Kentucky Volleyball Drops Pivotal SEC Match to Georgia, 3-2
Nov. 15, 2002
ATHENS, Ga. - It was a case of similar story, different ending for the Kentucky and Georgia volleyball teams on Friday, Nov. 15 in Athens, Ga., as the teams fought through a five-game match for the second time this season with the Bulldogs coming away with the 3-2 victory. UK was down 2-0 at the halftime break before taking games three and four to force the tiebreak.
The victory puts Georgia (18-12, 8-7 SEC) in position to take the seventh seed in next week's Southeastern Conference Tournament, while it almost assuredly hands Kentucky (13-14, 6-9 SEC) the eighth seed and a looming match with top-seeded and fourth-ranked Florida on Friday, Nov. 22 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Anne Koester kept the Cats alive down the stretch, recording four kills in the fifth game. She was one of five Wildcats to record double-figure kills with 17. Sissy Canfield led UK with 15 kills on .345 hitting. Aleisha Craven provided solid defensive work for UK with 18 digs. Kristen Batt was UK's only double-double competitor on the evening with 10 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore Julie Davis saw her first action as a Wildcat, entering in game three and giving the Cats solid serving.
Kentucky fell behind 6-2 to start the first game, but was able to tie the game at eight on a Spinner kill. The teams saw three more ties from there before UK was able to build a small lead. The Cats led by as many as four on several occasions, but the Bulldogs cut it to one at 20-19, forcing a UK timeout. After three more ties, the Bulldogs pulled out to a 26-23 lead, causing another Wildcat break. Kentucky couldn't seem to recover as Georgia closed out the game with a 7-0 run out of the timeout, winning 30-23.
The Cats played much better to start the second game, building to a 10-6 advantage and forcing a UGA timeout. The Dawgs rebounded well from the break, working to tie the game at 13. After three more ties, UK was able to keep a small cushion before the Bulldogs tied things at 20 and again at 23, forcing the UK bench to burn a timeout. Georgia returned hotter than before and used a 4-2 run to lead 27-25. After another Wildcat break, two quick points put the Bulldogs on game point. UK would squeak out one more before UGA took the game, 30-26, to lead the match 2-1 at the half.
UK dominated the third game early, building to a 10-5 lead. The Bulldogs returned from a timeout to cut it to 12-9, but UK was able to stretch it out again at 19-12. A service ace by UGA cut UK's lead to three at 21-18. Kentucky worked back to a five-point lead at 26-21, but a 3-0 run put the Bulldogs back in the game. The Dawgs would threaten again at 29-28, but a kill by Batt gave the Cats their first game-win at 30-28.
Kentucky continued to play well to open the fourth game, taking a 7-2 lead before the Bulldogs called a timeout. A 12-3 run just plays later gave UK a 19-8 lead, showing the Cats had shaken their less than stellar play from the first two games. Kentucky closed out the win on a Koester kill, 30-18, to force a tiebreak game.
The Wildcats won the coin toss and elected to serve to start the fifth game with Amy Kaplan sending over an ace for the 1-0 lead. With UK leading 2-1, UGA ripped off four straight points to take the 5-2 edge and force a Cat timeout. Three plays later the Cats would tie things at five with a Spinner kill. The Cats were able to take the lead at 7-5 and 8-7 before UGA tied the game at eight and take four straight from there to leade 12-8. Kentucky would get back in the game with two kills in a row by Koester to cut the lead to 13-11. A block and a kill to follow by UK would tie the game at 13. The Cats would tie it again at 14 before an error and a UGA kill gave the Dawgs the 16-14 win.
Georgia now leads the close series, 21-20, taking its first win since the 2000 season. The Bulldogs were led by Julia Petruschke, the SEC's kill leader, with 24 kills, including four key put-downs in the final game.
UK returns to action on Sunday, Nov. 15 when the Wildcats travel to Gainesville, Fla., to face the Gators at 1:30 p.m. The match is the final contest of the SEC regular season