Tennessee (16-13, 10-7 SEC) was slowed down offensively by Alabama as they only managed a .189 for the match and had 46 kills.
Senior Morgan Fingall led all players with 19 kills and added 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the season.
Toney, Alabama, native Jasmine Brooks tallied nine kills for UT while Danielle Mahaffey scored five with four assists.
Second sweeper Ashlyn King tied her career high at age 22.
Alabama (10-19, 4-13 SEC) entered the contest as the SEC’s top team in aces-per-set and used its service line pressure to throw Tennessee off balance — scoring 13 aces.
Abby Marjama led the Crimson Tide with six aces and 18 kills. Sydney Gholson counted three aces, with Victoria Schmer scoring two and Emily Janek and Alyiah Well adding one each.
Sami Jacobs and Wells joined Marjama in double figures as they each racked up 14 kills.
The first set belonged to the Lady Vols, who won 25-22. Fingall (4) and Brooks (3) combined for seven of UT’s 10 kills in the frame. Tennessee held a 14-5 lead in the first game and appeared to be in control, but the Tide worked back to take a 21-20 lead.
A kill from Fingall and back-to-back kills from Brooks put UT back in front and they were able to finish the set and take the lead early in the match.
Alabama finished the match in second, winning 25-21. The Crimson Tide were efficient offensively as they hit .294 on 13 kills. Fingall put down five for the Lady Vols while Marjama scored four for the Crimson Tide.
The third set went long as both teams had chances to win but were unable to convert. Alabama eventually won the frame, 29-27. The Tennessee block worked well as they led five overall, led by Keondreya Granberry and Natalie Hayward assisted with three. Mahaffey and Fingall each assisted on two blocks.
With Tennessee leading 24-20, the Tide made a run to level the set at 24-24 before teams traded points to go 25-25. The Lady Vols then fought off the set point twice but fell in the set.
The Crimson Tide upped the pressure on the service line in the fourth set, hitting five aces to help in the 25-23 win. Neither side had a high batting average — Tennessee .105 and Alabama .098 — but the Tide defeated the Lady Vols 13-10 as they again cleaned up an early deficit to win the set and the match.
Tennessee will return to the court at 6 p.m. ET Friday when they meet Alabama for Game #2 of the series and the final regular season game of the season.