Nzenwa Paces #23 Kentucky Past Arkansas
Oct. 17, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
Senior Queen Nzenwa's hot hand guided the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats to a 3-0 sweep of visiting Arkansas, Friday night in front of over 900 fans in Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky claimed set victories by the scores of 25-18, 25-18, 25-17 to seal their fourth straight 17-win season under Head Coach Craig Skinner.
Kentucky (17-3, 8-1) was led by a career day from the senior from Baltimore, Md. Nzenwa laid down a match-high13 kills on a magnificent career-best .867 hitting percentage. She also led another solid defensive effort by the Wildcats with a team-high five blocks for a total of 15.5 points on the night. For her career, Nzenwa has now led Kentucky in kills 20 times and in blocks 65 times.
"I felt like Queen really opened things up for us offensively," said Skinner. "She had a great night hitting the ball, and it's always nice to see her hitting for such a high percentage."
The Wildcats have now won 14 of their last 15 matches, with 10 of those victories--including tonight, going for sweeps. UK is also 35-6 playing in front of their home crowd in the last three years. Kentucky's defense once again proved to be the difference maker in the match, as the Blue and White accounted for nine blocks on the night. Nzenwa (5), freshman Becky Pavan (4) and junior Sarah Rumely (4) led the way. UK's defense also scooped up 46 digs on the night, led by junior BriAnne Sauer's team-high 16. Six Wildcats registered three or more digs in the match.
"It was another solid defensive effort tonight," Skinner said. "Our blocking really controlled the match and allowed us to come away with another win."
Offensively, sophomore Sarah Mendoza tallied nine kills with Pavan registering eight. Sophomore Blaire Hiler chipped in with seven, and sophomore Lauren Rapp added five as the team struck a .292 hitting percentage for the night. Rumely jump-started the offense with 34 assists and four kills of her own.
In set one, Kentucky fell behind early as the Razorbacks jumped out to a quick 7-3 advantage. A kill by Pavan ignited an 18-7 run by the home team capped off by a hammer from Hiler. UK never looked back as the set ended fittingly on an Nzenwa kill with the score 25-18.
Arkansas once again claimed an early lead in the second frame, but it did not last for long. Kentucky grabbed the lead at 5-4 off an attacking error by the Razorbacks and stayed in control the entire way for the second set victory. Nzenwa accounted for six kills in the stanza and the team rejected four Arkansas attempts. UK also used an impressive .341 attacking percentage to claim the set with the same score, 25-18.
Out of the break, Kentucky didn't let down as they once again controlled play to take the third and deciding set with a 25-17 victory. Rapp began the scoring with a kill, and Mendoza finished off the match with a kill. UK used a match-high .438 hitting percentage and Nzenwa added five more kills to pace the attack. Mendoza chipped in with four kills, while Rapp and Hiler each had three in the set.
Kentucky next hosts Ole Miss on Sunday in Memorial Coliseum. The match will begin at 1:30 p.m. EST, and it will be "Dig for the Cure" day with the Wildcats.
In an effort to raise awareness and money for the world's most common cause of cancer death in women, the Kentucky volleyball team will take part in the "Dig for the Cure" campaign Sunday.
When: Sunday, October 19 - 1:30 pm
The "Dig for the Cure" campaign was originally started in 2003 by Charlotte head coach Lisa Marston, whose mother was a breast cancer survivor, and has spread to volleyball programs across the country in recent years. Last year, the campaign raised over $72,000 nationally.
Parking is available in the E lots on each side of Memorial Coliseum. The ticket entrance is located on Lexington Avenue side of Memorial.
Complete coverage of this weekend's matches, including live stats and free video streaming can be found at UKathletics.com.