Volleyball Cats Secure Seventh Seed in Conference Tourney with Thrilling Win
Nov. 9, 2001
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team secured the seventh seed in the 2001 Southeastern Conference Tournament with a thrilling 3-1 win over Georgia on Friday, Nov. 9 in Memorial Coliseum. The Cats rebounded from a controversial 39-37 first-game loss to win the match with 30-21, 30-24 and 34-32 wins.
The Wildcats posted a very balanced offensive attack, with juniors Kristen Batt and Anne Koester leading the way. Batt put down 19 kills and 16 digs in the match for her 10th double-double of the season, while Koester had 17 kills in 34 attempts with only five errors for a match-high .353 hitting percentage.
Also shining in the match was senior April Barnhorst, who posted 10 blocks in the contest, highlighted by five block solos. She needed only one more kill in the match to record her first career triple-double. However, her five block assists moved her within two of tying Tracy Thompson for 10th place on UK's all-time list of block assist leaders. Barnhorst has 245 career BAs and could take over 10th place on Sunday, her final match in Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky worked hard through a tense first game, fighting back from several match points before eventually succumbing to the Bulldogs, 39-37. A question about the score midway through the game delayed play, but the Wildcats fought back to take the game further than any this season.
The Cats entered the second game with a renewed outlook, cruising to the 30-21 win and tying things up before the break. Kentucky wouldn't stop there, as it took the third game 30-24. After jumping out to an early 10-4 lead in the fourth game, Georgia managed to cut UK's lead to one at 19-18. The Cats kept their distance for a while before UGA grabbed its first lead at 32-31. Back-to-back kills by Koester and Batt sealed the game, 34-32, and match for UK.
"Securing the seventh seed in the tournament was very important for us to keep things rolling," Coach Jona Braden said. "We spent this week growing our collective competitive heart, and that shined through tonight.
"We certainly had some individuals that gave incredible performances," Braden continued. "But the overall team effort really showed our incredible maturation this week."
The Cats close out the 2001 home schedule on Sunday, Nov. 11 against No. 7 Florida at 2 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. It marks the final home match for Barnhorst and Whitney Sample, as well as manager Chris Boots. Kentucky will pay tribute to the group in traditional pregame ceremonies.