Visiting Ohio Upsets the No. 10 Wildcats
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 10th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team faced its first setback of the 2015 campaign on Tuesday evening, as visiting Mid-American Conference powerhouse Ohio defeated the Wildcats, 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 30-28) in front of 1,401 fans in Memorial Coliseum.
Sophomore outside hitter Darian Mack paced the Wildcats with her second double-double of the season. The Raleigh, North Carolina native posted career-highs in kills (15) and digs (15).
Kentucky falls to 3-1 on the season with the loss, while Ohio jumps to 3-1 after the upset. The Wildcats play on Friday, when they will face Northern Iowa as a part of the UNI Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa. UK will also face No. 8 Southern Cal and Creighton in the round-robin tournament this weekend.
“I’m not thrilled about how we played,” said 11th-year head coach Craig Skinner. “We had to learn how to fight through adversity, and we have to get better at it as we move forward.”
Outside of Mack, both sophomore Ashley Dusek and junior Anni Thomasson posted double-figure digs. Dusek had a team-high 28, while Thomasson logged 16. Senior Morgan Bergren led the team with 33 assists and added two kills, while freshman setter Olivia Dailey had seven assists. Following an impressive weekend, sophomore middle blocker Kaz Brown had a team second-best nine kills.
Freshman Anna Nyberg saw her most extensive action of the season and registered five kills, while classmate Brooke Morgan contributed four. Senior Sara Schwarzwalder appeared in two sets and logged three hammers and a trio of blocks, while sophomore Sharay Barnes had a career-best four in the final frame of play.
After Ohio kicked off the first set with a four-point streak, the Wildcats responded with a 12-4 spurt of their own. After another Ohio point, Kentucky scored six-straight to take an 18-9 lead. The resilient Bobcats climbed back to as close as one, but UK secured the win on a kill from Morgan, 25-23.
Ohio jumped out to an 8-3 lead from the start, forcing the Wildcats to claw their way back in the second set. The Cats closed the set to a four-point gap on multiple occasions, but couldn’t overcome the deficit. Four Cats in Brown, Mack, Nyberg and Morgan logged multiple kills in the set.
The third set was a tug-of-war, as the sides tied 14 times en route to the 25-23, Ohio victory. Ohio opened the stanza on a 6-3 run before UK responded with one of its own to tie the set at nine. After falling behind three points, Mack registered three-straight kills to tie the match once more at 13-all. The sides traded points until a kill by Ohio’s Jamie Kosiorek closed out the set.
With both sides exchanging points to a 4-4 draw, a block from Brown and Nyberg sparked a 10-5 run for UK. Ohio closed the gap, managing to pull ahead at 25-24. Barnes logged a career-high four kills in the set, and the Wildcats defended set point on three occasions, but Ohio was able to secure the final margin at, 30-28 to clinch the match.
By the Numbers
28 – Ashley Dusek logged a team-high 28 digs, including 10 over the final frame of play
15 – Darian Mack’s career-high kills
13 – Number of players to see action vs. Ohio, with the entire roster making contributions in the effort
4 – Sharay Barnes logged a career-high four kills on the night – all in the fourth set
2 –Mack logged her second double-double of the season with 15 kills and 15 digs
Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 11-12. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Omaha, Neb., from the Lexington Region. This marks the third time in five seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event. Parking is limited and fans are encouraged to arrive early.