Volleyball Cats Hold Off Evansville;
Sample Moves to Fourth on All-Time Assists List
Oct. 8, 2001
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team came back against a non-conference foe for the second time in less than a week as it defeated Evansville, 3-2, in a thriller at Memorial Coliseum on Monday, Oct. 8.
Senior Whitney Sample had 64 assists in the match, pushing her past Ainsley Grimes on UK's all-time assists list and into fourth place. She now has 2,878 career assists and needs 317 to tie Ireyne Smyth (1983-86) for third. The Arlington, Texas, native also had 10 digs in the match to make her fifth double-double of the season. Sophomore Sissy Canfield had a career night for the Wildcats, posting 19 kills and a .607 hitting percentage, both personal bests.
Also having double-double performances in the match were junior Kristen Batt, with 11 kills and a season-high 22 digs, and freshman Sarah Spinner, with 18 kills and 18 digs. It was the sixth of the season for both Batt and Spinner. Rounding out UK's D-D performers was senior April Barnhorst, who had her fifth of the year with a season-high 17 kills and 11 digs. It was the second time in 2001 that UK had four players post double-doubles in a single match. Barnhorst's .417 hitting percentage also was a season best.
Kentucky (8-6, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) took a convincing victory in the first game, 30-19, before Evansville rallied to take the second game by a close 30-28 margin. Evansville (4-14, 1-7 Missouri Valley Conference) stayed on its mark in game three to gain the 2-1 advantage with the 30-24 win.
The Cats would not be intimidated however, as they built a steady game four lead and held off a late Purple Ace charge to earn the 30-27 tying win. Game five followed the flow of the entire match as a tug o' war ensued. The Aces built a 10-7 lead before UK pulled together. Evansville, however, looked poised to upset the Cats, pushing ahead to a 14-11 lead and on serve for the match. A service error kept Kentucky alive, and the Wildcats used the opportunity wisely.
The tension built as the teams fought back and forth before UK took the game, 18-16, and the match. It was the second comeback of its kind in less than a week as the Cats fought past an energetic Morehead State squad in non-conference action on Oct. 2.
"We started out focused and were executing perfectly," Coach Jona Braden said. "We let that get away from us. Evansville wanted a win bad, because they've been having a tough season. We absolutely unraveled. I'm really glad we kept fighting, but this is something we need to take care of now."
Kentucky returns to SEC action on Friday, Oct. 12, when it plays host to Alabama at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. On Sunday, Oct. 14, the Cats will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the program with an alumni reunion. The matinee match with Auburn begins at 2 p.m.
Game One-UK 30, UE 19