Kentucky Coasts to Win Over Wyoming
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – With an intimidating defense and blistering hot attack, the No. 24 Kentucky Wildcats cruised past the Wyoming Cowgirls for their first win of the season, 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-10) in Holloway Gymnasium on Friday evening.
Kentucky was impeccable on both ends of the ball, with five players registering five or more kills on the offensive end. The team hit a red-hot .354 for the match. On defense, UK was equally impressive, intimidating Wyoming and holding the Cowgirls to a measly .075 percentage. Three Cowgirls ended the match with more errors than kills.
“I’m glad we got to iron out a few things during the match,” 12th-season head coach Craig Skinner commented following the sweep. “I thought we did a better job on defense and played much cleaner volleyball. It allowed our offense to click more, which should help us to keep finding a better rhythm tomorrow.”
With the victory, Kentucky evens its record to 1-1 on the season, while Wyoming falls to 0-2. The Wildcats will play again tomorrow in the tournament’s final match – a top 25 bout against host No. 20 Purdue.
Freshman Leah Edmond shined again for the Cats, leading the team in kills for the second match in a row, this time with 11. In addition to her match-high kill number, she led the team’s high-volume hitters in efficiency at a .476 clip. Junior Darian Mack joined Edmond in double figures with 10 kills after shaking off a rocky start. The Raleigh, North Carolina, native added three digs and two blocks. Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey guided the team to its .354 hitting percentage, posting 31 assists while going a perfect five-for-five on attacking attempts and adding a team-best three blocks and two aces.
Sophomore opposite Brooke Morgan made an impact off the bench, adding six kills, while junior middle blocker Emily Franklin added five and a pair of digs. All-Southeastern Conference middle blocker Kaz Brown contributed four kills and three blocks in the match. Senior outside Anni Thomasson tacked on three kill and four digs in the outing.
Following the match, members of the team were honored by Purdue’s Mortar Board honor society for its accomplishments off of the court. Hempel took home honors for the team’s top GPA, Watson was acknowledged for the team’s most improved GPA and Thomasson received credit for leading the team in community service efforts.
Kentucky and Wyoming traded small runs to an 8-8 tie early on. The Wildcats then opened up a 4-0 tear, powered by kills from Thomasson and Mack, as well as an ace from the senior and a block from Brown to take a 12-8 lead. The Cowgirls called timeout and the teams traded points to a 13-11 UK score. Wyoming then opened a small 3-1 run, when Kentucky called a timeout of their own. An ace from Watson and kills from Morgan and Edmond guided UK to a 20-15 lead, forcing Wyoming to use its second break. Wyoming tacked on two points before a hammer from Brown put UK back on track at 22-17. Mack and Edmond added kills before an attacking error from the Cowgirls awarded Kentucky the first set, 25-19.
The sides swapped points in the beginning of the match to a 4-4 tie before Wyoming made a 3-1 run to take an 8-5 advantage. A kill from Mack helped pull the Wildcats within one before three more points from Wyoming led to a Kentucky timeout, trailing 11-7. UK didn’t look back, as a 5-1 run powered by Thomasson, Edmond and Mack tied the set at 12 apiece. From there, neither team led by more than two before the teams tied once again at 20-20. Kentucky went on to take five of the final six points, with Morgan hammering down back-to-back kills to close the frame, 25-21.
The third set was all Kentucky from the beginning, and the Cats never looked back. Kills from Edmond, Franklin and a pair from Dailey launched UK to an early 5-1 lead. Following a Wyoming timeout the Cowgirls managed to put up two more points before Kentucky hit a 10-3 lead, powered by Mack’s breakout third set. A stingy Cats defense led Wyoming to a pair of errors before kills from Edmond and Thomasson gave UK the lead, 15-5. The two sides traded points until another one of Mack’s kills gave Kentucky a 22-9 edge. The Wildcats took five of the six final points, as a kill from Brown closed out the match, 25-10.
BY THE NUMBERS
.354 – Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey had an exceptional day, guiding UK’s offense to a .354 clip.
20 – Ashley Dusek took firm control of the passing game, racking up 20 digs in the three-set match.
5 – UK saw five players with five or more kills: Edmond (11), Mack (10), Morgan (6), Franklin (5) and Dailey (5).
3 – Kentucky is now 3-0 all-time against Wyoming.
.000 – Kentucky’s imposing defense held Wyoming to .000 hitting in the second set.
Single-match and season tickets for the 2015 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.