Complete Team Effort Leads to Sweep of Bulldogs

Oct. 17, 2010

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team earned a 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-13) sweep over visiting Mississippi State behind a complete team effort for its third consecutive Southeastern Conference victory. UK increases its overall series record against the Bulldogs by a 38-1 margin.

Kentucky (11-9, 5-5) earned the sweep behind 46 kills on a sizzling .308 hitting clip in the win. Four players totaled seven or more hammers led by senior Blaire Hiler's match-high 13 on .423 hitting. Classmate Lauren Rapp posted 10 kills on a .450 hitting clip. Setter Christine Hartmann dished out 36 assists while chipping in with four kills of her own.

"It's great to see our seniors step up once again," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "Christine continues to make some nice choices and is finding the right people at the right times to really lead our offense. Our floor defense was exceptional again tonight and that needs to continue."

Freshman White Billings had a match-high 13 digs to lead the back row. Billings chipped in with eight kills. Sophomore Stephanie Klefot totaled 11 digs and freshman Jessi Greenberg had seven. Kentucky collected 55 digs on the night for an average of 18.33 digs per set. UK out-blocked the Bulldogs by a seven-to-four margin. Junior Gretchen Giesler paced the front line defense with four block assists.

Junior Becky Pavan continued to provide an added spark for the Wildcats. Pavan posted seven kills while adding a pair of assists, three service aces and a career-high six digs. For the match the Wildcats scored 19 points while Pavan was as the service line.

Kentucky opened the match with a 25-20 victory behind an impressive 13-2 run to close out the stanza. Mississippi State had taken an 18-13 advantage and UK rallied back to snatch the opening set win behind seven opening set hammers from Hiler. The Wildcats hit .324 in the set and totaled 18 kills. Kentucky's defense limited the Bulldogs to a .116 hitting clip and 12 kills. In the 13-2 run, Kentucky charted nine kills led by four in a row from Hiler from points 20-to-23.

Mississippi State began the second set by taking an early advantage that UK once again had to overcome. With Kentucky trailing 14-11, Billings came up with a kill to end a Bulldog run. Kentucky tied the score at 15 behind a block from the duo of Rapp and Giesler. The teams exchanged points back and forth until Kentucky broke open a 22-22 tie to score the final three points of the set. Kills from Hiler and Pavan lifted the Wildcats to a 2-0 lead.

The Wildcats posted 15 kills on .238 hitting in the stanza. Mississippi State matched UK's offensive output with 15 kills on .263 hitting. The difference in the set was a pair of UK rejections and two service errors committed by the Bulldogs. Pavan led the offense in the second stanza with four kills.

In the fourth set, Kentucky used a dominating offensive performance to put the match away. Kentucky posted a match-high .393 hitting clip with five Wildcats chipping with at least two kills in the set. Kentucky had 13 kills while limiting Mississippi State to a mere seven kills.

The teams traded points to open the set before UK broke open a 6-6 tie by scoring the next four points all led by the serving of Pavan. Kentucky closed out the frame on a 15-7 run to clinch its third consecutive conference victory.

Kentucky will return to the road for a pair of SEC road matchups next weekend. UK will first play at South Carolina for a 7 p.m. ET match on Oct. 22. Kentucky will then travel to take on the No. 1 Florida Gators Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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