Kentucky Volleyball Earns First Conference Win, 3-1, Over Mississippi State
Oct. 3, 2003
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team captured its first Southeastern Conference victory of the season with a 3-1 win over Mississippi State at Memorial Coliseum on Friday, Oct. 3. The win snaps a four-match losing streak for UK and moves the Wildcats to 9-6 on the season, 1-2 in league play.
Freshman Melissa Popp led the Wildcats for the evening with a career best 21 kills and her second-consecutive double-double with 11 digs. Popp also recorded a collegiate-best hitting percentage of .4-5 in the win. Fellow newcomer Jenni Casper also set a personal best with 24 digs in the match to lead all players. Junior Sissy Canfield was stellar as well, putting down 15 kills on .520 hitting. Senior Julie Davis was another Cat with an outstanding night, earning seven blocks, also a career high.
Kentucky would prove victorious in game one with a score of 30-19. Sissy Canfield opened up game with the first kill, which was followed by three consecutive scores by Liz McCaslin and Sarah Spinner. The Wildcats would then go up 6-0 early in the stanza. MSU, however, began to chip away at the six-point advantage with the help of ball errors by Kentucky to put the score at 8-4. For the first game, the Wildcats would hit .282 versus Mississippi State's -.028. Spinner led Kentucky with five kills.
In the second game, the Wildcats' defensive play would allow them to pull away victorious, 30-26. UK broke away at 6-6 with three back-to-back plays to put them ahead. Ball errors would plague Mississippi State in the beginning of game two putting the Wildcats ahead 12-8. An ace by Davis would allow Kentucky to hold on to its lead. At 19-12, a Leigh Marcum dump would finish off the Cats' great team play. Multiple service errors late by MSU would give UK the win 30-26. Popp would contribute four kills and two digs to help capture the win.
UK would fall to Mississippi State in game three by two, 30-28. MSU had two consecutive kills to break one of many ties and put the Bulldogs ahead by two at 19-17. Melissa Popp had two back-to-back kills to put Kentucky back in the game, however. With a kill by Canfield, the Cats inched closer at 22-21. The game lead went back and fourth until the Bulldogs' defensive play proved the victor, giving them the win. Despite the loss, Kentucky's hitting average for game three was .300.
Kentucky won game four and took the match win with a score of 30-26. The fourth stanza provided great game action. The bout went back and fourth until back-to-back plays by Canfield would put Kentucky up 11-9. Errors, though, would keep UK from breaking away. An ace by Popp and kill by McCaslin would give the Cats their largest lead of the game with a score of 23-18. McCaslin nailed a block to bring the score to 28-26.
The Wildcats will return to action against Ole Miss on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.