Wildcats Pick Up Fourth-Straight 3-0 Win, Down Lipscomb Saturday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the fourth-consecutive match the Kentucky volleyball team earned a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) victory, this time sweeping Lipscomb on Saturday night in front of 1,612 fans in Memorial Coliseum.
UK was paced by the electric offensive play of its starting outside hitters in junior Darian Mack and freshman Leah Edmond. The duo teamed up for 24 kills and both boasted at least a .400 attacking percentage to pave the way for the Cats.
Kentucky also limited an up-tempo Lipscomb offense to a mere .162 hitting and 35 kills on the night. UK posted seven blocks, four from junior Emily Franklin, while picking up 39 digs to frustrate the Bison all night. Edmond led the backline defensive effort with a match-high 11 digs.
“I felt very good about the way we played defense tonight,” 12th-year head coach Craig Skinner said. “Lipscomb is a very good offensive team, and they typically average around 15 kills per set. I think we held them to 12 or something like that. So to be able to do that against an offensive team like Lipscomb, I felt like we were dialed in. It wasn't always pretty the whole night, but we were able to get it done."
Kentucky has finished its non-conference slate strong with four-consecutive victories in the form of sweeps. UK improved to 7-4 on the season, while Lipscomb dropped to 7-4. The Wildcats will begin Southeastern Conference action on Wednesday as they host Georgia for an 8 p.m. tilt that will air live on the SEC Network. Fans are reminded that Wednesday’s match will offer $1 general admission tickets and select concession items will also be priced at $1.
“We can play defense at a very high level, and we also have the ability to kill the ball at a high level,” Skinner said after concluding non-conference play. “So, if we're able to combine those on any given night, I feel very good about our chances to win each match we get involved in. But we need to iron out a couple things offensively to get ready for the SEC. I'm sure Georgia, after a good pre-conference is ready to go Wednesday night so we'll have a couple practices Monday and Tuesday to get ready."
Edmond secured her third double-double of the season with team highs in kills (14) and digs (11) in the win. She has topped the team in kills in all but one match this season and reached double-digit kill numbers in 10 of 11 matches. Mack provided another steady arm from the outside with 10 kills on .400 hitting. She also added a pair of blocks.
Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey anchored the Wildcats once again with 34 assists and found four players for six or more kills on the night. Dailey added six digs and a block to her stat line.
Middle blockers Kaz Brown and Emily Franklin totaled nine and six kills, respectively. Franklin connected on her six hammers at a squad-best .750 hitting clip. Her four blocks led the way at the net, while Brown chipped in with three.
Junior libero Ashley Dusek had nine digs on the night, while sophomore McKenzie Watson contributed four. Senior Anni Thomasson logged three digs, two aces and a kill to aid the Wildcat cause, and Brooke Morgan posted three blocks and a dig.
The Wildcats scored the match’s first three points and never looked back en route to a 25-17 opening set victory. Lipscomb never got within three again as UK dominated in all areas. Kentucky had three players register four kills in Brown, Edmond and Mack. UK combined for four blocks in the frame with Franklin getting in on three of them. Kentucky logged 16 total kills on an impressive .429 attacking percentage, while limiting Lipscomb to just eight total kills and a .037 clip.
Lipscomb scored the set’s first point, but UK responded with four-straight capped by an ace from Thomasson. The Bison would not fold, however, and eventually clawed back to tie things at 10-10. Lipscomb earned its first lead of the entire match at 12-11 and would extend its advantage to 17-13. Kentucky responded in a big way with a 7-3 run concluded by a Mack kill. The Wildcats would take a lead at 21-20 and score the frame’s final four points with the Bison committing back-to-back attacking errors to lift UK to a 25-21 set victory. Kentucky notched 12 kills with Edmond leading the way with four. She also had a team-high five digs in the set. Lipscomb was more efficient in the second set, posting 12 kills on a .182 hitting clip with UK not registering a single block in the frame.
The third set was the most hotly-contested of the three with neither team able to shake loose for more than a one-point lead until UK rattled off three-straight for a 17-14 edge. The Bison would maintain a three-point deficit until the home team scored the match’s final two points clinching the victory on a Mack kill to the donut. Lipscomb managed to post 15 kills compared with 12 from the Wildcats, but it was UK’s defensive effort that proved the difference. Kentucky registered three blocks and forced six total Bison errors in the frame. Morgan and Brown both had two rejections, while nine of 10 UK players logged at least one dig in the stanza.
BY THE NUMBERS
7 – Kentucky had seven total blocks on the night and 39 digs to fluster the high-octane offensive unit of Lipscomb into just a .162 attacking clip and 19 total errors in the match
4 – Olivia Dailey connected with four Wildcats for six or more kills on the night, while UK posted a .293 attacking clip as a team
4 – The win marks the fourth-straight sweep for the Wildcats as they enter Southeastern Conference action
3 – Leah Edmond now has a team-high three double-doubles following a 14-kill, 11-dig performance
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.