Defense Propels No. 24 Kentucky Past Georgia
Oct. 21, 2011
ATHENS Ga. - Behind one of its strongest defensive efforts of the season the No. 24 Kentucky volleyball team turned in a 3-1 (25-27, 25-13, 25-16, 25-16) victory at Georgia Friday night. The Wildcats totaled a season-best 20 blocks and five different players registered 10 or more digs in the match.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 18-4 overall on the year and 9-2 in conference play. Georgia drops to 9-12 overall and 5-6 in league action.
"Every win you can get on the road is big," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "That may have been one of the best blocking performances I've ever seen out of any Kentucky team since I've been here. It was a really good defensive performance and we had some people step up like (Christine) Hartmann's serving and (Ashley) Frazier's attacking. It was a great team effort overall."
UK capped all three of its set victories behind big runs. In the second set the Wildcats utilized a 13-2 run to finish the frame. In the fourth set it was a 12-4 final push and a 15-7 stretch captured the match for the visitors.
UK's back-line defensive effort was equally impressive with five different players recording 10 or more scoops. Junior Stephanie Klefot led the way with 17 to move into sole possession of third place all-time on the UK career digs list passing former great Katie Eiserman.
Sophomore Jessi Greenberg matched a career-high with 12 digs and freshman Jackie Napper added 12 of her own. Sophomore Whitney Billings added 10 and junior Christine Hartmann totaled her third double-double of the season with 10 scoops and 39 assists.
Junior Ashley Frazier led the offensive out-put by matching a career-best with 18 hammers. Pavan was the second player to reach double-figures with 10. Armes tossed down nine on a match-high .412 hitting percentage.
Kentucky rolled to a 25-13 second set to even the match at one set apiece going into the locker room. Kentucky closed out the frame on a 13-2 run to retake the momentum from the home team. The difference was the stellar defensive effort for the Blue and White with six blocks in the stanza. Georgia managed seven kills on a -.067 hitting clip. Kentucky also tossed down 11 kills on a blazing .474 hitting percentage.
The stanza opened with consecutive rejections from the Wildcats. Frazier teamed up with Pavan and then Hartmann stood tall for a solo put-back. Georgia pulled back to within two at 13-11, but the Wildcats would close out the set on an incredible 13-2 run. Kentucky posted six kills, two blocks and an ace in the run. Frazier led the offense with four kills in the set, while Armes added three to aid the visitor's cause.
The Wildcats went ahead 2-1 with a 25-16 third set victory out of the locker room. Kentucky's balance was on display in the third stanza as the offense and defense both shined for the Blue and White. UK posted 15 kills on .382 hitting while the defense limited Georgia to 11 kills on .139 hitting. Kentucky posted four more blocks in the set to set a new standard for blocks in a match in just the third frame.
Georgia opened the scoring and grabbed an early 2-0 advantage, but the Wildcats roared back with a kill from Hartmann and a Frazier-Armes block. UK earned its first advantage at 7-6 thanks to a kill from an efficient Armes. Georgia kept it close and was within one at 13-12, but the Wildcats recaptured control and capped the stanza on a 12-4 run.
Kentucky secured a 3-1 victory following a 25-16 final set victory. The Wildcats posted five blocks and limited Georgia to just a .056 hitting clip and nine kills in the final set. Kentucky's offense struck for 12 kills and added three aces to cap off the victory.
A kill from Frazier and a solo block from Pavan started the scoring in the fourth frame. Georgia responded with a run of its own to earn a 9-6 lead in the early going. Kentucky recaptured the lead at 10-9 following a kill from freshman Lauren O'Conner. From there the Blue and White capped the set with a 15-7 run.
Georgia opened the match outlasting UK in the first frame by a 27-25 score. Kentucky was down 24-21 and saved three set points to force the stanza into extra points, but the home team staved off the late rally. Kentucky tossed down 15 kills on a .106 attacking clip, however committed 10 hitting errors to enable the home squad to earn the opening set.
The Wildcats will conclude action on the road with a 2:30 p.m. ET match at Auburn on Sunday. Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 9-10. UK is one of four sites selected for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, from the Lexington Region.
Opening night matches are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. ET. Saturday's finals is set for a 4:30 p.m. ET first serve.
Tickets are now on sale through the UK Ticket Office. All-Session Tickets are reserved for all ages at $14. General Admission tickets for adults are priced at $12 and students or seniors' general admission is slated for $8.
Single session tickets are priced at $8 for reserved for all ages. General admission for adults is priced at $7, with students and seniors priced at $5. Youth single session tickets are $4.
For tickets or more information feel free to call, 1-800-928-CATS.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team and all of Kentucky's 22 teams.