Wildcats Fall to Marquette in Four Sets
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Playing at home for the first time this season, the Kentucky volleyball team could not take advantage of their familiar surroundings, as the Wildcats lost to Marquette 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 25-17) on Friday night in Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats struggled to find their rhythm despite a valiant effort from junior Harper Hempel who made her first career start at setter on Friday. A former walk-on Harper registered 45 assists, filling in for Olivia Dailey who was unavailable for the match. Marquette utilized a .303 attacking clip to pull away for the four-set victory.
“I’m disappointed in the result, but I’m pleased with the way we handled serve-receive,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “I think with Liv’s (Dailey) situation today, Harper did an admiral job, leading the offense to 60 kills after finding out she’d be setting for us earlier in the afternoon.”
For the sixth time in seven matches, freshman Leah Edmond led UK in kills. The Lexington, Kentucky, native had 17 in Friday’s match, to go along with a career-high 10 digs, giving Edmond her first career double-double.
Junior Darian Mack also had 17 kills for the Wildcats, reaching double digits in kills for the third time this season. Sophomore Brooke Morgan had a season-high 10 kills in the match for the Wildcats.
Hempel found five different players for six or more kills on the night. The junior from Union, Kentucky, also matched a career high with five digs in the match.
Junior Ashley Dusek led the way defensively with a match-high tying 21 digs. Sophomore McKenzie Watson added 10 digs of her own, while senior Anni Thomasson provided eight. Junior Emily Franklin led the Cats with four blocks while also adding eight kills on the night.
Kentucky is now 3-4 on the season while Marquette moves to 6-2. The Wildcats return to action in the Bluegrass Battle on Saturday morning, facing Virginia at 11 a.m. Kentucky will round out play in the event on Saturday at 7:30 against Saint Louis. Both matches will be available via SEC Network+ and streamed online through WatchESPN.
Kentucky fell behind early in the first set, trailing 9-4. The Wildcats scored eight of the next 11 points to tie the set at 12. Franklin, Edmond and Mack each accounted for two points in the streak. However, Marquette responded by winning the next four points, and went on to win the set 25-21. Kentucky hit .235 in the set, while Marquette hit .289. Edmond led the Kentucky offense with five kills, while Dusek had eight digs and Hempel had 12 assists.
The second set started much differently, as the Wildcats notched three kills in their first four swings on their way to an early 3-1 lead. However, the Golden Eagles quickly responded, rallying to lead 9-7. Kentucky then scored six in a row, led by Mack, who had three kills and a block in the run. The Wildcats would not trail again in the set, winning 25-19. Kentucky hit .343 in the set, led by Mack, who had six kills, and Edmond who added had four. Dusek, Edmond and Watson each had three digs in the second set, while Hempel had 15 more assists as Kentucky evened the match.
The Wildcats started very slowly in the third set, falling behind 12-2. Kentucky was able to mount a bit of a rally, cutting the lead to 15-9, but the Wildcats would get no closer, falling 25-18. Kentucky hit just .093 in the set, while Marquette hit .344. Edmond did what she could to keep the Wildcats in the set, recording five kills, while Morgan added three. Dusek and Edmond had four digs apiece in the set, and Hempel had eight assists on Kentucky’s 12 kills.
The fourth set was even early, but Marquette’s attacking sparked a lead. The Golden Eagles hit .378 in the set, recording 17 kills and just three errors. Kentucky hit just .128 in the final set, with 13 kills and seven errors as Marquette took the frame 25-17. Mack was strong again, recording six kills in the set, while Edmond had three kills of her own. Hempel had 10 assists, while Dusek had six digs in the frame.
BY THE NUMBERS
.192 – Kentucky hit just .192 for the match. When hitting less than .200 this season, the Wildcats are 0-4
56 – Edmond had a career-high 56 total attacks in the match, topping her previous high of 48 against Purdue
3 – Kentucky had three players reach double figures in digs. Dusek (21), Edmond (10) and Watson (10) all reached the number
Single-match and season tickets for the 2015 campaign are on sale now. Season tickets begin at $35, and single-match ticket information can be found here. More information on how to buy tickets can be found here or by calling the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-CATS.