UK Wins Tournament with Sweep of Terps
Sept. 6, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A dominating final performance from the Kentucky Wildcats earned a tournament win after sweeping the host Maryland Terrapins in the final match of the night Saturday. UK got a 25-13, 25-21, 25-11 in their best performance of the season.
"I thought it was a real dominating performance by our team today," said head coach Craig Skinner. "We've seen glimpses of this kind of performance in practice and some matches, but we really put it all together tonight."
Kentucky (5-2, 0-0) was led by the tournament's most valuable player Queen Nzenwa who tallied six kills, three digs and three blocks in the final match. Sophomore Sarah Mendoza had a night to remember with her first career double-double effort behind 17 kills and 13 digs. Mendoza added a career-best three service aces while hitting at a .417 clip. Junior Sarah Rumely tallied her second double-double of the day with 29 assists and a team-high 14 digs. All three players were named to the all-tournament team.
For the match, UK hit at a .337 percentage with seven different Cats registering a kill in the match. The Kentucky defense held Maryland to just .029 hitting and 22 kills.
UK opened with a dominating 25-13 win in the opening set behind Mendoza's six kills and three service aces. Sauer notched six digs to pace the defense. As a team Kentucky used a .375 hitting percentage with 11 kills from six different players.
After the Terrapins earned the first point of the opening frame, Kentucky rattled off five consecutive points forcing a Maryland timeout. Mendoza and Rumely each contributed a kill in the stretch. After a Maryland timeout, the Kentucky points didn't end as they rattled off another five to take a commanding 10-1 lead and the host squad then burned their final timeout in the early going. A Pavan-Hiler rejection was followed by consecutive service aces from Mendoza. A pair of Maryland errors added to the run. The Wildcats never were threatened taking a 10-point edge at 19-10 which included Mendoza's third ace in the frame, a new career-high. Nzenwa capped off the win with a thunderous kill.
The two teams traded points to open the second stanza before Kentucky earned a 5-2 advantage behind a kill from Hiler. Maryland kept within two points before UK went on a 3-0 run as Mendoza and Pavan each got kills and Rumely slid in an ace to give the Cats an 11-7 advantage. Kentucky stretched its lead to 18-10 behind outstanding back-to-back blocks from the teams of Hiler and Pavan and Rapp and Nzenwa. Maryland used an 8-1 run of their own to tie the score at 19, but Nzenwa's timely kill ended the cycle. The score pulled within 22-20, yet UK wasn't fazed. The Wildcats stood their ground and a pair of Mendoza kills gave Kentucky the second win of the match with a 25-21 score.
Rapp led the offense in the second frame putting down five kills, as four UK players had two or more hammers on .237 hitting percentage. The Kentucky defense held Maryland under .100 hitting for the second straight set, as three Wildcats garnered four digs. Kentucky also registered four put-backs in the frame.
With the score knotted at six to start the third set, UK rode the right arm of Mendoza and received some outstanding defense from an unlikely source. Mendoza registered three consecutive points on kills behind a pair of Nzenwa digs to jump-start an 8-3 Kentucky run helping claim a lead they would never relinquish.
The Wildcats hit the court again with a non-conference home match against Tennessee State Wednesday. First serve is slated for a 6 p.m. start in Memorial Coliseum.
Complete coverage of the UK volleyball team can be found at UKathletics.com.