Volleyball Cats Win Tough Battle with SMU, 3-2
Aug. 30, 2003
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team earned its first victory of the 2003 season with a gritty 3-2 win over Southern Methodist on the second day of Wake Forest's Demon Deacon Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 30 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The match saw some terrific individual performances by the Wildcats, including a career match by sophomore setter Leigh Marcum. Marcum totaled 57 assists and five kills in the win, both career bests. Sarah Spinner had a stellar day against the Mustangs, recording 18 kills and a career-best 24 digs.
Freshman Melissa Popp totaled nine kills and 16 digs in just her second college game, while fellow frosh Jenni Casper had her first double-digit dig game with 10. Senior Liz McCaslin also contributed 13 digs to UK's 84 total digs.
The Wildcats (1-1) earned just six team blocks to SMU's (1-1) total of 15. The Cats hit .212 to Southern Methodist's .172.
Kentucky got off to a good start in the first game, taking the first lead at 1-0 on a kill by Popp. The Cats would trail just twice from there as UK built its lead to as many as six down the stretch at 23-17 before earning the 30-26 win. Canfield was unstoppable in the game, recording seven kills and a .700 hitting percentage. UK hit an outstanding .421 as a team in the opening stint.
The Wildcats opened up the second game with back-to-back convincing kills from Spinner and Liz McCaslin. UK would never trail again in the game as Canfield added six kills to her total and Spinner had five in the game. The Cats won the second portion, 30-19.
SMU regrouped during the halftime break and took an early 7-1 lead, forcing UK to take a timeout. The Cats were able t o claw their way back into the game and used a Canfield kill and block and two kills by Spinner to cut it to a two-point deficit at 14-12, forcing a Mustang timeout. UK closed the gap to one at 17-16, but watched as SMU ripped off three straight to lead 20-16.
After a Wildcat timeout, Southern Methodist extended the lead further and earned a 30-20 win on an error by Spinner.
Kentucky trailed early in the fourth game, falling behind 9-3, before rallying to cut the advantage to three at 15-12, forcing a Mustang timeout. Gritty play allowed the Wildcats to tie the game at 17 on a kill by Leigh Marcum. SMU, however, wasn't ready to relinquish its lead and used fierce blocking to regain a five-point edge at 23-18. The Cats were able to string together several solid plays, but the SMU defense was stifling as the Mustangs cruised to the 30-22 victory and forced the deciding fifth game.
UK opened up the final game on a mission, rolling to an 8-1 lead and causing the Mustangs to burn two timeouts early. SMU got back in the game at 12-7 and forced the Cats to talk it over. Southern Methodist used several Kentucky miscues to push the score to 14-13 and force a timeout on the UK bench.
Popp put down her first game-winning kill after the break, giving UK the 3-2 win with a 15-13 final game score.