Balanced Attack Gives No. 17 Cats Sweep of Arkansas
Sept. 27, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A balanced offensive attack lifted No. 17 Kentucky to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-21) sweep of Arkansas on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum. The Blue and White improve to 13-1 overall on the year and 3-0 in conference action.
For the third consecutive match the Kentucky Wildcats did not drop a set in their conference victory as they rolled to win in front of 1,606 fans at Memorial Coliseum. UK had a strong offensive attack for the second straight match posting 49 kills on the night behind junior Lauren Rapp's match-high 12 kills. Junior Sarah Mendoza pitched in with 10 kills with sophomore Gretchen Giesler contributing nine on the day.
"I thought our floor defense was exceptional in helping us stay in the match," said UK coach Craig Skinner. "It is very important that when you play good teams you want to be sure and have a balanced attack, that way a lot of different people get some looks. (Sarah) Rumely was able to find the open attacker to terminate the ball for us."
Senior BriAnne Sauer continued to play tremendously well for the Wildcats in the back row. Sauer tallied a match-high 20 digs from her libero position. Rumely nearly had a double-double effort with 38 assists and eight digs to guide the Wildcats. She also posted six kills in the victory.
The Wildcats serving was also exceptional in the victory. UK as a unit totaled seven service aces including three from Giesler and a pair from Sauer.
To begin the match the teams traded points back and forth until UK finally broke loose for a two-point advantage at 13-11 behind an ace from Sauer. UK would stretch its lead to 19-13 after a Mendoza kill. Arkansas put together a 4-2 run to inch closer at 22-17, but the Wildcats answered with kills from Mendoza and sophomore Becky Pavan to help close out the set with a 25-18 score.
Kentucky used a .281 attack percentage and laid down 13 kills in the opening set. Giesler and Mendoza each had three kills, as six Wildcats registered at least one point off of a kill. Sauer scooped up six back row attacks in the stanza.
The Wildcats posted a .262 hitting percentage and threw down 17 kills in the second set en route to a 25-23 victory. Rapp posted a team-high four kills in the frame with Sauer tallying seven digs and Rumely dishing out 14 assists.
Arkansas actually jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the second stanza, but Kentucky would quickly fire back with two straight points to even it at two apiece. The teams traded points in the early going with Arkansas earning a lead by as much as three points. However, UK would take the lead for good at 14-13 behind a kill from Mendoza. Arkansas got close at 23-22, but the Wildcats were able to close out the set benefiting from a service error from the Razorbacks and a spectacular kill from Rapp.
Mendoza got things going early for the Blue and White in the final set as she struck for a kill right out of the gate. Arkansas evened the score at 10 apiece but would never again threaten the Wildcats as they rolled to a 25-21 set three victory for their third straight sweep. Rapp led the way with six kills in the frame as UK hit with a .260 clip and connected for 19 kills in the stanza.
Kentucky hits the road again Friday with a date with No. 5 Florida in Gainesville. Match time is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 2. UK will also travel to South Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 4 for a 1:30 p.m. match in Columbia, S.C.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date news, highlights and features from the Kentucky volleyball team.