Seniors Guide No. 19 Kentucky to Sweep of Bulldogs
Nov. 4, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Led by a pair of incredible matches from seniors Ann Armes and Becky Pavan, the 19th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team rolled to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-20) sweep of visiting Mississippi State on Friday night in Memorial Coliseum.
Armes charted a match-high 10 kills on a career-best .769 hitting to lead the offense, while Pavan posted nine kills and nine blocks for a near double-double effort. The nine turn-backs is the most by a UK player in a single match this season.
With the win Kentucky improves to 22-4 overall on the season and 13-2 in conference action while remaining a perfect 8-0 at home during Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State drops to 10-14 overall and 5-10 in the league.
"Ann (Armes) had a huge night, and it wasn't just her numbers," UK coach Craig Skinnersaid. "Ann was really aggressive and had a great overall night for us. They (Mississippi State) have a good team and keep you off balance. Our offense was a little rusty tonight, but I thought our blocking defense was the real difference in the match."
Led by Pavan's nine blocks the Wildcats charted 13 for the match to top 10 or more in an SEC match for the eighth time. Sophomore Whitney Billings posted five, while junior Christine Hartmannchipped in with four.
Billings also added eight kills and six digs as Hartmann directed an offense that saw five different players record six or more kills. Junior Ashley Frazier notched eight and freshman Lauren O'Connertotaled six on the night. O'Conner added a career-high three aces to the offensive numbers.
Junior libero Stephanie Klefot led the match with 14 digs for the back line as the only defensive player to reach double-figures. Klefot also contributed four assists to aid the offensive cause as well. Freshman Jackie Napper posted seven scoops with sophomore Jessi Greenberg contributing a pair. Sophomore Alexandra Morganchipped in with a kill and a block in one set of action.
UK opened the match with a 25-19 first set victory behind six kills from O'Conner. The set included 10 tie scores and four lead changes.
Pavan teamed up with O'Conner to begin the match with a block and the freshman followed with a kill to give the home team a 2-0 lead early. Mississippi State tied the score at six and the teams would exchange points back and forth until UK broke loose for three straight points to make the score 17-14 in favor of the Blue and White. O'Conner did all of the damage with a kill and consecutive aces in the stretch. It was a lead the Wildcats would not relinquish as UK capped the set on a 9-4 run with a Billings kill to lift Kentucky to a 1-0 edge.
Five kills from Armes led the Blue and White to a 25-22 second set win and a 2-0 lead into the locker room. UK trailed by as many as five points as late as 17-12 before rallying for a 13-5 run to close out the frame.
Pavan and Armes teamed up for back-to-back kills to force Mississippi State into its first timeout of the set with the Bulldogs leading 17-14. Out of the break, the Bulldogs charted consecutive errors to allow UK back to within one at 17-16. After Mississippi State ended the Wildcats' run with a block, UK posted four straight points to capture its first lead of the set since 3-2. Frazier had a pair of kills and Billings and Armes teamed up for a rejection to highlight the run. A Pavan kill and an unforced error by the Bulldogs lifted UK to the second set victory.
Kentucky trailed early to begin the third frame but quickly stormed out in front at 9-8 after Pavan and Hartmann once again teamed up for a put-back. Mississippi State would never get any closer as the Wildcats capped the match with a 25-20 final set win. Pavan led the offense output with six kills in the set and a trio of blocks.
UK will return to action in one week with a road contest at Alabama at 8 p.m. ET. UK will finish its road swing with a 2:30 p.m. ET match at Ole Miss the following Sunday. 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 final 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.