Kentucky Captures 3-0 Sweep Over Auburn to Open SEC Play
Sept. 16, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team totaled seven consecutive victories to conclude non-conference action and began the opening of Southeastern Conference action in much the same fashion. Kentucky rolled to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-22) victory over visiting Auburn to post its eighth consecutive victory and seventh sweep in the stretch.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 10-2 overall on the season and 1-0 in league play. Kentucky now owns an opening day SEC record of 22-9 and 5-2 under the direction of head coach Craig Skinner. Auburn drops to 6-5 on the season and 0-1 in SEC action.
Kentucky once again had a balanced performance both offensively and defensively. Junior Ashley Frazier led the offensive output with a team-high 10 kills on .348 hitting. Frazier added five digs, three aces and a trio of blocks in the victory. Senior Ann Armespitched in with seven kills on a .778 hitting percentage.
"I thought our defense was excellent tonight," Skinner said. "To hold a team like Auburn who has a number of arms to just under .120 hitting is a great performance by our defense."
UK had seven total blocks on the night led by three from Frazier and senior Gretchen Giesler. Junior Stephanie Klefot paced the back-line with a match-high 17 scoops. Sophomore Whitney Billings added seven and sophomore Jessi Greenbergchipped in with six.
Kentucky claimed a 25-19 opening set victory behind a .379 hitting percentage and five kills from Frazier. UK limited Auburn to 12 kills on just .054 hitting. The Tigers committed 10 hitting errors in an attempt to avoid UK's blockers.
UK grabbed a 4-1 edge after forcing the Tigers in four consecutive hitting errors. Kentucky maintained a comfortable advantage, until Auburn pulled to within 11-8. Armes quickly came up with a kill to stifle the run, and Kentucky finished the set on a 14-10 run to end the frame. Giesler capped off the set with her third kill of the set.
Kentucky's blocking was the difference in the second set as the Big Blue Wall turned back six opponent attacks in the stanza. Frazier led the way with a pair of solo rejections and she also teamed up with Giesler for a block assist. Frazier also totaled five kills in the set including the set-clincher.
Auburn opened the set by grabbing an early advantage, but a kill from Billings and then consecutive blocks ignited a 5-0 run and UK quickly earned an 8-3 edge. Kentucky rolled to a 25-12 win getting 12 kills on a .345 hitting percentage in the set. Auburn was limited to a mere seven kills on a .000 hitting clip in the frame.
Auburn gave UK its best effort in the third frame going ahead 21-18 late in the stanza. Auburn pushed its advantage to 22-20, but the Wildcats would utilize a 5-0 run to finish the set and claim the match 3-0. Billings had a kill and an ace in the run, and freshman Lauren O'Connerposted a pair of kills and teamed up with Giesler for a block in the run.
Kentucky tallied 16 kills on .286 hitting in the frame led by O'Conner's five in the final frame. Auburn had its best offensive output of the set with 15 kills on .278 hitting.
UK returns to action when it plays host to Georgia, Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The match will air live on CSS and ESPN3.com.
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 9-10. UK is one of four sites selected for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, from the Lexington Region. Tickets are on sale now through the UK Ticket Office.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team and all of Kentucky's 22 teams.