No. 16 Kentucky Begins Weekend With Sweep of LSU
Nov. 18, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind a tremendous offensive performance from junior Ashley Frazier and a strong blocking presence from senior Ann Armesthe 16th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team earned a 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-21) sweep of visiting LSU on Friday night in Memorial Coliseum in front of 1,378 fans.
With the victory, Kentucky improves to 25-4 overall on the season and a 16-2 mark in conference action. LSU drops to 18-10 overall and 11-7 against Southeastern Conference opponents. UK will return to action with a 1:30 p.m. ET matchup against Arkansas on Sunday. Prior to the match, UK will honor Armes, Gretchen Giesler and Becky Pavanin a traditional Senior Day ceremony. The trio ranks as the all-time winningest class in a four-year span in school history with a .770 career-winning clip.
"We were ready today," UK coach Craig Skinnersaid. "We had a really good week of practice leading up to the game tonight, and I was really happy with our performance. The first two sets, we were really smart attacking."
In the opening two frames the Blue and White notched 25 kills and committed a mere two errors as a unit for a near .400 hitting percentage. UK finished the match with 37 kills and a .276 clip led by 10 kills and a .500 percentage from Frazier.
Armes paved the way defensively with a match-high five block assists in leading the conference's top blocking unit which totaled eight for the match.
Sophomore Whitney Billings narrowly missed on her third consecutive double-double effort with nine kills and nine digs as well as a pair of aces. Freshman Lauren O'Conner added six kills and Pavan registered five to aid the Wildcat cause. Junior setter Christine Hartmannpassed out 29 assists and added a trio of kills to the offensive effort.
Junior libero Stephanie Klefot kept her streak alive with 10 or more digs in every SEC match with 11 scoops in the victory. Freshman Jackie Napper added 11 digs and has now reached double-figures in the digs column in both victories over the Tigers this season. Sophomore Jessi Greenbergcontributed eight digs in the quality defensive effort by the Blue and White.
Kentucky jumped out to an early advantage behind an opening 25-15 set victory. UK charted 13 kills on a sizzling .429 hitting percentage with Billings connecting on five kills for an unbelievable .714 clip.
Billings began the scoring rally with a kill followed by the match's first serving ace. Pavan then added a kill for the early 3-0 lead that LSU would never threaten. Kentucky maintained a steady advantage throughout much of the frame, but the Tigers would pull back to within two at 16-14.
With the Tigers attempting to make the most out of its run, UK responded convincingly with a 9-1 span to end the set. Billings and Frazier both posted a pair of kills, while Frazier teamed up with Armes for the match's first block to highlight the stretch. The stanza ended in the same fashion it began with a Billings' kill.
The second set saw four ties and a lead exchange before the Wildcats earned a 2-0 advantage into the locker room with a 25-19 second set victory. UK notched 12 kills on a .333 hitting clip and limited LSU to a mere .067 attacking percentage behind a trio of rejections.
LSU opened the scoring, but a solo put-back by Billings quickly tied the score at one. Kentucky secured a lead with back-to-back kills from Pavan and Armes to grab a 6-4 advantage it would never relinquish. Kentucky's defense forced the Tigers into its 12th miscue of the stanza for the set's winning point.
UK once again jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage to open the third frame behind a pair of kills from Pavan and Hartmann. Kentucky earned a six-point edge at 10-4 after forcing the third LSU misfire of the early going. The Tigers would come back to tie the score at 12, but once again the Wildcats would respond. Following a timeout, Pavan slammed down a kill and Billings earned another timely service ace to give UK a 15-12 lead.
LSU would not go away, however, and clawed back to tie things at 15. Frazier answered with a kill and then Armes and Hartmann teamed up for the second block of the stanza. Armes and Frazier then combined for a block and Armes followed with a kill to stretch the lead to four at 20-16 in favor of the home team. LSU would pull back to within two at 23-21, but Kentucky scored the final two points to claim the match. O'Conner and Giesler teamed up for the set's fourth rejection and Frazier closed out her impressive offensive performance with her 10th kill of the night for the clinching point.
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 9-10. UK is one of four sites selected for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, from the Lexington Region. Opening night matches are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. ET. Saturday's final is set for a 4:30 p.m. ET first serve.
Tickets are now on sale through the UK Ticket Office. All-Session Tickets are reserved for all ages at $14. General Admission tickets for adults are priced at $12 and students or seniors' general admission is slated for $8.
Single session tickets are priced at $8 for reserved for all ages. General admission for adults is priced at $7, with students and seniors priced at $5. Youth single session tickets are $4.
For tickets or more information feel free to call, 1-800-928-CATS.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team and all of Kentucky's 22 teams.