Cats Upset South Carolina In SEC Tourney
Nov. 19, 1999
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In opening round action of the Southeastern Conference Volleyball Tournament, the Kentucky Wildcats did not look like a No. 6 seed who qualified for the tournament on the last day of the season, as the Cats took care of the third-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks in straight sets, 3-0.
The Cats were powered by their outside hitters as Stephenie Taylor and Kristen Batt scored 11 and 10 kills, respectively. UK's attack efficiency was deadly in the match as the Cats made only 15 hitting errors. Taylor led the way with a .714 percentage.
After winning the final three games to take last Sunday's match against USC, UK (15-13) played three fundamentally sound games on Friday to push its win streak over Carolina to six games and win the season-series, 2-1.
"USC played with some real courage," UK Coach Jona Braden said. "Our team is extremely focused and intent on doing the job at hand. We are not worrying about who we are going to play, we're just going out and playing our game."
The Cats established themselves early in the match as they jumped out to an 8-1 lead in game one. Carolina fought hard to stay in the game, but UK's potent attack was too much for the Gamecocks to handle and the Cats won the game 15-6. Kentucky hit .412 in the game.
Game two was a much more tightly contested game as, despite a 5-1 UK lead, Carolina got within 11-8 before the Cats went on a 4-0 run to take the game and a 2-0 lead in the match. Batt was the story in game two as the freshman recorded five kills and seven digs in the game.
Carolina continued to fight hard into the third game and, after trailing 7-4, gained a 14-13 lead late in the match. But with the game on the line, Batt took her game up a level again and put down three kills to help the Cats grab the 16-14 game three win and advance to the second round of the SEC Tournament for the third straight year.
"This was really a team effort for us," Braden said. "We knew we needed to execute to get a win today. Our outside hitters (Taylor and Batt) and our middle blockers (Megan Weiskircher and Jaclyn Homan), in particularly, had great matches and kept Carolina running all match."
Bothered by the absence of top attackers Crystal Moore and Milica Perovic to injury, USC (14-12) was out of sync offensively all match as shown by the team's 28 hitting errors and 10 reception errors. The Cats out-hit Carolina for the match, .269 to .203, making UK 12-1 when the team posts a higher hitting percentage than its opponent.
The Cats will next match-up with No. 2 seed and 23rd-ranked Arkansas Lady Razorbacks at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The Lady 'Backs won their opening round match against Alabama, 3-1, on Friday afternoon
Hit % #6 Kentucky 15 15 16 .269 #3 South Carolina 6 8 14 .203