No. 18 Wildcats Fall to Missouri on Sunday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 18th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team dropped a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-19) decision to visiting Missouri on Sunday in front of 2,698 fans clad in Blue and White. During the match, senior Anni Thomasson became the sixth player in the 25-point rally scoring era in program history to top 1,000 career digs. She achieved the milestone with five scoops in the fifth frame.
Kentucky falls to 18-6 overall and 11-2 in league play. Missouri improves to 21-4 and 12-1 against Southeastern Conference foes. The Wildcats have little time to rest as the team will return to action on the road at Arkansas on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. ET first serve on the SEC Network.
“We had a great crowd today that was into the match,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “The crowd kept giving us everything they got. Credit to Missouri for having a fantastic match offensively. Offensively we were doing okay, but we just need to do a better job defensively. One block during the match is uncharacteristic of us."
Kentucky was paced offensively by 15 kills from freshman Leah Edmond. She also added an ace and five digs. Junior Darian Mack posted nine kills. Junior Emily Franklin chipped in with five kills, while Thomasson, junior Kaz Brown and senior Sharay Barnes added four apiece.
Junior libero Ashley Dusek notched a match-high 14 digs and contributed five assists. Setter Olivia Dailey dished out 37 assists and added seven digs. Sophomore McKenzie Watson added three digs and classmate Brooke Morgan had a kill in her first action in more than a week.
Edmond tooled the block to open the scoring, but the Tigers followed right back with a kill of their own. Two of the SEC’s leaders would exchange points until the visitors shook loose for two straight to make the score 9-7 in favor of Mizzou. Edmond would snap the run immediately with a cross-court shot. Missouri’s lead stretched to three at 12-9 after an extensive rally featuring great plays on both sides of the net. At the media timeout, Missouri owned a 15-13 edge and would maintain that advantage en route to a 25-18 opening-set victory. The Tigers benefited from five UK service errors in the frame as Mizzou posted 13 kills on .480 hitting, while UK managed 14 kills on a .312 clip. Edmond led the way with five kills, while Thomasson had five digs. The five digs pushed Thomasson passed 1,000 for her career.
Edmond once again opened the scoring in the set with a shot that was placed beautifully into the back corner. But, just like the first set – Mizzou answered right back and a back-and-forth battle ensued. Dailey pushed UK’s lead to two at 4-2 with a crafty kill. The Tigers would eventually come back to tie the score at six apiece. Missouri would eventually claim its first lead of the set at 9-8. The lead would eventually swell to three at 13-10. Following a UK timeout, the Tigers served the ball into the net to quell the run and Mack came up with a kill to bring the Cats back to within one. The visitors would respond with another two-point spurt to once again capture a multi-point lead. A kill and then a block from Mack enabled the Wildcats to knot the score at 15 all, forcing the Tigers into a timeout. A string of three-straight points from Mizzou enabled the visitors to once again control a three-point edge at 19-16. It would be all the more breathing room the Tigers would need to claim a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead in the match. Kentucky registered 17 kills for a .302 percentage, but Mizzou had 21 on a .413 average. Edmond topped double figures in the kills column, while Dusek had seven digs in the frame.
Missouri wasted little time in jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. The lead would increase to four at 7-3. An ace from Dusek capped a 4-0 burst by the home team to pull to within one at 7-6. At the media timeout, Missouri owned a two-point lead 15-13, despite UK pulling to within one on multiple occasions. Out of the break, Mizzou scored the first two points to enable the lead to stretch to four at 17-13. Missouri would claim the match by a 25-19 third set victory for the sweep. The Tigers logged 12 kills on .258 hitting, while UK posted 12 with a .161 attacking percentage.
BY THE NUMBERS
1,007 – Number of career digs for senior Anni Thomasson after she logged 11 in today’s match
20 – Total number of matches freshman Leah Edmond has paced UK’s attack
13 – Straight matches Ashley Dusek has posted double-digit digs