No. 17 UK Picks Up Road Win at No. 21 Kansas State
Sept. 11, 2009
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The No. 17 Kentucky volleyball team withstood a rowdy crowd and took down No. 21 Kansas State by a 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-15) margin on Friday evening, adding to its perfect start at 8-0.
The stage was set for a top-25 showdown as the Blue and White faced its first top-25 ranked opponent of the season and in front of 2,027 enthusiastic fans at Ahern Field House. UK totaled 59 kills on the night and limited Kansas State to just .137 hitting. Three UK players hit double-figures in kills, while two players registered double-doubles in the victory.
Junior Sarah Mendoza led the offensive effort with 19 kills on the night and tallied her fourth double-double of the year with 11 digs. Junior Lauren Rapp reached double-figures with 12 kills and sophomore Becky Pavan added 10 put downs. Senior setter Sarah Rumely also registered her fourth double-double of the season with 51 assists and a season-high 13 scoops.
"I thought it was a very good win tonight playing in a tough environment on the road," said Kentucky coach Craig Skinner. "I continue to say it is good to get road wins, but it truly is. I think our team got better as the match went on. We kind of struggled in game two, but then we really poured on some pressure in games three and four."
Kentucky was able to use its entire bench in the victory as eight players registered at least one point with a kill.
Kansas State opened the match by gaining a point off a Kentucky miscue, but Kentucky responded to the mistake by rattling off three straight points to take an early 3-1 edge. UK earned a three-point advantage at 7-4 after a Mendoza ace capped off a three-point run. Kansas State got within 9-8 before the Blue and White charged back with another three-point stretch highlighted by a Pavan-Rapp rejection making the score 12-8 in favor of the visitors. UK earned its largest lead of the first stanza at 17-10 forcing the home team to take its second timeout. In the 4-0 run, Rapp found holes in the defense for two aces and Mendoza hammered home a kill that slammed off of a Kansas State player. Kentucky maintained control throughout the first set and finally concluded the frame with a kill from Giesler for a 25-19 opening frame victory.
UK hit an impressive .382 in the opening set which saw 17 kills from the visitors from six different players. Mendoza led the way with five with Rapp, Giesler and Pavan all contributing three. Kentucky's defense limited the home squad to just .200 hitting and a mere nine kills.
The second set was a back-and-forth battle with the teams trading points to open the frame. With the score knotted at seven UK used a three-point run to gain an edge. The visitors benefited from two K-State miscues and then Pavan found a gap in the defense for a touch-shot to give UK a 10-7 lead. After Kansas State used a timeout the home team used a run of its own to tie the score and eventually take the lead at 18-16 midway through the set. Kansas State stretched its lead to 22-18 after a lucky ace that grazed the net and dropped on Kentucky's side of the net. UK saved set point twice before a hitting error allowed the home team to take a 25-21 second set win tying the score into the break.
K-State used a .216 hitting percentage while holding Kentucky to just .152 hitting to claim the set. The home team also benefited from seven UK hitting errors and three service errors in the stanza to even the match at one set apiece.
Two Kansas State miscues allowed the visitors to take a 2-0 edge to start the third set. Rapp gave UK a huge boost in helping Kentucky take a 10-6 lead and forcing K-State into its first timeout early in the third frame. Rapp powered her way to three consecutive kills pushing the visitors' lead to four points. Out of the timeout Rapp came back with her fourth straight point following an impressive rally from both teams. Kansas State pulled within one on five different occasions throughout the middle part of the stanza and each time UK was able to fend off their advances.
However, the home team grabbed the lead at 20-19 after a Kentucky miscommunication error. Mendoza tied the score at 20 with a kill out of a UK timeout. A tremendous block off the arms of Giesler and Rumely allowed the Blue and White to take a one-point advantage at 22-21. K-State responded with a point of its own, but then gave UK the lead right back with a service error. Mendoza put Kentucky into a set-point position with an ace making the score 24-22. Kansas State saved set point with a kill, but junior Blaire Hiler responded with a powerful slam that split the defense giving Kentucky a 25-23 third set win.
UK hammered home 16 kills in the third stanza led by Rapp's six. UK only hit for .184 in the frame, but was able to squeak out the win behind three hitting errors and four service errors from Kansas State.
Kentucky came out firing on all cylinders to open the fourth set as they took an early 5-1 advantage and forced K-State into an early timeout. Klefot found a gap to open the stanza for an ace and Giesler and Rapp teamed up for an authoritative block in the run. Out of the break Kentucky tacked on three more points to take a comfortable 8-1 lead. Mendoza slammed down a kill then Rapp took advantage of miscommunication on the other side of the net for another point. For the final point Giesler and Rapp teamed up for another rejection and Kansas State opted to burn its final timeout of the set with UK leading by seven. UK took a commanding lead and was ahead 17-3 midway through the set and was never once threatened. The set ended with another Mendoza kill giving UK the victory with a 25-15 fourth set win.
The Blue and White returns to the court for two matches Saturday. UK faces Purdue at 11 a.m. ET, and then will wrap up the Kansas State Invitational with a match against Portland at 6:30 p.m. ET. Complete coverage of the Wildcats in Manhattan can be found at UKathletics.com.