#21 Volleyball Claws to Win Over LSU
Oct. 31, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
The 21st-ranked Kentucky volleyball team used a gritty defensive performance from junior BriAnne Sauer and a balanced attack from its outside hitters to claw their way to a four-set, 3-1, victory over LSU Friday night at Memorial Coliseum. The Blue and White earned set victories of 25-21, 20-25, 25-19 and 25-21 to earn their 12th victory in conference play this season.
This is the first time Kentucky has swept the season series with the Tigers since 1998. UK (21-3, 12-1) has now won 18 of their last 19 matches.
The Wildcats got 21 digs from their libero Sauer as she guided the defensive effort which forced LSU into a .197 hitting percentage for the match. The Tigers made 21 attacking errors and UK scooped up 59 digs on the night while registering six blocks.
“BriAnne’s (Sauer) ball control and defense really allowed us to score points in transition,” said Head Coach Craig Skinner.
UK had three players register double-figure kill efforts—all coming from the outside hitter position. Sophomore Sarah Mendoza led the way with 16 kills while chipping in with 12 digs for her seventh double-double effort of the year. Sophomores Lauren Rapp and Blaire Hiler both had 11 kills to help pace the attack. Junior Sarah Rumely directed the offense to the tune of 44 assists while adding 10 digs of her own for the second double-double of the night for the home squad. Mendoza was tops in the points category with 20.5 points scored on the night.
“LSU is a difficult team to beat because of their exceptional passing and serving,” said Skinner. “I thought we broke down a little in the second set, but then we really competed well and played Kentucky volleyball to wrap it up in the last two sets.”
With both teams winning a set in the early going, Kentucky broke loose in the third set to take control of the match.
The Blue and White took an early 10-6 lead after getting a huge kill from Rapp. The Wildcats would go on to push the lead to 19-11 after a timely kill from Rumely. LSU made a slight run to try and catch Kentucky, but UK’s offensive fire power was too much closing out the set. Rapp finished the set with a pair of kills to give UK a 25-19 set victory and the 2-1 set advantage.
The Wildcats used a blistering .424 hitting percentage and 16 kills in the third frame. Mendoza and Hiler both finished with five kills in the stanza, with Rapp adding four.
“All three of our outside hitters made plays and they were the difference in the match,” said Skinner. “Hiler, Mendoza and Rapp scored the points for us and were a force offensively.”
Kentucky once again jumped out with a quick start in the deciding fourth set. The Wildcats took an early 5-1 advantage after a Mendoza service ace. LSU made things interesting with a run of their own bringing the score as close as 12-11. Kentucky responded with kills from senior Queen Nzenwa, and Rapp. Rumely and freshman Becky Pavan came up with a Big Blue block and then Rumely chipped in with an ace to give UK a 20-16 edge. The Blue and White earned match point on an attack error from the Tigers. However, LSU would save three match points before Mendoza powered a kill into the middle of the court to give the home squad a 25-21 set and match victory.
The Wildcats return to the court on Sunday for a match with Georgia. First serve is slated for 1:30 p.m.
Sunday’s match against Georgia is Kids’ Day:
Live results and free video streaming of the match with Georgia can be found at UKathletics.com. Following the completion of the match, visit UK’s official homepage for a complete recap of the match.