Kentucky's Rally Falls Short at Purdue
Dec. 3, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Despite a valiant effort the Kentucky volleyball team's season came to an end with a 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-17, 25-18) loss at No. 16 Purdue on Friday night in front of a boisterous West Lafayette, Ind., crowd. Kentucky enjoyed another history-making season with its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, six consecutive winning season and a senior class who finishes their careers with the fifth-best career winning percentage in school history.
The senior duo of Lauren Rapp and Blaire Hiler will end their careers with 94 career victories and a .729 career winning percentage which is the fifth-best all-time at UK. Rapp posted 10 kills against the Boilermakers and added three block assists. Hiler scored four kills and added a pair of blocks in her final match as a Wildcat.
Kentucky finishes the season with a 17-14 overall record, while Purdue advances to meet Louisville on Saturday evening for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
"You have to tip your hats to Purdue because they played extremely well tonight," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "I thought after game two we put a lot of pressure on them. Purdue was able to make some adjustments and came out on fire in the third set."
Sophomore setter Christine Hartmann had a career-high seven kills on .545 hitting while adding a team-best five blocks and 27 assists. Sophomore Whitney Billings scored six kills and posted a team-best seven digs. Junior Gretchen Giesler added six kills and three blocks, with classmate Becky Pavan chipping in with three hammers and a trio of blocks. Junior Ann Armes notched a pair of kills and four digs, while sophomore Stephanie Klefot added six digs and an ace.
"This team fought hard tonight and played with a lot of effort tonight and the whole season for that matter," Skinner said. "I loved coaching this team and I'm sorry that the season had to come to an end."
Kentucky's defense stifled the home squad to begin the match with Purdue committing four errors enabling the Blue and White to earn a 4-1 edge. The senior duo of Hiler and Rapp combined for a block in the run. Purdue fought back and tied the score at four, but Rapp gave the Wildcats the lead with a kill. The Boilermakers then went on a 3-0 run to claim a two-point advantage it would maintain into the media break. Following consecutive hitting errors from the Wildcats, UK opted to use a timeout with Purdue ahead 17-12.
Trailing by five, Kentucky's defense stepped up once again by forcing the home team into consecutive errors and then Hiler found a gap in the back row to bring the Wildcats back to within two at 17-15 and forcing Purdue to burn a timeout.
Purdue responded with a 4-1 run to reclaim a comfortable edge with the score at 21-16 in favor of the home team, UK chose to use its final timeout of the set. Purdue was able to keep the Wildcat offense at bay and finish the frame on a 4-2 run and claim the first set 25-18.
UK's offense generated just six kills on .080 hitting. Purdue tossed down 16 kills on .212 hitting despite the Wildcats forcing the home team into nine errors and posting a pair of blocks.
The Wildcats used an 8-0 run in the middle of set two to knot the score at one set apiece into the intermission following a 26-24 second set win. UK struck for 11 kills on .269 hitting, but it was the Wildcats' defense that proved to be the difference. Purdue managed 16 kills on .139 hitting, but committed 11 errors thanks in large part to five Kentucky blocks in the stanza.
Purdue gave UK the lead in the second frame with a service error, but the home team quickly took the lead after scoring the next two points. A block from the hands of Rapp and Billings brought UK back to within two at 8-6, however Purdue would go on to score the next four points to grab an 11-6 edge and UK chose to use a timeout.
Kentucky scored the following two points highlighted by a monstrous kill from Hiler to get back to within three at 11-8. After the Boilermakers took their largest lead at 16-12, Kentucky put together a 4-0 run to pull back to within 16-15. In the run Hartmann found a spot and then teamed up with Pavan for the fourth UK block of the stanza to force the home team into a timeout.UK did not stop there, however, as the Wildcats continued its run with three more points following the break. Hartmann came up with a momentum-changing solo block and Klefot followed with an ace. Rapp topped the run off with a kill to give the visitors an 18-16 edge and forcing Purdue to use its final timeout of the stanza.
The Wildcats forced Purdue into another erroneous attempt to cap off an 8-0 run and earn a 19-16 lead before the Boilermakers finally ended the stretch of points by the visitors. Three straight Purdue points tied the score once again at 21 apiece and this time Kentucky chose to use its final timeout.
Consecutive kills from the Boilermakers lifted the home team to set point at 24-23, but UK got a timely kill from Giesler to save the set. Kentucky's defense once again stepped up and forced the home team into back-to-back errors to end the set and even the match at one set apiece.
Purdue opened the scoring in the third set with a kill, but Kentucky rallied for consecutive points to grab a 2-1 edge. The squads exchanged points until Purdue broke loose for two straight points to earn a 10-8 lead. A kill from Giesler knotted the score once again, but Purdue scored four of the next six to take a 15-12 lead into the media break.
Kentucky could not manage to pull to within more than five, as the home team finished out the set on a 10-5 run and go up 2-1 in set scores following a 25-17 third set win.
Purdue totaled 14 kills on .267 hitting and registered three blocks. The Wildcats scored eight points off of kills on a .111 attacking clip led by three from Hartmann.
The home team once again began the scoring with a kill to start the fourth frame. Kentucky quickly answered with a kill from the hand of Rapp. The squads would go on to exchange points until Purdue broke free behind a 4-0 run to earn a 9-5 edge. Kentucky responded with a 3-0 run of its own to pull to within 9-8 highlighted by the sixth kill of the night from Hartmann a career-best in a match for the sophomore.
Purdue then would earn another three-point lead at 14-11, but Kentucky once again answered with three straight points of its own to move to a 14-14 tie behind a pair of kills from Giesler. Purdue took a one-point edge at 15-14 into the media break.
Following the timeout, the home team scored five consecutive points to earn a 20-14 advantage. A block from Hartmann and a Pavan kill made the score 20-16, but that would be all the closer the Wildcats would get as Purdue captured the match-clinching set by a 25-18 margin.
Purdue's offense was at its best in the fourth frame tossing down 15 kills on .444 hitting. Kentucky managed a match-high 13 kills on .143 hitting. Rapp once again led the way with four hammers in the stanza.
Follow along with UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the Kentucky volleyball team and all of UK's 22 sports.