Aug. 29, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. -- Despite 11 team blocks led by five each from juniors Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler, the 14th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22) match to No. 9 Iowa State, Sunday on the final day of the Runza/AVCA Showcase.
Pavan and Giesler teamed up to help total 10 of UK's 11 blocks on the night. Sophomore libero Stephanie Klefot totaled 18 digs in the defensive effort. Iowa State (1-1) benefited from 11 UK (0-2) service errors and 22 hitting errors in the match.
"Iowa State did a great job responding after its loss yesterday and the loss of one of its players," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "It is an experienced team and they stepped up and made plays when they needed to, which is what Kentucky needs to learn how to do. Getting over the hump of not giving up runs of points will help this team learn how to win together."
Setter Christine Hartmann set a career-high with 42 assists and added three kills and six digs on the night. Freshman Whitney Billings led the team with a career-best 15 kills while senior Blaire Hiler added 11 hammers. Pavan charted nine kills and senior Lauren Rapp added eight.
UK returns to action with its first home match of the season on Wednesday. The Blue and White will welcome intrastate rival Louisville to Memorial Coliseum Sept. 1, at 6:30 p.m. ET. The match will air live on CWKYT.
Kentucky and Iowa State traded points back and forth for the early portions of the set with the Blue and White earning an 8-7 edge into the first media timeout. Giesler hammered down a pair of kills and she teamed up with Billings for a towering block to help UK get off to a good start. Out of the break UK picked up consecutive tallies behind a Hartmann kill and then the Wildcats' setter teamed up with Pavan for a block to force Iowa State to use an early timeout with UK leading 10-7.
The Cyclones and Wildcats battled back and forth with Iowa State able to inch closer and eventually tie the score at 12 apiece. Skinner opted to slow down the scoring and use his first timeout of the stanza.
After a block by Giesler and Billings, Iowa State rattled off back-to-back kills to take a 16-14 edge into the second media break of the set. Out of the break the Cyclones charted three more unanswered points and UK used its final timeout of the set trailing 19-14. The Cyclones closed the set on a 6-3 run to earn the opening set win with a 25-17 score.
Iowa State totaled 15 kills compared to seven from the Wildcats. Rapp and Giesler led the Blue and White with a pair of hammers each and Klefot charted four digs in the stanza.
Billings began the scoring in the second stanza with a kill which ignited a UK rally. The Wildcats took an 8-4 edge into the first media timeout behind six kills on .444 hitting. Kentucky extended its advantage to a 12-6 margin as the Wildcats totaled four more kills and then Rapp and Giesler teamed up for a stuff-block to force the Cyclones into a timeout. The squads traded points with the Blue and White maintaining a six-point advantage into the second media break with a 16-10 score.
The Cyclones broke the huddle and ran off three straight points to pull to within 16-13 and forced UK to take its first timeout of the frame. Iowa State battled back to within one at 17-16 and then eventually knotted the score at 19 all. The Cyclones gave a point back to the Blue and White with a service error and then Klefot charted an ace to give the Wildcats a two-point edge at 21-19. A Rapp-Pavan block gave UK a three-point cushion and the Cyclones opted to use their final timeout. Kills from Rapp, Pavan and Billings helped UK end the set with a 25-22 win and even the set scores at one apiece.
UK charted a season-high 17 kills in the set and used a .297 hitting clip in the process. Billings led the way with six kills to aid the UK cause.
Iowa State claimed an early 8-4 edge into the first media timeout in the third stanza. The Cyclones benefited from five UK miscues from the service line and hitting errors combined to take the lead. Kentucky clawed its way back into things and knotted the score at 10 apiece after consecutive plays from Rapp. The senior charted a kill and then teamed up with Giesler for another Big Blue block. Iowa State answered with three straight points of its own to reclaim a three-point lead at 14-11 and forcing UK into a timeout. Into the second media break of the set the Cyclones maintained a three-point edge at 16-13.
The Wildcats continued to fight and clawed back to within one at 23-22, but Iowa State would score the final two points to take the third set by a 25-22 margin. Kentucky committed seven service errors in the frame.
In the fourth set, Iowa State jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage. UK would eventually come back and tie the score at six apiece. Iowa State, however, would chart consecutive points to take the 8-6 edge into the first stoppage of play. Out of the break, Kentucky charted three kills and Hartmann came up with a solo block as the Blue and White pulled out in front by a 10-8 score and forced Iowa State to take a timeout.
Kentucky managed to maintain a lead into the second media timeout of the stanza, but Iowa State pulled back to within one at 16-15 behind a pair of long-rally kills. Iowa State eventually tied the score at 16 all and the teams continued to exchange points before the Cyclones broke for a two-point edge at 23-21 behind a kill and a block. After a UK timeout Iowa State managed to score on another kill to take a 24-21 lead and UK opted to use its second timeout. Out of the second break, Hiler tossed down a kill to keep the game alive, but Iowa State answered with a kill to take the match on a 25-22 set four score.
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Redshirt freshman Whitney Billings earned her first career start in just her second collegiate match. Billings set a career-high with 15 kills on the night.
Setter Christine Hartmann had career-highs in assists (42) and kills (3).