Illinois State Blows by UK Volleyball, 3-0
Wildcats fall to first 1-4 start since 1996.
Columbus, OH (Sept. 9, 2000) -- In the opening round of the Buckeye Invitational on September 9, the University of Kentucky volleyball team suffered its second consecutive sweep as the Wildcats fell victim to the lethal right arm of Illinois State middle blocker Kendra Haselhorst and her match-high 26 kills. The Wildcats posted a season-high hitting percentage of .206 in the match, but that figure paled in comparison to the .389 clip delivered by the Redbirds.
"We made some progress in some areas where we needed to improve, such as the outside hitting," coach Jona Braden said. "We focused on that and it showed in that other areas of our game were lacking. Our middles started out slow and our blocking was ineffective to No. 5 (Haselhorst) all night."
The match took place at St. John's Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University. With its first 1-4 start since 1996, Kentucky will now play the loser of the match between Toledo and host Ohio State on Sunday, Sept. 10, in a consolation match at noon.
Saturday's game one was a hotly contested battle in which the teams fought through several stalemates before Illinois State capitalized on a string of Wildcat errors to gain a 15-12 victory. The Redbirds jumped out to a 4-2 lead, but the defense of both teams soon took over as 14 of the next 15 serves went down as sideouts. ISU built its lead to 6-2 before the Cats reeled off nine of the next 11 points, tying the match at 9-9. Despite UK's best defensive efforts, their offense was stalled by six late hitting errors that spelled a quick end to the opening game. Haselhorst's 10 kills led ISU while Kristen Batt paced the Cats with five.
Both team's found their offensive stride in game two, but ISU's outstanding .403 hitting percentage and swarming defense provided them with another 15-12 win. UK hit .310 for the game, but failed to stop Haselhorst who added 11 kills. Batt added nine kills in the game while Megan Weiskircher continued her inspired play by contributing six kills. The difference in the game was the ability of ISU to seemingly chase down a bulk of the Wildcats' attacks, recording 23 digs in the game en route to a 41-36 advantage in digs for the match. The Cats fell to 0-5 in game two on the season.
With ISU busting out to leads of 4-0 and 7-2 to start game three, a comeback seemed unlikely for UK. Backed by Weiskircher, who recorded 11 kills, the Cats did make a run though and narrowed the margin to 7-5. But with the Redbirds playing mistake free volleyball, the UK rally was short lived as ISU hit at a .684 clip in the game and finished off the game and the match with an 8-0 run.
In addition to Haselhorst's 26-kill performance with a .500 hitting percentage, Jackie Utz and Megan O'Connell each hit .409 with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. With 10 digs, Utz recorded a double-double while setter Becky Weber dished out 54 assists.
Batt led the Wildcats with 16 kills and 18 digs while setter Whitney Sample delivered 40 assists, her second-highest total this season.
"We did some good things in the match, but we didn't finish things like we
needed to. We have to find a balance between all aspects of our game if we
are going to start being successful."