Wildcats Win 3-1 Decision at Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. – The Kentucky volleyball team returned to its winning ways tonight, Sept. 21, with a 3-1 victory over Georgia. The Wildcats took the match by a final of 3-1 (30-6, 30-24, 23-30, 30-20) to improve to 11-3 on the year and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference. UGA falls to 10-3 overall and 1-2 in league play with the loss.
The Wildcats outhit UGA .288 to .048 for the match and recorded 65 kills to just 39 for the Bulldogs. The Cats reached double figures in blocks for the 10th time this season and for the fourth consecutive match. UK had 12 team blocks, while the Dawgs recorded seven in the loss.
Senior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker recorded a season-high with a match-high 18 kills on .343 hitting. Freshman Lauren Rapp tied her career-high with 14 kills to go along with eight digs, five blocks and four assists, while sophomore Brooke Bartek tallied 12 kills and five digs in the win. Junior Queen Nzenwa added 10 kills and a match-high nine total blocks. Junior Alisa Pierce and sophomore BriAnne Sauer added 15 and 10 digs, respectively. Pierce matched a season-high with three service aces on the night.
Kentucky came out hot in the opening game. Nzenwa teamed up with Bartek for a block assist then added two more with Rapp as the Cats went on top 4-1. An ace by Pierce followed by a solo block by Nzenwa made it a 6-1 Wildcat lead. Following a service error, a powerful kill by Rapp on the right side and a pair of UGA hitting errors made it a 9-2 edge and forced a Bulldog timeout. A UK hitting error snapped a 4-0 run and made it a 10-3 score, but the Wildcats rallied off nine straight points to take a commanding 19-3 advantage. Georgia used its final timeout at that point, but the Cats remained the team with the momentum.
A kill by Rapp made it 20-3 before a service error snapped the 10-0 streak and put the Dawgs on the board at 20-4. Another UGA hitting error and a Britenriker kill started a 4-0 run that gave the Cats a 24-4 lead. Kentucky continued to dominate the game as Rapp and Rumely recorded back-to-back putdowns and a pair of UGA attempts sailed wide to put UK on top 28-5. A service error accounted for Georgia’s sixth and final point of the game as Rapp connected for another kill before a Bulldog attempt fell out of bounds as Kentucky won the opener 30-6. The Cats hit .545 in the game, while UGA posted a -.393 team hitting percentage.
Game two saw much more even play from the Cats and Dawgs. Kentucky took a brief three-point lead, 7-4, after back-to-back kills by Britenriker, but Georgia battled back to knot the score at 8-all. The score remained tied at 12-12 until a service error by UGA and another ace by Pierce gave UK a 14-12 edge. The Bulldogs tied it again at 16-all but the Wildcats answered with their largest run of the game. A kill by Rapp and a UGA hitting error, followed by a block assist on the right side by Britenriker and Rumely gave UK a 19-17 edge. A strong kill by Bartek and a spike down the middle by Nzenwa continued the run which was capped the same way it started with a powerful putdown by Rapp to make it a 22-18 Wildcat lead.
Following a Bulldog timeout, Nzenwa added to the lead with a kill. Bartek added a pair of kills and Rumely had a put-down as The Cats pushed the lead to six at 26-20. Georgia would not go away and used a service error and a kill to cut the margin to four, 26-22. Rapp had the answer with a kill and BriAnne Sauer came through with a big service ace to give Kentucky a 28-22 edge and force another UGA timeout. The Bulldogs scored two points out of the break to come within four but Britenriker and Mendoza had the answer with back-to-back kills as the Cats won game two by a final of 30-24.
Game three began much the same with even play in the early goings. Kentucky held a brief two-point lead at 9-7 after a kill by Nzenwa but Georgia rolled off six straight points to take its largest lead of the match at 13-9 and force a Wildcat timeout. A powerful putdown by Rapp on the angle snapped the UGA scoring run and pulled UK within three at 13-10. The Bulldogs answered with a 4-0 run aided by a pair of UK hitting errors to go ahead by seven which resulted in another Kentucky timeout.
Mendoza responded with a kill out of the breather to cut it to six, 17-11, but Georgia scored three unanswered to take a commanding 20-11 lead. Britenriker broke the streak with a putdown and a kill by Rumely cut it to eight at 21-13. The Bulldogs continued to hold a 10-point advantage at 28-18. A UGA hitting error made it 28-19 and then a kill gave the Bulldogs match point at 29-19. The Cats held off the Dawgs with four consecutive points on kills by Rapp and Britenriker and a block assist by Britenriker and Rumely, but a service error ended the game as UGA held on to win 30-23.
Kentucky opened game four with a 6-1 run that included a kill, a block assist and a block solo by Nzenwa. A putdown by Rapp and a ball handling error by the Bulldogs capped the 6-0 run by the Cats. The SEC foes traded points and Kentucky continued to lead by five, 10-5, before a 3-1 run which included a pair of kills by Bartek gave the Cats a 13-7 edge. UK increased its lead to seven, 15-8, after back-to-back putdowns by Rapp and Hiler.
The Wildcats took a nine-point advantage after a kill by Britenriker and back-to-back UGA hitting errors made it an 18-9 score. However, four straight points by the Bulldogs made it a five-point game at 18-13 and forced a Wildcat timeout. A Georgia hitting error ended the scoring streak and a kill by Rapp coupled with two more UGA errors gave the Cats a 21-14 lead. After trading a pair of service errors, consecutive kills by Bartek and Nzenwa pushed the UK lead back to nine at 24-15. The Cats used a 7-1 run to go ahead 28-16. Nzenwa had a pair of putdowns in the drive, as did Bartek, while Pierce tallied her third service ace of the match. Another powerful kill on the right side by Rapp made it 29-17 but the Bulldogs scored three straight to hold off match point until Britenriker connected for a powerful kill to give the Cats the 30-20 win.
The Wildcats return to action Sunday afternoon when they travel to take on Auburn. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. ET. A live web cast is available for a nominal fee by visiting the All Access portion of AuburnTigers.com.