Volleyball Cats Drop Close Battle with LSU, 3-2
Sept. 28, 2003
BATON ROUGE, La. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team lost a close battle with Louisiana State, 3-2, in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, Sept. 28. The Wildcats (8-6, 0-2 SEC) hit -.062 in the final game to LSU's .267. Overall, Kentucky hit .148 to the Tigers' .175.
Three Wildcats recorded double-figure kills in the loss, including Melissa Popp, who tied her career-best with 19. She had her third straight double-double with 13 digs as well. Sarah Spinner had 14 kills and 15 digs, but hit just .024 on the day. Danielle Wallace was strong off the bench again for UK with 10 kills on. 304 hitting to go with six digs.
Kentucky opened the match with a 6-0 run which included a service ace by Leigh Marcum. The Cats were able to use aggressive play to extend the lead to nine at 12-3. The Cats allowed the Tigers to edge their way back in, cutting the lead to six on several occasions. The Tigers held Kentucky on game point for four consecutive rallies, before an LSU serving error game the Cats' the game, 30-24.
After falling behind 10-7 to open the second stanza, Kentucky clawed back and exchanged the lead with LSU on nearly every play down the stretch. The Tigers were able to carve a gap in the score at 23-20, and the Wildcats couldn't seem to put the plays together to get them back in the game, falling 30-27. UK hit .267 in the game, but was overpowered by a .304 percentage from LSU.
Following the halftime break, the Tigers came out aggressive, holding Kentucky scoreless through 11 straight rallies. Kentucky was finally able to get on the board with a back-row kill from Popp. Amy Kaplan entered the lineup for the first time since Sept. 13 and the Cats chip away the lead with strong blocking.
UK whittled the deficit to three at 21-18 on a Popp putdown, and again at 24-21 on a block assist by Canfield and Marcum, forcing a Tiger timeout. A Kirby Newhouse ace out of the break took it down to two points, but LSU rallied to take the next two points to stretch the advantage again. Smart play by the Wildcats put them within one at 26-25 and again at 29-28, but a Regan Hood used a cross-court kill to earn LSU the 30-28 win and a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The fourth game saw three early ties before Kentucky put together a small run, including back-to-back aces by Popp, to earn an 8-3 advantage. After an LSU timeout, the Wildcats extended the lead to as many as 12, and maintained a steady distance for most of the game and remained solid despite a late Tiger scare to win the game, 30-23, forcing a deciding fifth game.
The Wildcats let their opponent take a 4-1 lead to start the final game. After LSU took a 6-2 lead, Coach Jona Braden called a timeout to regroup. Despite cutting the lead to three on three different occasions, Kentucky allowed miscues to put them behind 12-6. The Tigers would go on to win the match with a final score of 15-9.
Kentucky falls to 21-16 all-time against the Tigers.
The Wildcats return home on Friday, Oct. 3, to play host to Mississippi State at 7 p.m. The Cats will follow with Ole Miss in Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m.