Volleyball Cats Hit Stride in Win over North Carolina State
Sept. 6, 2002
RALEIGH, N.C. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team used a commanding performance against North Carolina State to take a 3-1 win on the opening night of the Outback Steakhouse Wolfpack Classic in Raleigh, N.C.
Senior Kristen Batt led the Wildcats (2-2) with 25 kills and a .467 hitting percentage, a career best. Freshman Amy Kaplan was a sparkplug in two games, recording four kills while hitting .800. Also hitting well for UK was setter Kristi Kelley (.714) with five kills and no errors in seven attempts. The Wildcats hit .381 on the night to N.C. State's .180.
"We let N.C. State back in to game one and we wanted to dictate after that," Coach Jona Braden said. "We put together some solid strings of points throughout the rest of the match. We got great defensive play from Aleisha Craven, our backcourt libero, but I still want more offensive execution."
The Wolfpack opened up an early 4-1 lead in the first game before UK came back to tie the score at six with a Kristen Batt kill. The teams battled through six more ties before the Cats took a 20-15 lead, forcing an NCSU timeout. The Pack sparked a run out of the timeout, taking three quick points and causing Braden and the Wildcats to talk it over. A Katie Bright kill put the Cats up 29-26, poised for a win. N.C. State, however, had another plan and took the next five points to shock Kentucky and take the game win, 31-29.
After starting the second game with a 7-4 lead, Kentucky again let the Wolfpack back in as the team saw five ties before UK took a five-point lead at 17-15. The Wildcats continued to dominate the game, stretching their lead to 11 with the 30-19 win on a Sissy Canfield kill.
After returning from the break, UK kept possession of a small lead early before N.C. State came alive, putting together a 4-0 run to take the 13-9 advantage. After the teams traded service errors for several points, the Cats put together a small run to tie the game at 16, forcing an NCSU timeout. A 5-0 Kentucky run forced another timeout for the Pack. NCSU could only pull out three more points before an Amy Kaplan ace gave UK the game win, 30-19, and a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Kaplan continued to set the tone in game four, leading the Cats to an early 10-2 lead with three kills, an ace and a share of a block assist. The Wolfpack wouldn't go away, though, cutting the lead to four at 17-13. UK found its fire again, taking four consecutive points to force an N.C. State timeout with the 21-13 edge. The Wildcats hit some rough spots on the way, but earned the match victory over the Wolfpack with a 30-23 game four win.
UK returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 7, when it faces Charlotte at 10 a.m. and Wichita State at 4:30 p.m. to close out play in the tournament.