Tide Rolls on Halloween as Volleyball Cats Fall, 3-1
Oct. 31, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Kentucky dropped a Halloween night battle with Alabama, 3-1, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday evening. After falling behind 2-0, Kentucky rallied to take the third game, but came up short in the fourth stanza. With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 12-11 overall, 4-7 in Southeastern Conference play.
Kentucky had a dismal hitting performance with no players recording double-figure kills. Melissa Popp and Liz McCaslin each recorded eight kills in the match, while Amy Kaplan put-down six balls and recorded five blocks. Sarah Spinner led the defensive effort with 18 digs on the night.
Alabama (12-11, 6-5 SEC) was led by junior Erin Heffner with 28 kills on .388 hitting and 14 digs.
Kentucky fell behind 5-0 early in the first game, forcing Coach Jona Braden to call a timeout. The Cats continued to struggle, letting 'Bama build to a 13-4 advantage. The Tide continued to roll, taking the first game 30-14. The Wildcats hit -.057 in the game to UA's .343, while the Tide out-blocked UK 4-1.
Play was more evenly match in the second game as the two squads fought through 13 ties before the Tide used a 4-0 run to take the late 28-24 lead. A service error by Alabama kept UK in the game at 28-25, but the Crimson Tide pressed on for the win, 30-25. Spinner had four kills on .444 hitting in the game, though UK could only manage a .037 hitting percentage as a team.
After the halftime break, the Wildcats came out revived, taking an early 10-6 lead and forcing the Alabama timeout. The Tide fought back, however, cutting the lead to one at 15-14. Kentucky went on to take the next three points in a row to stretch out to an 18-15 lead.
The Crimson Tide again tied the game at 20, but UK was able to use another 4-0 run for the 24-20 lead. Alabama kept charging though and after the Tide cut the lead to one again at 24-23, Kentucky used a timeout to regroup. An Erin Price service ace gave Alabama a 25-24 lead, but Kentucky then evened the score again. After UA regained the lead at 26-25, a service error tied the game again. A Popp kill gave the serve back to UK leading 27-26. The Cats took advantage of Tide hitting errors to win the game, 30-26.
Close play again dominated the start of the fourth game. With the game tied at 11, Alabama took two in a row to lead 13-11 before a kill by Kaplan and a ball-handling error by UA tied the game again at 13. After two more ties Alabama took a two-point lead on UK errors. The Cats cut it to one at 16-17, but two in a row by the Tide would force a UK timeout.
Trailing 19-16, Kentucky used a 5-2 run to tie the game again at 21. After exchanging the lead one more time, Alabama took two-in-a-row to lead 24-22, forcing another Kentucky break. The Cats came within two points twice more in the match before Alabama took the final match-deciding game, 30-25.
Kentucky returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 2 at Auburn. The match gets underway at 2 p.m. CT.