Volleyball Cats Take Tournament Title with 3-1 Win over Witchita State
Sept. 7, 2002
RALEIGH, N.C. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team claimed tournament honors at the Outback Steakhouse Wolfpack Classic with a 3-1 win over Witchita State on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Raleigh, N.C.
Sarah Spinner was the spark the Cats needed in game four to earn the win as the sophomore finished the day with 21 kills on .310 hitting. Senior Kristen Batt led the attack from the start, however, completing the match with 15 kills and 15 digs, assuring her a spot on the all-tournament team which will be announced late Saturday.
"We played gritty and fought for every point in this tournament," Coach Jona Braden said. "We figured out a way to score and that's what we've been working on in practice. Wichita State was a great opponent for us to face this weekend. I have to give a lot of credit to our bench today for great emotional support."
Kentucky (4-2) took the first point of the afternoon on a Shocker net violation and didn't look back in game one, cruising to the 30-23 decision to take a 1-0 advantage in the match. Batt led the way with seven kills on 10 attempts in the game for a .700 hitting percentage with three digs.
The Wildcats faced a more uphill battle in game two, playing to seven early ties before WSU went on 9-2 run to take the 17-10 lead and force a Kentucky timeout. With WSU holding another seven-point lead at 22-16, the Cats pulled together a 9-3 run to tie things at 25.
After Wichita State put up two quick points out of a timeout, the teams battled close as a Batt kill tied the game at 29. After a WSU kill, Batt again saved UK from game point with a kill, tying the match at 20. The Shockers held strong, taking the decision at 32-30 after a Spinner hit was ruled out of bounds off the net.
The start of game three saw several swings of momentum with six early ties before UK took the lead for good at 12-11 on a Shocker service error. Kentucky stretched the lead to as many as six at 27-21 with a Spinner solo block, but three quick points put WSU back in the game later at 28-25 to force a UK timeout. A Canfield put-down placed her at the service line for the game point, which she aced for the 30-25 win and a 2-1 advantage heading into game four.
The fourth game proved to be a tug 'o war with the two teams battling to a 13th tie at 15, the midpoint of the game. UK was able to keep a minimal lead for a short time before a two-hits call on UK and a block assist by the Shockers gave WSU a 25-24 lead and forced a Kentucky timeout.
Miscues by the Cats put them behind the eight ball at 28-25, but the fire wasn't gone for UK as a kill by Spinner and a solo block by Kaplan tied the game at 28. After tying again at 29 and 30, Kentucky took the match on back-to-back kills by Canfield and Spinner, giving them the tournament title.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday, Sept. 13, when the play host to the Kentucky Conference Challenge at Memorial Coliseum. Dayton opens the tournament against Western Michigan at 5 p.m. before UK faces Wake Forest at 7 p.m. The round-robin tournament concludes on Saturday.