No. 6 Southern Cal Downs No. 16 Kentucky
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - No. 6 Southern California claimed a 3-0 win over No. 16 Kentucky on Friday night in the second match of the day of the Commonwealth Classic for the Wildcats. Senior Jackie Napper posted 20 digs and has now amassed 1,067 in her career to move into ninth place all-time in the UK record books.
Kentucky concludes the Commonwealth Classic and its six-game homestand to start the season with a matchup against Creighton on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following tomorrow's match with the Bluejays, UK will play its next four contests away from the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum.
"The match will be a good learning experience for us," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "We put ourselves in a good position in set two and three, but we need to trust in ourselves to make plays. Give credit to USC, they are a great team. We need to do a better job of making individual plays and serving more aggressively."
Junior Shelby Workman led the way offensively for the Cats with 13 kills. She has now logged 10 or more hammers in three-straight contests for the first time in her career. Junior Sara Schwarzwalder and sophomore Anni Thomasson chipped in with six kills apiece. Junior setter Morgan Bergren dished out 28 assists and notched six digs.
Napper paced the defensive effort with 20 digs. Sophomore Kelsey Wolf added seven and freshman Ashley Dusek provided four. Freshman Kaz Brown's two blocks marked a team-best.
UK and Southern Cal began the first set by trading points with Thomasson scoring Kentucky's first point on a kill off the hands of the Trojans' block. From there the visitors scored the next four points to take a 5-1 lead. The Trojans pushed the lead to 10-5 and the Wildcats opted to take their first timeout. The lead stretched to eight at 15-7 midway through the frame. A six-point Wildcat spurt ignited by a Brown solo block bridged the gap for UK moving the score to 22-17. The margin proved to be too much as the Trojans claimed a 25-19 win.
USC logged 15 kills on .314 hitting, while UK totaled 12 kills on a .162 hitting clip. Thomasson had five kills and Workman four for UK in the stanza.
Kentucky opened to a 2-1 lead to begin the second set before the Trojans scored the next two points to earn the lead back. UK responded by scoring the following two points as the teams began to trade points. UK then scored four straight with Schwarzwalder going for three kills to take an 8-5 lead. The visitors fought back to tie things at 10 apiece. USC would then score the three of the next four points to take a 13-11 lead. It was all the more breathing room the visitors would need en route to a 25-17 second set victory.
Southern Cal utilized a .320 hitting clip in the second set, but limited the Wildcats to a negative .028 percentage. UK committed 11 hitting errors in the frame. Schwarzwalder paced the Cats with five kills on .333 hitting and Napper had nine digs.
USC scored the first four points of the third set forcing UK into a very early timeout. UK fired back with three-straight points to pull to within 5-3. Two Darian Mack kills in three points tied the score at 10 as UK scored 10 of 15 in the span. The Trojans fired back by scoring six of the next eight points for a 16-12 lead. The gap was enough to carry the visitors to a 25-19 third set win and a 3-0 match victory.
USC charted 15 kills on .308 hitting in the third frame, while UK logged 12 hammers on a .132 percentage. Workman led the offensive effort with six kills in the set. Napper had six digs with Wolf adding four.
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