No. 11 Kentucky Cruises to Sweep of Mississippi St.
Nov. 8, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats rolled to a 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-19) sweep of Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon in front of 1,524 fans at Memorial Coliseum. UK posted 52 kills on a .364 attacking percentage in overwhelming Mississippi State for the second sweep of the Bulldogs this season.
Kentucky (24-2, 14-1) earned its 13th sweep of the season behind a potent offensive attack that was clicking on all cylinders. Five Kentucky players registered eight or more kills on the afternoon led by juniors Lauren Rapp and Sarah Mendoza's match-high 13 hammers. Classmate Blaire Hiler tossed down nine kills while sophomores Gretchen Giesler and Becky Pavan chipped in with eight a piece.
Senior setter Sarah Rumely dished out 42 assists and led the team with three blocks on the afternoon. Kentucky notched seven service aces for the second consecutive match as Rumely and freshman Stephanie Klefot each charted two aces. Giesler, Rapp and senior BriAnne Sauer added the other three.
Sauer was once again terrific in her back-line defense as she scooped up a match-high 23 digs. It is the second straight match Sauer has eclipsed the 20-dig plateau. Mendoza chipped in with 10 digs to go along with her 13 kills for her second consecutive double-double effort. Klefot tallied six digs and junior Laura Stokowski added three.
"I was really excited about Becky (Pavan), Blaire (Hiler) and (Lauren) Rapp who all had great offensive numbers today," Kentucky coach Craig Skinner said. "That's really important because you want to be clicking on all cylinders towards the end of the year."
UK captured a 2-0 lead right out of the gate in the opening set and would never look back. Klefot began the match with a service ace and Rapp followed with a kill to set an early trend for the Blue and White. The set was highlighted by an early 5-0 run that allowed UK to take an 8-2 advantage, and the frame would end with a 5-0 run to give UK the 25-11 opening set victory.
Kentucky struck for 14 kills in the stanza on a .375 hitting percentage. Mendoza posted four kills, while five UK players had two or more kills. The set was also a stellar defensive performance as the Big Blue Wall rejected five Mississippi State attempts while totaling 19 digs in the set.
Despite a back-and-forth battle in the early portion of the second set, UK's offense was never more dominant than in the second frame when it registered 20 kills in a 25-point set. Even more impressive was UK's attacking clip which was .412 as UK totaled just six errors on 34 attempts.
Mendoza had a match-high eight kills in the set with a .500 attack percentage. Rapp posted four kills using a .571 clip. Pavan had three kills on .500 hitting to aid the Wildcat cause.
With the score knotted at 15 apiece, UK broke free with a 4-0 run that featured a kill from Pavan and a tag-team effort by Pavan and Rumely for a stuff of a Bulldog attack. The Wildcats concluded the set with three straight kills to take a 2-0 set advantage into the locker room.
Mississippi State once again hung with the Blue and White to open the third frame as UK was never able to gain a strong lead until a 17-15 score after a crafty kill from Rumely. Rapp and Giesler ended the set with back-to-back kill efforts to give UK the clinching 25-19 set victory.
Kentucky struck for 18 kills in the set with a .317 hitting percentage. Rapp and Hiler were phenomenal as they combined for 11 kills in the stanza. Sauer posted a match-high 12 scoops in the final frame and Rumley dished out 16 assists.
UK will hit the road for its final two-match road swing of the regular season. The Blue and White first travel to Georgia on Friday, Nov. 13 for a 7 p.m. ET match. UK will then take on Auburn on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2:30 p.m.
For the most up-to-date news, highlights and features about the Kentucky volleyball team please visit UKathletics.com.