Volleyball Cats Earn First Conference Win, 3-0, Over Auburn
Sept. 29, 2002
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team defeated the Auburn Tigers, 3-0, on Sunday, Sept. 29 in Lexington, Ky., for its first Southeastern Conference win of the season. With the win, UK moves to 7-6 on the season, 1-2 in SEC play.
Leading the way for the Wildcats was Kristen Batt with 15 kills on .429 hitting. Kentucky hit .345 as a team, for its third highest percentage this season. Auburn's .314 hitting percentage was a season high for the Tigers, who were led by Negin Azarhehi with 10 kills. Also playing well for UK was sophomore Sarah Spinner with 17 kills on .400 hitting.
"I think we did a good job in the first two games of taking care of the ball and we definitely put ourselves in a position win," Coach Jona Braden said. "We faded in game three, though, and we didn't execute. To Auburn's credit, they came out and did the things they needed to and we didn't match that. What I need from this team now is more mental and emotional intensity."
UK opened the match with 4-1 run which included two Sarah Spinner kills. Auburn kept close by, tying things at 14. However, a 16-5 Kentucky run closed out the game for the 30-19 win. Batt recorded 10 kills in the opening game alone, hitting .643 in the first period. Kentucky's .514 team hitting percentage outdid Auburn's .233.
Several Kentucky miscues helped Auburn tie the second game three times early before UK used a 6-1 run to take a 9-4 lead. The Cats were able to stretch their lead to eight at 19-11 before the Tigers began chipping away. AU then closed the lead to three at 22-19, forcing a UK timeout. As the Tigers continued to threaten, Katie Bright helped distance the Cats with two consecutive aces in her first match back from an ankle injury. The Wildcats took the close game, 30-25, on an Auburn net violation.
The two teams battled through 15 ties in the third game before an Amy Kaplan miscue gave Auburn the lead at 20-19 and forced a UK timeout. An Auburn service error and a Kristi Kelley ace gave Kentucky the lead again at 21-20. A Spinner kill gave UK the 23-21 advantage. The close match ended with a Auburn service error to give UK the 30-27 game win and the match victory.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday, Oct. 4, when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., to take on the LSU Tigers. The Wildcats continue the road swing on Sunday, Oct. 6, when they face Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.