Wildcats Win 20th Match of the Year in Sweep of Auburn
Nov. 23, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. – For the fifth time in the last six seasons the Kentucky volleyball team has secured 20 or more victories following a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-16) win over Auburn in the final regular-season match of the season on Friday afternoon. Junior Whitney Billings had her 16th double-double effort of the season with a team-high 12 kills and 12 digs in the win.
“I thought we played really well defensively and we sided out efficiently for most of the match,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “I’m most proud of how we toughed it out at the end of set one and sealed that one.”
UK fought off a late three-point deficit in the match’s opening frame to earn the 1-0 lead and consequently use that momentum to ride out a dominating finish. With the win the Wildcats improve to 20-10 on the year and 14-6 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn finishes the season with a 17-13 record and an 8-12 mark in league action.
Kentucky will await its fate for entry into the NCAA Tournament for an eighth-consecutive season when the field of 64 is announced on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. The announcement will air live on ESPNU.
Senior setter Christine Hartmann dished out 36 assists and added a trio of blocks in the win. Junior Alexandra Morgan struck for nine kills on a match-high .692 percentage while also contributing a match-high seven blocks. Freshman Kayla Tronick provided eight kills and senior Ashley Frazier added six and three aces. Sophomore Lauren O’Conner totaled three kills, one ace and a pair of blocks and digs.
The Wildcats clawed back from a late three-point deficit in the opening set to earn a 25-23 opening stanza victory. UK totaled 15 kills on .216 hitting and Auburn had 13 for a .211 clip. Morgan paced the attack for the visitors with five kills on .714 hitting. Klefot provided seven digs in the frame.
Napper opened the scoring with an ace and UK extended its lead to 4-2 early on a Morgan-O’Conner block. Auburn fought back and knotted the score at four before the home team would earn a 6-4 lead. A kill from Tronick tied things again at 17, but the Tigers scored three-straight to take a 20-17 lead late in the frame. Billings then erupted for consecutive kills to bring UK within one at 22-21. O’Conner’s kill tied things at 22 and then Frazier capped the set with the winning kill for the 1-0 advantage.
UK used a dominating second set to extend its lead to 2-0 into the locker room. Kentucky secured a 25-14 second set victory behind 12 kills on a blistering .429 hitting clip with Billings leading the charge with four. Auburn totaled just nine kills on .115 hitting in the set.
Kentucky raced out to an early 3-1 lead behind an ace from Klefot and a kill from Tronick. The edge would be all the Wildcats would need in the dominating performance. The Blue and White took a commanding 16-9 advantage on a Hartmann-Morgan block. Billings closed the set with her seventh kill of the match for the win.
The teams swapped points to open the third set before consecutive kills from Frazier gave UK a 6-3 lead it would never relinquish. An ace by Frazier gave the Blue and White its largest lead of the early going at 12-6 prompting Auburn into a timeout. Consecutive blocks from Morgan pushed the lead to 15-7 in favor of the visitors. UK would finish the win by forcing the Tigers into an erroneous attack for the match’s winning point.
UK had 16 kills on a .378 clip in the final frame. Auburn was limited to 10 kills on a mere .097 clip.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team. For additional coverage of the volleyball squad be sure and check out CatScratchesBlog.com/volleyball.