Rapp's Performance Not Enough for Wildcats against No. 15 LSU

Oct. 8, 2010

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BATON ROUGE, La. - Senior Lauren Rapp notched 16 kills and added 10 digs for a double-double, while freshman Whitney Billings charted a career-high 17 digs but it was not enough as the No. 15 LSU Tigers notched a 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-22) victory over Kentucky Friday evening in Baton Rouge, La.

Kentucky (8-9, 2-5) had another outstanding performance from Rapp has totaled 16 or more kills in consecutive matches. Rapp tossed down her 16 kills on a .455 hitting percentage. With 10 digs it marked the first double-double for UK's senior since totaling 12 kills and 12 digs against Ohio State on Sept. 4.

"We haven't put ourselves in position to win sets against good teams in a long time like we did tonight," UK coach Craig Skinner. "We improved a lot this week, but it was not enough against a good team like LSU. Our defense was very good tonight, and now we need to continue to improve and turn those digs into points."

Billings had a career-high 17 scoops to lead the match. She chipped in with six kills for the Wildcats. Setter Christine Hartmann charted 28 assists and added seven digs for the Wildcats, while sophomore Stephanie Klefot added 11 digs.

"We need to get back into the gym tomorrow and continue to improve like we have all week," Skinner said. "Give credit to LSU, they made very few mistakes tonight."

LSU jumped out to an early 4-0 lead to begin the first set. The Wildcats ended the rally with a kill from Rapp to begin the scoring for the Blue and White. LSU maintained an early edge until UK used a 4-0 run to tie the score at 10-10. Billings and Hartmann each posted a kill in the run. LSU quickly responded with a 4-0 run of its own to stretch the lead to 14-10 and forcing UK into a timeout.

Out of the break, junior Becky Pavan came up with a kill to end the run for the home team. LSU, however, was able to stretch its lead to 17-11 after consecutive points. The Tigers closed out the set on a 8-2 run and claim a 1-0 lead behind a 25-13 opening set victory. The Blue and White were led by a pair of kills from Billings and senior Blaire Hiler as UK charted seven kills on a .000 hitting clip. LSU totaled 13 kills on a .312 hitting percentage and totaled four blocks in the opening frame.

Kentucky earned a 2-1 lead in the early portions of the second set after Billings laid down a hammer. The teams traded points until the Tigers captured an 8-5 edge after a kill. Kentucky climbed its way back into things to knot the score at nine after forcing the home team into an erroneous attack. Three straight LSU points pushed the lead back to three at 13-10 and UK opted to use a timeout.

After the timeout, Kentucky posted a 5-0 run to earn a 15-13 advantage. In the Run Rapp and Pavan each had a kill and then the duo teamed up for a block. LSU would come back to tie the score at 16 apiece and from there the teams would trade points back-and-forth. With the score tied at 20, LSU tallied consecutive points to go up 22-20 and Kentucky took its final timeout of the set.

The home squad benefited from a point after an extended rally out of the break to increase its advantage to 23-20. Billings fired back with a kill to end the small rally, but the Tigers would strike for the final two points of the stanza to take a 2-0 lead with a 25-21 victory.

In the second frame, Rapp was sensational posting six kills on a sparkling .500 hitting clip to lead the way for the Blue and White. LSU totaled 16 kills on .300 hitting and had three blocks to aid its own cause.

Three straight kills from the hand of Rapp gave the visitors an early 3-1 lead to open the third set. Kentucky maintained an early edge and took its largest lead at 12-8 after forcing the Tigers into three consecutive hitting errors. In the early going, Rapp struck for four of UK's 12 points, while freshman Alexandra Morgan teamed up with Hartmann and then Hiler for a pair of blocks for the Wildcats.

After another kill from Rapp, LSU scored five of the next seven points to tie the score at 15 apiece. From there the teams battled back-and-forth and continued to exchange points until LSU scored two straight points to claim a 22-21 edge off of a kill. After a UK timeout, LSU would be able to score three of the final four points to capture the 25-22 set three win and the match.

UK had a match-high 14 kills in the second stanza led by an impressive nine from Rapp. LSU posted 16 kills in the set on .200 hitting to claim the match.

Kentucky returns to action Sunday, Oct. 10 at Arkansas. First serve is slated for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Follow along all season long with the Wildcats at UKathletics.com.