No. 10 Kentucky Powers Past Ohio, 3-1
Aug. 31, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - The 10th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team powered past the host Ohio Bobcats for a 3-1 (25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21) road victory on Friday night in front of 3,318 fans at the Convocation Center. Senior setter Christine Hartmann passed out 45 assists and earned a double-double effort with a team-high 14 digs in the win.
With the victory the Wildcats improve to 4-1 on the season, while Ohio falls to 0-4 on the year. UK returns to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET in a top-20 showdown with No. 17 Oregon. UK will close out the Baymont Tournament at 8 p.m. ET against Western Carolina.
"Ohio is a good team," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "I'm really proud of the way we came out in game one and applied lots of pressure. Ohio then played well in game three, but I thought we fought through some adversity and really played well after point 20 in the fourth set. Our blocking defense was pretty consistent most of the match again for us."
Sophomore Lauren O'Conner led the way for the fifth consecutive match with 15 kills on .342 hitting. Junior Whitney Billings also reached double figures with 13 kills and narrowly missed out on her fourth-straight double-double effort with nine digs. Senior Ashley Frazier chipped in with nine kills and junior Alexandra Morgan added eight. Freshman Kayla Tronick saw the first match action of her career and totaled a trio of kills and added a block over the final two stanzas.
Hartmann paved the way defensively with 14 scoops and four blocks. Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder led the front line with six blocks, while Morgan added five and Billings chipped in with four. Senior libero Stephanie Klefot had nine digs with sophomore Jackie Napper matching that total.
Kentucky jumped out to a fast pace scoring the opening four points on a pair of O'Conner kills. Billings added a kill of her own and then teamed up with Morgan for a block to force the Bobcats into a very early timeout. UK's pressure did not stop following the break as the Blue and White stretched its lead to as many as eight at 16-8 following a crushing kill from Billings and then an ace from the Helena, Ala., native.
UK capped the set with a 25-16 victory dominating in all phases of the game. UK totaled 15 kills and four blocks in the set led by four hammers from Billings. She also chipped in with a pair of blocks to pace the scoring.
Ohio earned an early advantage going up as many as six at 11-5 forcing the Wildcats to us a timeout. Following the break, Kentucky utilized a 7-2 run to bridge the gap and come within one at 13-12 following a kill from Morgan and an ace from Billings. Ohio then took its first timeout to attempt to quell the threat.
Kentucky however would not go away eventually tying the score at 16 as Hartmann and Schwarzwalder teamed up for a block. Hartmann and Billings charted consecutive kills to give the Wildcats their first lead of the frame at 19-17 and Ohio burned its final timeout. Kentucky then finished the set on a 6-4 run for the 25-21 victory.
Ohio scored the first four points of the third set and never looked back en route to a 25-21 victory to force a fourth frame. Kentucky posted 14 kills on a mere .175 hitting clip, while Ohio banged out 15 on a .355 percentage. Kentucky kept the pressure on and three consecutive kills from O'Conner lifted the Blue and White to its largest lead of the frame at 17-10. Ohio clawed back and got back to within 22-20. Kentucky closed the frame on a 3-1 run and captured the match.
Kentucky responded by grabbing an early 10-7 lead in the fourth following a 4-0 run which was highlighted by kills from both Billings and Tronick. Hartmann capped the run with a service ace to force the Bobcats into a timeout.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team. For additional coverage of the volleyball squad be sure and check out CatScratchesBlog.com/volleyball.