Wildcats Fall to 0-2 in KCC Tourney
Individuals establish career highs, but victory escapes UK
The University of Kentucky Volleyball team racked up on individual career highs, but failed to gain its first victory in the Kentucky Conference Challenge Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, losing to Austin Peay, 3-2. UK (2-6) stretched APSU to a fifth game, but came up short against the Lady Govs. Austin Peay (5-5) evened its record at 1-1 in the tournament while the Cats fell to 0-2.
Despite the loss, four Cats established career-highs in the five game match. Middle blocker Megan Weiskircher established her career-high leading the team with 21 kills. Defensive specialist Stacey Wallace notched 17 digs, tying her career-high set last season. The biggest surprise for the Cats was the play of freshmen Candace Cogan and Kristi Kelley. Cogan, a defensive specialist, recorded 17 digs, surpassing her previous career-high of 12. Kelley entered the match in game two and more than doubled her career-high in assists with 41.
Austin Peay (5-5) took a closely contested opening game, 15-13, despite being out-hit but the Cats. Becky Sowinski paced the Lady Govs with eight kills. In game two, Kentucky used a balanced attack and fought back from down 0-6 to win, 15-13.
The teams split games three and four, with Austin Peay taking game three, 15-10, and Kentucky counterpunching in game four, 15-6, to send the match to a fifth game. However, game five did not provide the excitement of the first four. Austin Peay took control from the start and prevailed, 15-8, hitting at a .400 percentage, compared to the -.095 clip posted by Kentucky. This marked the first time in three matches that the Cats have lost in the deciding game.
Game five led Kentucky Coach Jona Braden to comment, "The fight was there for us today, but the execution was not. I think our players learned today that there is a whole lot they need to do to be ready to play. We are far more capable than we are showing."
In earlier action on Saturday, James Madison defeated Southern Illinois, 3-1 and improved to 2-0 in the KCC. The Dukes' offensive attack was impressive posting a hitting percentage of .225 for the match. Larissa Daily led the way for the JMU (6-3) hitting at a .472 clip that included 19 kills. Kristie Kemner continued her solid play recording a team-high 14 kills for SIU (7-3) as the Salukis fell to 1-1 in the tournament.
James Madison overcame an early 4-0 deficit to capture game one, 15-13. Southern Illinois (7-3) countered in game two taking advantage of sloppy play on the part of James Madison. The Dukes struggled with their serves, depositing six into the net for service errors, as the Salukis easily took game two, 15-6.
Games three and four were dominated by the offensive execution of JMU. Posting hitting percentages of .283 and .348 in the final two games, respectively, James Madison cruised to victories of 15-10 and 15-8.