Sept. 25, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A season-best offensive performance guided Kentucky to a 3-1 (25-21, 25-13, 21-25, 25-15) victory at South Carolina Sunday. UK charted a season-best .398 hitting clip and had three players in double-figures with 10 or more kills. The trio committed a mere four combined errors led by a flawless performance from senior Ann Armes.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 12-3 on the season and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference action. South Carolina drops to 9-4 on the year and 0-3 in league action.
"I thought we played really well for the most part on the road," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "South Carolina had a great crowd and it really is a tough place to play. We had a lot of people step up offensively and we really terminated the ball well."
Armes totaled 11 kills on a career-best .647 hitting percentage. Senior Becky Pavan led the way with 15 kills on .520 hitting, while junior Ashley Frazier totaled 14 kills on a .522 clip. Pavan notched 10 kills over the final two stanzas.
"Becky took over in game four and helped seal the win for us," Skinner said.
Junior setter Christine Hartmann dished out 48 assists at a .533 clip and matched a career-high with seven hammers of her own to the Wildcat cause.
UK limited the league's top-statistical offensive squad to 44 kills on .205 hitting. Kentucky charted 10 blocks in the match with Pavan leading the way with six for the day. Junior Stephanie Klefot had a match-high 15 digs and sophomore Whitney Billings chipped in with 12. Freshman Lauren O'Conner posted a career-high seven scoops and added eight kills in the match.
Sophomore Jessi Greenberg and freshman Jackie Napper added to the defensive presence in the back row with seven and four digs, respectively.
Frazier's six kills on .600 hitting led the Wildcats to a 25-21 opening set victory. UK's junior did not commit an error in her 10 attempts to lead the attack. Kentucky charted 16 kills on .314 hitting in the frame. UK also forced South Carolina's high-octane offense into five hitting errors in the frame.
Armes opened the set with a kill which was followed by a block from the hands of Billings and Pavan. South Carolina tied the score on six occasions throughout the frame, but never stole the lead from the visitors. The final tied score came at 16, and UK rallied to score nine of the final 14 points of the frame to pull away. Kills from Frazier and Armes ended the set in favor of the Blue and White.
Kentucky charted 15 kills on .393 hitting in the second set with three players tallying three or more in the set. Frazier posted five, Pavan added four and Hartmann struck for three. UK's defense limited South Carolina to a mere seven kills on .034 hitting. UK totaled four blocks in the set led by two from the arms of Pavan.
South Carolina opened the scoring in the set, but UK rallied back and grabbed the lead at 4-3 with Hartmann's first kill of the set. Kentucky then utilized a 12-6 run capped off by back-to-back kills from Pavan and O'Conner to earn a 15-9 edge. South Carolina would then charted four straight points to pull to within 16-13, but UK ended the set on a 9-0 run and did not allow South Carolina to score again for the 25-13 set victory. O'Conner had a pair of aces in the stretch to aid the Wildcat cause.
The Gamecocks forced extra frames with a 25-22 third set win. The home team fended off a late UK rally as the Blue and White charged back to within one after trailing by as many as five in the set. South Carolina had its best offensive output with 16 kills on .389 hitting, while UK managed 17 kills on a .378 hitting clip. Pavan and Armes paced the attack for the Wildcats with six and five kills, respectively.
After South Carolina opened the set by taking the early edge, it was a Hartmann solo rejection that gave the Blue and White a lead at 7-6 in which it would never relinquish. UK stretched its lead to 18-9 with a 7-0 run which was highlighted by a pair of Pavan-O'Conner blocks. Kentucky capped the set with a the 15th kill from the hand of Pavan for a 25-15 final set victory.
UK will remain on the road for two more matches next week. Up first for the Blue and White will be an 8 p.m. ET tilt at Arkansas Friday, Sept. 30. Kentucky will conclude its road swing at LSU Sunday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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.