Wildcats' Have Perfect Weekend Despite Scare
Sept. 4, 1999
The Wildcats left Blacksburg, Va. Saturday night with three big W's, but to the Cats it felt more like four when injured starter Stephenie Taylor returned to the bench for the team's Saturday morning match after spending Friday night in the hospital. Everyone in attendance at Cassell Coliseum on Friday night received a tremendous scare when Taylor collapsed to the floor in the fourth game of Kentucky's match against host Virginia Tech.
Citing a strong pain in her lower back, Taylor reportedly lost sensation in her legs while she lied motionless on the court for 25 minutes before being immobilized and taken to a local hospital for treatment. At the hospital she reported having regained feeling in her legs and was listed in good condition. Taylor spent the night in the hospital for observation, but was released in time to see the Wildcats notch three victories on Saturday. At the time of Taylor's injury, UK was leading the match 2-1 and game four 11-7.
The match was resumed from that point and in an impressive display of composure, the Wildcats made short work of the Hokies to conclude the fourth game, 15-11, for the 3-1 victory.
Prior to being forced from the lineup, Taylor was having a great night defensively with 10 digs. Senior Katie Eiserman played an overall dominant game for the Cats leading the team with 13 kills/12 digs for the team's first double-double of the season.
In the morning match, the Wildcats battled hard for four games and beat a scrappy Northern Illinois team 3-1. UK dropped the first game 12-15, but stormed back to sweep the final three 15-9, 18-16 and 15-12. Freshman sensation Kristen Batt recorded her first career double-double with a team-high 20 kills to go with 14 digs. Homan and Eiserman also achieved double-doubles with 12 kills/10 digs and 17 kills/16 digs, respectively. Homan recorded a season-high .480 hitting percentage with no hitting errors.
UK closed out its Saturday sweep with a 3-0 shutout of Villanova in the battle of the Wildcats. The Lexington-based Cats shot out of the gates and never looked back, winning the match 15-3, 15-3 and 15-5. Kentucky played a nearly flawless game against ‘Nova as UK hit with an accuracy and efficiency that they had not displayed all season. UK hit at an incredible .493 clip and of the 11 players who saw action, not one had a negative hitting percentage. Efficiency was the name of the game as Megan Weiskircher led the way with 11 kills on 18 attempts (.556). Eiserman had her most effective offensive game of the season with nine kills and only one hitting error. Melissa Kracht was the most effective attacker for UK with five kills on six attempts (.833).
Even with the fear stemming from the Taylor incident, it was a groundbreaking weekend for the UK volleyball team.
"I was really impressed to see so much fight in our players and determination to win through such adversity," said coach Jona Braden. "We lost Stephenie in a terrible way and had hitters out of rhythm, but he kept attacking and got the job done. Our players really revealed a lot about themselves this weekend."
The Wildcats return to Lexington with a 4-0 mark on the season and return to action next Friday at the Big Orange Bash in Clemson, S.C. when they play the host Clemson Tigers.