Cats Upset Previously Unbeaten Mississippi State
Team off to 1-0 start in conference
UK (3-8, 1-0 SEC), desperate for a victory, responded and played by far its best match of the season. The match drew the biggest home crowd of the season, and the fans were treated to a great exhibition.
The win was truly a team effort. Megan Weiskircher and Liz McCaslin each recorded double-doubles. Weiskircher posted 19 kills and 14 digs while McCaslin notched 16 kills and 12 digs. Whitney Sample dished out 49 assists, in the process moving into 6th place on the all-time UK assists list. Aleisha Craven served a match and career-high five aces, and Candace Cogan helped out with 17 digs.
In game one, the Cats got off to a slow start, falling behind MSU 4-13, forcing coach Jona Braden to use her second timeout of the game. Whatever was said in the timeout must have lit a fire under the team, as they responded by taking 10 of the next 11 points while executing a near flawless offensive attack and knotting the score at 14. With the game hanging in the balance, senior Megan Weiskircher stepped up, recording kills on both the go-ahead and game-winning points, as the Cats took the opening game 16-14.
MSU (11-1, 0-1 SEC) did not appear shaken following its game one collapse. The Bulldogs began the second stanza winning the first five points. But once again, UK rallied to tie the score at 11 apiece. After the Cats took a 12-11 lead, Bulldogs coach Brenda Bowlin called a timeout in an effort to stop UKs momentum. However, her plan failed as Kentucky senior Whitney Sample served out the games final three points to give Kentucky a commanding 2-0 lead.
Motivated by putting an end to its four-game losing streak, UK quickly built 12-5 lead in game four before appearing to tighten up. The Cats began missing easy put-aways and let MSU back into the game. A nervous crowd tried to inspire UK, but Mississippi State seemed poised to send the match to a fifth set, taking the lead at 14-13. Facing a match point, UK earned a side-out on a cross-court kill by Liz McCaslin, then evened the match at 14. Serving for its first match-point in five games, the Cats appeared relaxed and confident as they took the final point to win the match 16-14, and pick up their first SEC victory 3-1.
Despite the victory, the Cats did suffer key injuries in the process. Stacey Wallace was forced from action in game three with an ankle injury, and Stephenie Taylor was sidelined in the match with a knee injury. UKs next match will take place Sunday, Sept. 24, when Ole Miss comes to town. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free.