Many Kentucky fans will tell you that they don’t like Tennessee very much. But for Kentucky volleyball player Erin Lamb, she loves Tennessee. Or, at least, she likes to play against them.
Lamb came off the bench Wednesday night to spur the Cats to a four-set victory over the Vols inside the Memorial Coliseum. The second had nine kills and four errors on 18 swings (.278 hitting percentage). For Lamb, it was the most wins she had in a game in over a month.
Last season at Tennessee, Lamb was called up to start for injured Madi Skinner. Lamb not only filled the role, she excelled at it. She recorded 12 kills in three sets, leading the Cats to a shorthanded sweep of the Vols in Knoxville.
Heading into this year’s game against the Vols, Lamb played sparingly. In fact, in Kentucky’s four games before Wednesday, Lamb hadn’t played at all.
But there’s something about that orange that brings out the best in the Stewartville, Minnesota native. Even Lamb has trouble explaining it.
“I don’t know. I don’t really have an answer,” Lamb said after Wednesday’s game. “The orange? I don’t know.
In Wednesday’s match, Lamb was good in all three sets she played, but she was exceptional in the third set. In this set, she landed seven solo kills and one block. For Lamb, it was just about taking advantage of the opportunity presented to him.
“I’m just going to stay straight for my next opportunity, no matter what it is,” Lamb said. “It’s fun that Haley (Melby) and I can fight every day in practice and improve each other. It makes me better, it makes her better. And then every day in training I give everything I have for the other team and also work for my next opportunity.
Britain’s head coach Craig Skinner was unaware that Lamb had seven kills in a set. He also wasn’t surprised to see her excel when given a chance.
“Seven is a lot,” Skinner said. “But she’s been training really well, so I knew she’d be ready when she got that next chance.”
Skinner knows the Southeastern Conference is much deeper this season, which makes every game tough. Wednesday’s win over Tennessee was no exception.
“All good wins in this league this year,” Skinner said. “You can never be too comfortable. Satisfied with victory. We’ve almost had five players in double-digit eliminations and that’s rare. So, good offensive evening.
Lamb can be an important cog in the British attack heading into the playoffs. Especially if she imagines herself playing against Tennessee.