Kentucky Earns Hard-Fought Road Win at Ole Miss

Nov. 19, 2010

Box Score

OXFORD, Miss. – Behind the defensive prowess of sophomore Stephanie Klefot the Kentucky volleyball team captured a hard-fought road victory with a 3-1 (15-25, 25-9, 25-18, 25-21) win at Ole Miss Friday night. Klefot posted 26 digs to lead the UK defensive effort and has now charted 25 or more scoops in three of UK’s last four matches.

Kentucky (17-12, 11-8) earned the road win to claim its sixth consecutive season of 17 or more victories under head coach Craig Skinner.

“After game one we really stuck to the game plan and our level of intensity doubled,” Skinner said. “It was very important for us to win on the road in a tough environment against a good team.”

The Wildcats secured the win behind a balance of attack and a stellar defensive effort. Junior Becky Pavan led the offense with 12 kills and senior Lauren Rapp notched 10. Junior Gretchen Giesler chipped in with nine hammers while senior Blaire Hiler and freshman Whitney Billings contributed six apiece. Setter Christine Hartmann added four kills of her own while dishing out 38 assists on the night.

Klefot led the back row defense with the match-high 26 scoops, while Billings added 13 for UK. Freshman Jessi Greenberg made some tremendous defensive plays and added seven digs for the Wildcats. Rapp turned back a match-high seven blocks and Giesler chipped in with five.

“Our collective toughness and leadership was very evident in this match,” Skinner said. “It was very evident in the way we responded following the first set.”

Kentucky began the second stanza by taking a 2-0 lead when it forced Ole Miss into erroneous attacks. A Billings kill lifted the Wildcats to a 3-1 advantage. With the score at 3-2, Kentucky scored the next five points to jump out to an 8-2 lead. In the run, UK posted a pair of kills and a block from the team of Rapp and Giesler. Down by six, Ole Miss opted to use its first timeout of the set.

After Ole Miss tallied consecutive points, UK answered with a kill from Pavan as well as a rejection from the team of Pavan and Hartmann to reclaim a comfortable lead at 16-8. The home squad chose to burn its final timeout of the stanza with Kentucky leading by eight. Out of the break, Kentucky picked up two more points behind a solid turn-back from Rapp and Billings followed by a kill from Billings. After a kill from Ole Miss to make the score 18-9, UK rolled to a 25-9 set win by scoring the final seven points of the set to even the match at one set apiece.

UK charted 11 kills on .308 hitting in the second set, led by three from Pavan. Kentucky also notched seven blocks in the set to keep the Ole Miss attack at bay. The Rebels totaled a mere five kills on a negative .176 hitting clip.

The home team captured the first two points of the third set, but UK quickly fired back by forcing the Rebels into an erroneous attack. Ole Miss went up 5-2, however the Wildcats raced back to tie the score at five behind an ace from Pavan. A miss hit by the Blue and White gave Ole Miss the lead back, but Kentucky then scored the next four points to claim a 9-6 advantage and the home team used its first timeout of the set. In the run, Kentucky got a huge block from Hiler and Giesler.

Out of the break, Rapp and Giesler teamed up for another Big Blue block. The home team fought back and pulled to within 14-10, but Kentucky stormed back with three straight points to increase its lead to seven points at 17-10. Pavan had a pair of kills in the three-point swing to give UK a comfortable edge and Ole Miss burned its final timeout of the stanza. The teams would go on to exchange points back and forth with Kentucky able to close out the frame with a 25-18 win and a 2-1 lead in sets.

Kentucky’s defense continue to be the difference in the third set as UK charted three blocks and limited Ole Miss to 11 kills on just .095 hitting. The Wildcats in turn, tossed down 16 kills on .282 hitting led by four from Pavan and Giesler each.

The Wildcats opened the fourth set by taking a 3-0 lead behind a pair of kills from the hands of Billings and Pavan while also forcing the Rebels into a bad attack. Kentucky stretched its lead to an 8-3 edge highlighted by an ace from Rapp. The home team was able to get back into things and tie the score at 10, which Kentucky then responded with back-to-back kills from Pavan. Ole Miss would not fold, however, as the Rebels responded with consecutive points to tie the score at 13.

Following a tie score at 14, Kentucky scored the next two points off of kills from Rapp and Giesler to earn a little breathing room. The 10th kill of the match from Rapp lifted UK to a 20-16 edge and Ole Miss chose to use its final timeout of the set. After Kentucky earned a 23-17 lead, Ole Miss scored the next three points to pull to within 23-20 and UK chose to use its last timeout of the stanza.

After a kill from the Rebels, Kentucky picked up a kill from Pavan to take match-point. UK’s defense claimed the set 25-21 following a block from the duo of Pavan and Rapp to lift the visitors to the win. Kentucky posted 12 kills in the final set on .235 hitting. Ole Miss notched 16 kills on .250 hitting in the final set of play.

Ole Miss jumped out to a comfortable lead at 7-1 in the early stages of the first set. The Wildcats pulled to within six at 12-6 following a kill from Rapp, but the home team quickly scored the next two points to take a commanding 14-6 advantage. Ole Miss was able to maintain its lead and capture the first set by a 25-15 margin.

The Rebels posted 14 kills on .324 hitting. Kentucky managed just eight kills on .061 hitting. Rapp led the way with four kills in the frame to pace the Blue and White.

Kentucky will conclude regular season action with a match-up against No. 21 Tennessee on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum.

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