Balanced Attack Gives Kentucky First SEC Win in Sweep of Georgia
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky volleyball team began Southeastern Conference play the same way it ended the non-conference slate, with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-14) sweep of Georgia on Wednesday night in Memorial Coliseum in front of 1,291 fans.
The UK defense was in top form, holding the Bulldogs to a .043 hitting percentage and racking up 52 digs during the contest. Georgia only managed 20 kills in the sweep and committed 16 errors. Senior Anni Thomasson led the way with a season-high 14 digs while junior Ashley Dusek followed with 13 of her own. Thomasson added a service ace, while Dusek also scored twice by way of an ace.
“Our defense was very good tonight, holding an SEC team to 10 kills in two sets is pretty impressive,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “We didn’t block a ton of balls, but we channeled the ball to our diggers. Playing floor defense that well is good for us.”
The UK offense kept pace with the defense, notching a three-set season-high 48 kills while hitting .268 during the contest. Freshman Leah Edmond once again paced the Wildcats’ attack with 16 kills on 34 attempts. The outside hitter also added nine digs and two blocks.
Junior Kaz Brown was also heavily involved in the offense. Brown racked up a season-best 13 kills on 19 attempts, hitting .579 while committing just two errors. The junior added five block assists, moving her to second all-time in the 25-point rally era school history with 296.
Setter Olivia Dailey facilitated the offense from the floor with 40 assists. Dailey is just the fifth player in Wildcat history to contribute multiple 40+ assist contests.
Kentucky had seven players contribute offensively with kills led by Edmond and Brown’s double-figure outputs. Sophomore Brooke Morgan and junior Emily Franklin both contributed six, while junior Darian Mack added four. Morgan had a trio of blocks to add to the defensive effort.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 8-4 on the year and 1-0 in SEC play while Georgia drops to 12-2 and 0-1 in the SEC. UK will be back in action on Sunday to take on Mississippi State at 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
After starting the match with two kills from Franklin and Edmond, neither team could gain a commanding lead early on. At the media timeout, the set had already seen six ties and three lead changes. UK went down 17-13, but a Franklin kill off a Dailey assist sparked a momentum swing. The Wildcats ended the set on a 12-2 run that powered to a 25-19 win. Five Wildcats – Brown, Mack, Franklin, Edmond, and Morgan all recorded kills during the frame.
The second set almost mirrored the first. The frame was tied at 8-8, 13-13 and 14-14 before an Edmond kill started an 11-2 stretch helped by five Georgia errors that propelled UK to a 25-16 victory in the second set. Brown led the attack with five kills on just six swings.
Kentucky ran away with the third set to close out its fifth-straight sweep. UGA jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but UK responded to make the match 5-3 and did not look back. After Georgia pulled within two on a kill from Kendall Kazor to make the set 11-9, the Wildcats shut the door with a 7-0 run and allowed just five more UGA points to be scored. Brown earned the match point with a kill off an assist from Dailey.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – Number of 40+ assist matches from Olivia Dailey in her first season as a starting setter
5 – The win marks the fifth-straight sweep from the Wildcats
7 – Number of Wildcats with a kill
14 – Season-high digs from senior Anni Thomasson
Single-match and season tickets for the 2016 campaign are on sale now. Season tickets begin at $35, and single-match ticket information can be found here. More information on how to buy tickets can be found here or by calling the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-CATS.