26-24, 15-11 at the Baymont Inn Suites Invitational. The Wildcats handed the Lady Vols their first loss of the season while improving to 5-1 on the year.
"What an unbelievable match," said head coach Keylor Chan following the victory. "This is definitely one of the most memorable of my career. Tennessee is an amazing team, and to play as well as we did, it's a great win for these girls. Its one that has been a long time coming. And to do it in the way we did (rallying from a 2-0 deficit) makes it even more incredible."
The victory marks the first time Northwestern has rallied from a 2-0 deficit since a 3-2 victory against 15th-ranked Purdue on Nov. 4, 2005. Prior to that, the last 2-0 rally came against Michigan State in 1993.
After dropping two closely contested sets to open up the match, Northwestern responded in a major way, routing Tennessee 25-8 in the third behind an 18-3 run to close out the set. The Wildcats would tally the final seven points, with a block from Sabel Moffett (Temecula, Calif./Chapparal) and Stephanie Holthus (Burlington, Ill./Central) sealing it.
It looked as if the rally would come up short in set four as the Lady Vols built an 18-12 lead and appeared in control. But the Wildcats once again responded in a major way, taking 11 of the next 14 points to build a 23-21 edge late. Northwestern led 24-22, only to see Tennessee fight off two set points to tie it up at 24, but kills from Naomi Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) forced a decisive fifth set.
The Wildcats and Vols exchanged points throughout the fifth set before a 3-0 run gave Northwestern an 11-8 advantage. Leading 14-9, Tennessee mounted one last rally and pulled to within three at 14-11, but a kill from Johnson completed the historic comeback, giving Northwestern its first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating 17th-ranked Illinois in 2008.
Moffett once again led the Northwestern attack with 14 kills and .480 hitting percentage while adding six blocks. Johnson posted 12 kills, two service aces and two blocks for the Wildcats with Holthus and Christina Kaelin (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) adding 11 kills apiece. Holthus added 10 digs and four blocks as well for Northwestern.
Elyse Glab (Chicago, Ill./Resurrection) notched a double-double on the morning, dishing out 50 assists while notching a team-best 13 digs with a pair of blocks. Alex Ayers (Playa del Rey, Calif./Marymount) added 11 digs for the Wildcats as well.
Northwestern will have little time to savor the historic win as the Wildcats will be back on the court in Athens at 4 p.m., taking on Pittsburgh out of the Big East. Gametracker live stats of the match against the Panthers will be available at NUsports.com.
Northwestern improved to 5-2 all-time against Tennessee, having won four of the last five meetings against the Lady Vols.
The Wildcats improve to 2-0 against Southeastern Conference opponents this year, defeating Mississippi 3-1 at last weekend's Northwestern Challenge.
The 25-8 loss in set three was the first set Tennessee had dropped all season, winning its previous 20.
Gabrielle Gray (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) made her Northwestern debut, recording three kills on five attempts with no errors.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats! -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter and become a fan of Northwestern Volleyball on Facebook! Get the latest news, schedule updates, video and interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!