Defensive Charge Paces UK to Win Over Ole Miss
Oct. 7, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A balanced defensive effort and quality performances offensively guided the Kentucky volleyball team to a 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-14, 25-19) win over visiting Ole Miss Friday night in front of 1,662 fans at Memorial Coliseum.
With the victory Kentucky has now totaled 13 wins in its last 14 matches to improve to 15-3 overall and 6-1 in Southeastern Conference action. Ole Miss drops to 5-10 overall and 1-6 in league play.
UK's next match is set for Sunday, Oct. 9 at 1:30 p.m. ET as the Wildcats play host to Alabama. Sunday is the official `Dig for the Cure' match. There will be $1 admission for fans wearing pinks. The Wildcats will don `Dig for the Cure' t-shirts during warm-ups and will be available for sale for $10 with proceeds benefiting breast cancer research, treatment and education at the Markey Cancer Center. Donations will also be accepted.
"I thought we played really well in spurts and we lost focus at other times," UK coach Craig Skinnersaid. "Our defense picked up as the match went on. In games three and four our defense was pretty solid, and that's what really got us over the hump tonight."
The UK defensive effort strung together 47 digs and combined for 11.5 blocks in the win. Junior libero Stephanie Klefot posted a match-high 19 digs to lead the back line, while senior Becky Pavan steered the way up front with five block assists. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week, Whitney Billings, added nine scoops and a trio of blocks.
Junior Ashley Frazier charted her fourth consecutive match with 10 or more digs with a team-best 14 in tonight's victory. Senior Ann Armestossed down 12 hammers on a blazing .550 hitting clip. Billings was the third Wildcat in double-figures with 11 kills on a sparkling .400 hitting percentage.
Freshman Lauren O'Conner chipped in with nine kills to contribute to the offensive balance. Junior setter Christine Hartmannpassed out 44 assists and added three kills of her own in directing the Blue and White offense to a .278 hitting clip and 55 kills.
Kentucky grabbed a 25-19 opening set victory with the Wildcats charting 13 kills on .296 hitting led by five kills from Frazier. Klefot had six digs in the opening stanza, and Frazier also added four blocks in the set. The frame featured five tie scores and a pair of lead changes.
Pavan opened the scoring with a kill and the teams exchanged points back and forth to begin the match. Kentucky opened a five point lead at 12-7 following an Ole Miss error. A kill from the Rebels tied things at 16, but Frazier answered with her fifth kill of the set and then the duo of Pavan and Billings teamed up for a block to give the home team a lead it would not yield. Pavan concluded the stanza in the same fashion as she jump-started play with a kill to the middle of the floor.
Ole Miss answered with a 25-19 set victory of its own to knot the score at one apiece going into the locker room.
The Wildcats responded with its best defensive performance of the match. Klefot had nine digs in the set and led the defensive charge that registered 16 digs in the frame. UK's offense was equally impressive charting 17 kills on .359 hitting. Armes was at her best in the set with six kills on a .600 hitting percentage.
Ole Miss earned the early advantage, but consecutive kills from Armes and Billings gave the Wildcats an 8-6 lead it would not relinquish. Kentucky earned its largest lead of the set at 19-10 following a kill from Armes. O'Conner capped the set with a kill for the 25-14 victory.
The home team totaled five blocks and limited Ole Miss to a mere .065 hitting percentage in the match's final frame as UK rolled to a 25-19 win. Kentucky posted 12 kills on a .360 hitting clip with O'Conner leading the way with four kills in the set. Napper guided the defensive effort with four scoops, while three different players posted a pair of blocks.
An Ole Miss error opened the scoring in the set. The Rebels fired back with a kill, but that would remain the only tie of the entire set. Kentucky had three blocks to stretch an early five-point edge at 6-1. Ole Miss fought back to within two at 16-14, but O'Conner answered following a break with her ninth kill of the match. A rifling shot down the right-line from the hand of Billings brought the raucous crowd to its feet for the winning point.
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. Opening night matches are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. ET. Saturday's finals is set for a 4:30 p.m. ET first serve.
Tickets are now on sale through the UK Ticket Office. All-Session Tickets are reserved for all ages at $14. General Admission tickets for adults are priced at $12 and students or seniors' general admission is slated for $8.
Single session tickets are priced at $8 for reserved for all ages. General admission for adults is priced at $7, with students and seniors priced at $5. Youth single session tickets are $4.
For tickets or more information feel free to call, 1-800-928-CATS.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team and all of Kentucky's 22 teams.