Volleyball Cats Grab First SEC Road Win Over Georgia
Sept. 30, 2001
ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team recorded its first Southeastern Conference road win on Sunday, Sept. 30, with a 3-1 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. The win, UK's sixth of the season, ties the total number of wins in a difficult 2000 season and marks the Cats first victory over Georgia since 1996.
Freshman Sarah Spinner tallied 22 kills in the game to set a new career high. Her .356 hitting percentage was a career best as well. Junior Kristen Batt posted her fourth double-double of the season with 16 kills and 14 digs. Senior Whitney Sample's 60 assists helped lead the UK passing game. The Cats hit .263 percent on the game to UGA's .203.
The Wildcats (6-5, 2-2 SEC) looked strong in game one, breaking through four early ties to take a 10-6 lead and force a UGA timeout. UK used excellent passing and strong defensive skills to extend its lead to seven before Georgia chipped the lead away to four, forcing the Cats to burn a timeout.
The Bulldogs (6-5, 0-3 SEC) were able to pull within three down the stretch, but Kentucky was able to seal the game, 30-25, on a Sissy Canfield side from the right side. Senior April Barnhorst scored seven digs and added three kills in the first games to lead the Kentucky attack.
Game two remained close after the Bulldogs overcame a 4-1 UK lead early. UGA build a four-point lead at 12-8, forcing a Kentucky timeout. Georgia used a 6-2 run to extend its lead to eight. The Cats couldn't find the answers it needed down the stretch as the Bulldogs evened the match at two games with the 30-21 win.
The Wildcats rebounded well in game three, grabbing a small early lead and forcing a Georgia break with UK leading 11-7. Kentucky extended its lead to six before the Bulldogs mounted a comeback and tied the game at 16, sending UK to the bench to regroup.
Three huge kills by freshman Sarah Spinner helped the Cats rebuild their lead at 24-19. After a UGA break, the Cats continued their tear, grabbing the victory, 30-22. Spinner posted seven kills in the match in only 11 attempts for a .545 hitting percentage.
Game four stayed close early with six ties and four lead changes before a UGA timeout with Kentucky leading 15-13. The Cats kept a consistent two-point lead for a stretch before the Bulldogs tied the score at 20, forcing the Cats to talk it over. A Sissy Canfield kill out of the timeout put UK back on top, and there would be no looking back. Canfield sailed a kill off the shoulder of a left-side Georgia defender to give the Cats the win.
"We believe that the serve-receive and passing games have to be a strength," Coach Jona Braden said. "We know that comes from not only the technical side, but the mental side as well. We were on top of that today, which helped lead us to the win.
"Sarah has been a big boost for us," Braden continued. "She's had to step into a difficult situation with Liz (McCaslin) injured right now. It would be information overload for anyone, especially a freshman, but she's done terrific.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 1, when the Cats return to the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum to play host to intrastate rival Morehead State at 7 p.m. Admission is free to all home UK matches.
Game One - UK 30, UGA 25
Game Two - UGA 30, UK 21
Game Three - UK 30, UGA 23
Game Four - UK 30, UGA 27