Ellen Mullins set the school record for most digs in a season on Senior Day as the season ended for the Tennessee volleyball team on Saturday in a 25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 21-25 loss to Mississippi State at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Mullins had 15 digs to finish the season with 640. It was the fifth record of the season for the senior.
Last week she became the school’s all-time career leader in digs. She finishes her UT career with 1,801.
“I’m very proud of Ellen for the hard work that she’s put in here for four years,” Lady Vols coach Rob Patrick said in a UT release. “She’s worked very hard to produce the records that she has. Someone who holds five different records in anyone’s record books is one of the all-time greats for that program and Ellen has definitely been an all-time great for us. Not only just this past year, but for her whole career. We have been very blessed and honored to have her as a part of this program and I have been blessed and honored to have coached her for four years.”
The Lady Vols (9-23, 1-17 SEC) finished last in the SEC standings, and their record will go down as the second worst in school history. Patrick won five SEC games in his first season with the Lady Vols in 1997 for his previous lowest total. UT was 0-14 in the SEC and 7-25 overall in 1995 under Julie Hermann.
Senior Whitney Heeres also played her final match with the Lady Vols and had a team-best and career-high 15 kills with one solo block against the Bulldogs (12-20, 3-15).
“In the short time that she’s been here with us at UT, Whitney Heeres has made a huge impact on our program,” Patrick said. “She’s one of the people who really bought into what Tennessee volleyball is all about. I wish I was able to coach her for a longer period of time because she is a tremendous volleyball player and an even better person. We didn’t get to see her full complement of what she can do on the volleyball court due to the short time she was here and also because of her injury. She is someone who has impacted us in a very positive way and I’ve been very lucky to have been able to coach her and been around for her graduation from Tennessee.”
Freshman Ashley Mariani had 12 kills and freshman Jamie Lea added 10. Mariani recorded a career-high 19 digs, while junior Nikki Brice added 14 and freshman Bridgette Villano scooped up 12. Sophomore setter Lexi Dempsey dished out 42 assists with five digs.