Volleyball Captures Kentucky Classic with Third Sweep
Sept. 3, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team captured the Kentucky Classic in stylish fashion capping off the weekend with its third consecutive sweep this time a (25-22, 25-22, 29-27) win over Virginia Tech Saturday evening in front of 1,188 fans in Memorial Coliseum.
The Blue and White did not drop a set in the first of its two home tournaments and improve to 5-2 overall on the season. Virginia Tech drops to 3-3 on the year with the loss.
"They (the tournament field) are all good teams that we played this weekend," UK coach Craig Skinnersaid. "We talked about being more consistent and I thought we did that this weekend."
Junior libero Stephanie Klefotwas the anchor of consistency for the Blue and White this weekend with an average of five digs per set en route to earning the tournament's most valuable player honors. She picked up a match-high 14 in the clinching victory over Virginia Tech.
Setter Christine Hartmann and outside hitter Lauren O'Connerwere also named to the All-Tournament team. Hartmann averaged 11.5 assists per set in setting up four players with more than 2.20 kills per stanza. The squad posted a tournament-best .220 hitting clip under Hartmann's direction. O'Conner paced the Wildcat attack with 3.78 digs per set and 4.28 overall points. O'Conner tallied three straight double-figure kill efforts and led the Wildcats in scoring in every match.
In tonight's victory, sophomore Whitney Billingsprovided an additional spark with a season-high 10 kills and 13 scoops for the team's first double-double effort of the season. She also posted four blocks to add to her stat line.
Senior Gretchen Giesler also reached double-figures with 10 kills, while senior Ann Armes tallied eight and paced the defensive front line with six rejections. Junior Ashley Frazier chipped in with eight hammers and the duo of sophomore Jessi Greenberg and freshman Jackie Nappercombined for 12 digs.
The Wildcats benefited from a 10-1 run through the middle half of the opening set to go ahead 1-0 behind a 25-22 victory. UK posted 17 kills on a blistering .333 average led by four kills each from Armes and O'Conner.
Kentucky grabbed the early lead behind a kill from Giesler, but Virginia Tech rallied to earn the largest lead of the set at 14-9. Another kill from Giesler jump started the 10-1 run in which UK struck for five kilsl in the run and the team of Armes and Billings paired up for a pair of blocks. With Kentucky owning a 19-15 edge after the dominating run, the Wildcats marched on to the opening frame victory topped off by a kill from Frazier.
Armes' defensive prowess opened the second set which was finished by an O'Conner kill that gave the Wildcats the first point of the set and UK never looked back. Kentucky maintained a lead throughout the entire frame and a kill from Giesler became the clinching point in another 25-22 win.
UK notched 15 kills on .162 hitting with Giesler leading the charge with five. Kentucky's defense was at its best in the second set forcing Virginia Tech into nine hitting errors, five of which turned into UK blocks. The Hokies managed just 10 kills on a .029 hitting clip.
The final set of action turned into an exciting finish for the raucous crowd. Kentucky opened a substantial lead going ahead as many as seven at 8-1. The visitors would not go away, however, fighting back to eventually tie the score at 21. The Hokies then scored the next three points to earn set-point at 24-22. UK saved the match with back-to-back kills from O'Conner and Giesler.
An error by Virginia Tech lifted UK to set point, but the visitors fired back. The team of Hartmann and Armes combined for a stuff block to give UK a 28-27 edge. Armes finished the match by tossing down her eighth kill of the match to preserve Kentucky's unblemished weekend.
The Wildcats posted a match-high 19 kills in the frame with O'Conner finishing strong with seven in the set.
UK returns to action Wed., Sept. 7 when it plays host to intra-state rival Louisville at 7 p.m. ET. The match will air live on Fox Sports South in the states of Kentucky and North Carolina. The CWKYT will tape delay the broadcast at 10 p.m. ET that evening.
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 9-10. UK is one of four sites selected for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, from the Lexington Region. Tickets are on sale now through the UK Ticket Office.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team and all of Kentucky's 22 teams.
Kentucky Classic Tournament Schedule
Friday, Sept. 2
Saturday, Sept. 3