Rapp Paces UK to Sixth Win in the SEC
Oct. 5, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sophomore Lauren Rapp's stellar individual performance propelled Kentucky (15-2, 6-0) to a 3-0, victory over a pesky Auburn squad Sunday at Memorial Coliseum. UK claimed their 12th straight victory by the scores of 26-24, 25-18, 28-26.
Rapp accounted for 15 total points behind a team-high 11 kills and a team-best six blocks to guide Kentucky to their sixth win in conference play. Freshman Becky Pavan was another major factor in UK's victory accounting for eight kills and six more blocks. Senior Queen Nzenwa chipped in with eight kills and four blocks. Junior Sarah Rumely dished out 32 assists, while four players tallied four or more digs in the defensive effort.
"We have a very talented group," UK head coach Craig Skinner said. "We've put ourselves in a position where every team is going to come out ready to compete against us."
Auburn, winless in league play, came ready to fight toe-to-toe with the streaking Wildcats. In perhaps one of the Tigers' best matches of the season, they held UK to an uncharacteristic .203 hitting percentage. Senior Jessica Glover led the Tigers with 11 kills on the night to keep the visitors close the entire way. In all there were 29 ties, and nine lead changes in the match.
In the third set, it was junior Brooke Bartek who provided a spark off of the bench. Bartek tallied all four of her kills in the third set including the match-clinching hammer. With Kentucky trailing by two, 17-15, Bartek entered the match and immediately slammed home a kill to ignite the UK squad. UK pulled the score to 20-20 behind a Rapp kill, but did not take its first lead of the late-part of the third set until 24-23. Auburn saved match point to force the match a little longer. With the score knotted at 25 a piece, Bartek came through with the clinching kill.
"Brooke (Bartek) is a confident and smart player," Skinner said. "She has been practicing very well the last couple of practices and the fans got to see her perform today."
Opening the match, Kentucky took an early 3-0 lead behind a kill from sophomore Sarah Mendoza. UK controlled the early going, until Auburn tied it up at 10 a piece. UK would take a four-point edge at 18-14 off a Rapp kill. Auburn turned around and went on a run of its own tying the score again at 18 all. The two teams traded points back and forth until UK claimed a 25-24 edge behind a kill from Pavan. An Auburn attacking error gave Kentucky the first set with a 26-24 score.
Pavan and Rapp each tallied three kills in the second set to pace the offense. Kentucky hit a match-high .216 while holding Auburn to just .100 hitting. Kentucky also notched four blocks in the frame, to aide the cause. Auburn jumped out to the early edge with a 3-1 lead. Kentucky would rally and take the lead at 8-7 off an attacking error by the Tigers. Kentucky stretched its lead to 17-11 on a kill from Rumely and would never look back. Armes ended the set with a powerful kill giving UK a 25-18 victory.
With four block assists in today's match, Nzenwa moves into sixth place all-time in the SEC with 498 career block assists. Rumely earned a serving ace to take sole possession of eighth place all-time at Kentucky in the career record book.
UK is back on the road next weekend with two big matches. Kentucky first travels to take on #10 Florida Friday night, and then play South Carolina on Sunday. The Florida match is set for a 7 p.m. start, while South Carolina and Kentucky will start at 1:30 p.m.
Complete coverage of the UK volleyball team can be found at UKathletics.com.