UK Claims First Road Win in the SEC
Sept. 26, 2008
ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team posted its ninth-consecutive victory, this one on the road, as they claimed a 3-1 victory over Georgia Friday night. Kentucky took the match by the score of 25-19, 25-18, 14-25, 25-19.
The Bulldog nation was out in full force for the match, bringing in the largest crowd of the season and the pep band for the match-up with the Wildcats. Kentucky (12-2, 3-0) led by senior Queen Nzenwa's eight-kill and six-block performance, were unfazed as they calmly picked up their first road win in conference play this season.
Four Kentucky players registered eight or more kills on the night, as the team hit .287 overall for the match. Reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week, Sarah Mendoza, and freshman Becky Pavan each reached double-figure kill efforts with 10. Freshman Ann Armes tallied nine, while Nzenwa and Rapp each posted eight on the night. Junior Sarah Rumely chipped in with five kills, while dishing out 37 assists on the night. She added three serving aces, and now is just one shy of eighth place on the all-time list at Kentucky. Junior BriAnne Sauer led the defensive effort with 14 digs. Rapp paced the Blue and White in the point-column tallying 12.5 points on the night with her eight kills, two blocks and three aces.
"It was really great to come out here and get our first win on the road in the SEC," said UK Head Coach Craig Skinner. "I thought we played very well in the opening two sets, and then Georgia's athleticism showed and their intensity picked up in the third set. I was really proud of the way we responded in the fourth set to get the win."
In the winning fourth set for the Wildcats, the Blue and White opened up with an early lead they would never give up. A Georgia serving error began the scoring, but a Rapp serving ace followed. UK stayed in control through the first part of the set, highlighted by back-to-back Big Blue blocks off the arms of Nzenwa and Rumely giving the visitors a 12-7 advantage. The Wildcats took hold of their largest lead at 16-9 behind a kill from Mendoza. The Bulldogs would pull within 18-13, but a hammer from Pavan gave UK back complete control. Kentucky benefited from six Georgia serving errors and six attacking errors in the frame. Kentucky claimed the match victory on a Georgia handling error, giving them a fourth-set win at 25-19. Mendoza and Armes paced the UK attack in the fourth set with three kills a piece.
To begin the first set, Georgia claimed the first two points off back-to-back kills. Kentucky got on the board off a Bulldog service error, but then Rumely laid down the first offensive points of the night for the Blue and White. Kentucky grabbed the lead at 6-5 and never looked back. Consecutive kills from Rapp and Pavan stretched the UK lead to three making the score, 9-6. The Wildcats' biggest lead came at 17-10 off another crafty kill from Rumely. Georgia pulled to within three points at 19-16, but the Wildcats rallied behind a pair of blocks led by Nzenwa. She teamed up with Armes to make the score 23-18 in favor of the Wildcats, and then went up with Rumely ending the set on a trademark Big Blue Block with the score 25-19.
Kentucky used an incredible .500 hitting percentage in the first frame compared with Georgia's .185. Six Wildcats laid down two or more kills in the stanza, led by three each from Nzenwa and Pavan.
Nzenwa opened the second set with a powerful slam and Armes followed with a kill of her own to give UK the early 2-0 lead. However, Georgia would fight back with a run of its own and take control of the early part of the set. With Georgia up 11-9, UK was ignited by back-to-back rejections from Rapp. Rapp put-back a solo block and then followed that with a block assisted by Nzenwa. Pavan served up an ace and then Rapp laid down a kill to give the visitors a 12-11 lead they would not relinquish. The Wildcats claimed the second set by the score of 25-19 to go up 2-0 headed into the break.
Kentucky once again dominated offensively with a .344 hitting percentage, while holding Georgia to just .160 hitting. The Wildcats turned back three Bulldog offensive attempts while picking up 11 digs in the frame. Mendoza, Nzenwa and Armes each tallied three kills in the set.
Georgia came into the third set firing on all cylinders. They took the lead immediately with the first point of the set and carried it all the way through to a 25-14 set victory. In the third set, Georgia was the squad with the impressive hitting percentage firing at a .393 clip compared with UK's .147 percentage, which was the difference maker in the win for the home squad. Pavan led the Wildcats with four kills in the stanza, with Rapp registering two.
The Wildcats are back in action again on Sunday for their second of three-straight road matches. UK will take on LSU at 2:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge.
Complete coverage and up-to-date news on the UK volleyball team can be found at UKathletics.com.