No. 19 Wildcats Suffer Tough Road Loss at Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In a tough, late night outing, the No. 19 Kentucky Wildcats fell to No. 25 Texas A&M, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 24-26), Wednesday at Reed Arena. The loss marked the first time the Wildcats have been swept in Southeastern conference play.

“Give credit to Texas A&M for making adjustments as the match went on,” said 11th-year head coach Craig Skinner. “They did the right things to win and we have to find a way to execute here moving forward.”

With the loss, Kentucky moves to 18-9 on the season with an 11-4 mark in league play. Texas A&M sits at 20-6 and a 13-2 record in SEC action. The Blue and White look to recover from the two-game skid on Sunday, Nov. 22 for a 2:30 p.m. matchup with LSU in Baton Rouge, La. 

Four Wildcats registered eight kills in the outing in junior Anni Thomasson, sophomores Kaz Brown and Darian Mack and freshman Brooke Morgan. Morgan led the team in hitting percentage on 10 or more swings with a .312 clip. She added three blocks. Thomasson tacked on nine digs while adding two aces. Mack had 12 digs and two blocks, while Brown added two blocks as well. Sophomore Emily Franklin had seven kills along with two aces and a team-best six blocks. Senior Sara Schwarzwalder added a kill during the second set.

Both senior Morgan Bergren and freshman Olivia Dailey saw time at setter. Bergren notched 21 assists along with four digs, two blocks and two kills. Dailey had 11 assists in the match, adding an ace and three digs. Sophomore libero Ashley Dusek guided the back line with a match-high 16 digs, while freshman McKenzie Watson (one ace, one assist, six digs), and sophomore Harper Hempel also helped on defense. 


Set 1

The Wildcats and Aggies tussled in the first, both trying to find their footing to a 5-5 tie in the beginning of the frame. An ace from Bergren followed by a block by Franklin and Morgan made the match 8-6, before two points for A&M tied the match once again. A kill from Franklin made it 9-8, when Dailey’s serving would help create three-straight Aggie errors for a 12-8 lead. After two points from the Aggies, two kills by Morgan and a third by Brown carried the Wildcats into the media break with a five-point lead, 15-10. Following two allowed points, Morgan notched another kill and Watson aced the Aggies. An error prompted Texas A&M to take a break with UK leading, 18-12. The Aggies responded with three-straight points, with Kentucky calling its first timeout at 18-15. Kentucky followed it up with big kills from Brown and Mack before Franklin hammered the ball down for a 21-17 lead. Texas A&M pulled within one at 21-20, with Kentucky calling its final timeout. The Aggies strung together a 6-1 run to close out the set, 25-23.

Set 2

A long rally opened the second with Thomasson killing it for the initial point of the set. Two huge swings from Mack helped power a 3-1 run for Kentucky giving the Wildcats a 5-3 advantage. An ace from Dailey made it a 7-4 lead. An ace for the Aggies would tie the match at 8-8. A&M made a 4-1 run before a kill from Thomasson brought UK within two, 10-12. UK entered the media break down by two, with Bergren, Dusek and Mack all scoring important points to bring the set to 13-15. Consecutive UK errors forced the Wildcats to take their first timeout at 13-17.  The sides swapped points, before two more Wildcat errors made the deficit five at 17-22, prompting the final Kentucky timeout of the set.  The Wildcats would grab two more points before eventually falling, 25-19.

Set 3

The Wildcats rolled in the early going, taking seven of the first nine points forcing an early timeout from Texas A&M with the 7-2 lead. An ace from Thomasson made the Wildcats the first to 10 with a six-point lead. A&M took five of the next six before a block for Franklin and Mack made it 12-9 for the Blue and White. A kill for Morgan and block for Thomasson brought the lead to 14-10, before the Aggies closed the gap to two, when Kentucky called for a timeout. The Wildcats grew the lead to as much as three before Texas A&M scored four in a row to lead to a Kentucky timeout at 19-20. Both sides swapped points, tying at 23-all. Brown would get a kill to fend off match point before the Wildcats dropped the final set, 26-24.

By the Numbers

.105 – The Wildcats held Texas A&M to just .105 hitting in the first set
11 – Kentucky had 11 players see action in the loss to Texas A&M
6 – Emily Franklin had a match-high six blocks in the match
5 – The Wildcats had five players record seven or more kills

Premier Sports Management announced its 10 finalists for the annual Senior CLASS Award on Friday, Oct. 30, with standout setter Morgan Bergren being one of the remaining candidates for the honor.  Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through Dec. 7. Fans can vote once a day until the Dec. 7 cut off. 

Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 11-12. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Omaha, Neb., from the Lexington Region. This marks the third time in five seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

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