No. 18 Kentucky Survives Thriller at Ole Miss
Nov. 13, 2011
OXFORD, Miss. - The 18th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team survived a thrilling five-set match at Ole Miss with a 3-2 (25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 31-33, 17-15) victory to remain undefeated in five-set matches on the season Sunday afternoon. UK has totaled a perfect 5-0 clip in matches that need a fifth and deciding frame to decide, including a 4-0 mark in conference matches.
With the victory, UK improves to 24-4 overall on the season and 15-2 in Southeastern Conference action. Ole Miss drops to 9-17 overall and 5-13 in league action despite taking both top-25 ranked UK and Tennessee to five-set matches this weekend.
"That was one of the most exciting matches I've been a part of," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "You have to give credit to Ole Miss because they competed well even when they were down big in sets four and five. I have to credit our passes because Ole Miss served really tough. I'm proud of the way our team prevailed through adversity today."
In the deciding fifth frame, UK jumped out to a 4-0 advantage highlighted by a pair of aces from junior Stephanie Klefot. UK maintained its early edge with an 8-5 score into the switching of benches following a kill from senior Ann Armes. Armes gave UK match point at 14-12, but the Rebels rallied back to tie the score at 14. The match-saving point came on a huge swing from junior Ashley Frazier that a Rebel defended dug and swung back over the net. With UK's defense charging, the ball dropped just into the court of play for a kill.
Frazier responded with a kill and Ole Miss answered the call to tie the score at 15. Armes followed with her 13th kill of the match to once again give the Blue and White match-point. UK's defense forced the Rebels into a hitting error to preserve the victory for the visitors.
UK posted 10 kills in the final frame with Armes totaling four of UK's points. The Blue and White utilized a .286 hitting percentage to the victory.
Kentucky had three players top 10 or more kills in a match, led by a season-high 17 from sophomore Whitney Billings. Frazier notched 16 with Armes (13) and senior Becky Pavan (11) aiding the Wildcat cause. Junior setter Christine Hartmann dished out a career-high 59 assists and led UK to a .297 hitting percentage in the victory. Freshman Lauren O'Conner added eight kills and an ace to the UK's offensive output.
Klefot picked up a match-high 28 digs with Billings earning 14. Billings has now posted back-to-back double-double efforts for the second time this season. Freshman Jackie Napper added 10 scoops to the winning cause, and sophomore Jessi Greenberg contributed a pair.
The Wildcats earned a 25-21 opening set victory to grab the early advantage. UK charted 15 kills on a .371 hitting clip led by five hammers from Billings in the opening frame. Kentucky also notched three blocks and forced the Rebels into seven hitting errors.
UK grabbed a 3-0 edge to open the set with Billings and Armes teaming up for a rejection. The duo then posted consecutive kills to lift the visitors early. Ole Miss responded to earn a 7-5 lead. A kill from Armes tied the score at 11 and UK would take the lead on a Hartmann kill for a 12-11 edge. The Wildcats would not relinquish its final lead and rolled to a 25-21 set victory. The stanza ended the way it began with Armes and Billings teaming up for a block to cap the set in favor of the Blue and White.
The visitors captured a 2-0 lead into the locker room following 25-23 wire-to-wire second set. UK charted 18 kills on a .333 hitting clip, while Ole Miss managed just 12 hammers on .179 hitting. Billings once again led the way for the Blue and White with six kills in the set on a .545 clip.
A kill from Hartmann gave UK a 2-1 edge in the early stages of the set. Ole Miss then grabbed a 6-4 advantage, before the Wildcats would storm back to knot the score at nine on a kill from Billings. Ole Miss owned a late advantage at 20-19, but the Wildcats would score six of the final nine points to sneak away. In the stretch Frazier, Armes and Billings all posted a kill for the UK offensive effort.
Ole Miss earned a 25-19 third set win to force extra frames. The Rebels limited UK to 14 kills on .265 hitting and benefited from five UK errors. Ole Miss earned 15 kills on an impressive .419 clip to keep the match alive.
Armes began the scoring the fourth frame with her seventh kill of the match. UK stretched its early advantage to a 4-1 score after a Billings and Armes block. Pavan and Hartmann teamed up for a rejection followed by an ace from O'Conner and UK forced the Rebels into a timeout leading 9-5.
With Kentucky maintaining a lead for much of the frame, the Rebels fought back and tied the score at 21 benefiting from an 11-6 run in the late stages of the set. The run was enough to get the Rebels back into things as the squads fought to an above 30-point stanza with UK running out of subs and being forced to play Greenberg in the front row. Consecutive hitting errors by the Wildcats became the difference as Ole Miss forced a deciding fifth frame with a 33-31 fourth set victory.
Kentucky notched 17 kills on a .233 clip with seven coming from Frazier in the set, but Ole Miss earned 23 on .340 hitting in the set-victory.
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.