Cats Close Out Play at SMU Invitational with 3-1 Win Over Weber St.
Sept. 1, 2001
DALLAS, Texas - The University of Kentucky volleyball team improved its record to 2-1 on the season after defeating the Weber State Wildcats, 3-1, in UK's final match of the Southern Methodist Invitational in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Sophomore Sissy Canfield had a stellar showing at the two-day tournament, notching a career-high 18 kills against SMU en route to a weekend tally of 47. Also looking impressive at the tournament was junior Kristen Batt, whose 25 kills against Weber St. put her just two short of her career high . Senior Whitney Sample, playing in front of a hometown crowd for the first time in her four-year career at UK, notched 192 assists on the weekend, bringing her career total to 2,373. The Arlington, Texas native passed Terri Crabb and now stands in fifth place on UK's list of all-time assist leaders.
The Cats (2-1) fell behind early in the first game, 5-1, before tying it up at eight on an April Barnhorst kill. The teams remained tight during the contest, but WSU (0-3) built a 22-18 lead, causing a UK timeout. UK roped together two kills and a service ace from Barnhorst before a Canfield kill tied the game at 23. Two service aces by Whitney Sample put the Cats up by two, but Weber St. wouldn't back down, forcing another tie at 25. The squads continued to play tug o' war, playing to a total of 10 ties down the stretch before UK took the highly competitive game, 36-34, on an Anne Koester kill.
The second game proved to be another back and forth struggle, with UK pulling away down the stretch, holding SMU scoreless in the last six plays. Kristen Batt continued to dominate the attack, tallying seven kills in the match, while leading the Wildcats to a 30-26 win.
Despite playing a five-game match with SMU just an hour and a half before the start of the battle with Kentucky, Weber State refused to back down. WSU kept with the Cats, forcing tie after tie throughout the third game. Service errors on the Kentucky side helped lift Weber St. to a 30-23 win in the game, forcing a fourth battle.
Weber St. had a clear advantage throughout the match, taking a 24-18 lead down the stretch before a refocused Kentucky squad put together several offensive attacks under the direction of Sarah Spinner. The Wildcats cut the WSU lead to two at 26-24 before a Barnhorst kill and a hitting error tied the score at 26. Barnhort took control from there, guiding her team to the 30-28 win with three kills in the clutch. A kill from Spinner was enough to seal the match for UK.
"The fight became more productive, determined and intentional down the stretch," Coach Jona Braden said. "That allowed our players something to feed off of. We got down six and the mental toughness and focus pulled us were very highly demonstrated. I think our leadership was what carried us to the win in the end."
Canfield looks to be a contender for tournament MVP honors which will be announced following Saturday's final match between host SMU and Duke. A tournament champion also will be determined at that time.
The Wildcats return home on Tuesday, Sept. 4, for their home opener with intrastate rival Western Kentucky in Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m.