Kayla Jeter leads Lady Vols rally for 3-2 volleyball win over Georgia

When it comes to recovering from a serious injury, there's back and then there's really back.

Kayla Jeter is really back.

Jeter launched a career-high 27 kills Sunday as Tennessee dug deep and overcame an 0-2 start to beat Georgia 3-2 in volleyball at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Georgia (9-7, 3-4 SEC) took the first two sets, 26-24, 25-16.

Tennessee (11-6, 4-3 SEC) avoided a sweep with a 25-22 win, got even at 25-21 and scrapped for the clincher, 16-14.

Jeter, the fifth-year senior from Ohio, was virtually unstoppable in the final two sets as the Lady Vols avoided another puzzling home court loss in a season that hasn't gone as well as expected.

"She was an MVP today,'' said UT coach Rob Patrick. "You can't have a better team player than a young lady who can hit these type of numbers.

"She was incredible.''

Jeter's 27 kills were weighed against only three errors for a .444 hitting percentage. Her previous high was 23 kills way back in 2009.

A first-team All-SEC player in 2010, Jeter was especially pumped when the 2011 season opened.

"It was senior year,'' she said. "It was like this is my year to go. I'm on the poster. I was so excited about it.''

An early season-ending knee injury drained the excitement. She was a spectator as the Lady Vols went on to win the SEC with a 19-1 record.

Jeter was back in shape for the 2012 opener, but any semblance of All-SEC form eluded her.

"I was still trying to figure out my spot on the court,'' she said. "We didn't know where I was comfortable. I didn't know where I was comfortable.''

As evidenced Sunday, she's comfortable back at outside hitter.

Jeter's re-emergence was vital, considering Kelsey Robinson's slump.

The 2011 SEC player of the year was used in only two of five sets Friday in a win over Missouri. She appeared briefly in the second set Sunday.

Robinson, a junior, began the weekend needing just nine kills to reach the 1,000 club for her career. She had one Friday and zero Sunday.

"She's not benched,'' Patrick said. "We have four fantastic pin hitters and we have to make decisions on who's gonna be a better match.''

Jeter and Tiffany Baker (17 kills) came through Sunday. Two Baker kills provided the final points to break a 14-14 tie in the fifth set to complete the comeback.

"Being able to be back with the girls,'' said Jeter, "fighting through games like this really makes it worthwhile for me.''

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 1

waldeen_hinson#435189 writes:

So proud of you girls!! Keep the winning streak going and take care of LSU this Wednesday!! I'll be watching you.


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