Cats Enjoy Perfect Weekend in SEC Play
Team rallies from 1-2 deficit
Kristen Batt recorded career-highs in kills and attacks as the Kentucky Wildcats volleyball team defeated visiting Ole Miss 3-2 at Memorial Coliseum. Playing without starters Stacey Wallace and Stephenie Taylor, UK battled back from a 2-1 deficit to win the match and remain unbeaten in Southeastern Conference action.
With the victory, UK (4-8, 2-0 SEC) completed a perfect weekend in SEC play, with both wins coming over schools from the Magnolia state.
UK coach Jona Braden was impressed with the way the team responded to adversity. I am very pleased with the way our team played this weekend, said Braden, especially considering that we were without Stacey and Stephenie. We lost two of our leaders during the first week of conference play and still came away with two wins.
Early in game one, the Cats looked as if they were going to dig themselves into a hole, trailing 4-1. UK managed to rite the ship and tied the game at four before going on an 8-0 run. An ace by Candace Cogan started the rally, and by the time it ended, two Ole Miss timeouts later, the Cats had jumped ahead 12-4 and would cruise to victory 15-8. UK scorched the nets in game one, hitting at a .310 clip.
UK struggled and appeared to be wearing down in games two and three. Ole Miss (6-7, 0-2 SEC) took advantage of Kentuckys lackadaisical play, easily winning both games 15-6, 15-8, and taking a 2-1 lead into game four. The Lady Rebels hit an astonishing .485 percentage in game two in addition to posting 17 kills.
Kentucky came out in game four determined to stretch the match to a fifth game. The Cats dominated net play and combined pin-point passing with precise attacks, trailing only once in the game en route to a 15-9 victory.
The fifth and deciding game was played in rally-format. Ole Miss took the opening two points, but UK responded winning three of the next four. The teams traded points until the Cats grabbed an 8-6 lead before switching sides. UK continued attacking, and in combination with Lady Rebel errors, served out the match 15-10.
Ole Miss played games two through five without outside hitter Jaime Burns, who set out due to a coachs decision. Starting for UK in place of the injured Taylor, Kristen Batt filled in admirably, establishing new career highs with 24 kills and 60 attacks. Batt recorded her second double-double of the season with 24 kills and 11 digs.
UK also received an excellent performance from Liz McCaslin, who posted her third consecutive double-double with 17 kills and 11 digs. Candace Cogan added 14 digs and Whitney Sample reached her season-high in assists with 58. The Cats leader, Megan Weiskircher, contributed with 15 kills and a .278 hitting percentage, despite being hampered by a slight muscle pull in her side.
On the downside, Taylor will be out for the remainder of the season after injuring her left knee Friday against Mississippi State. Fellow senior Stacey Wallace will undergo an MRI examination on Monday to determine the severity of the injury to her knee.
The Cats will be off until Friday, Sept. 29, when they travel to South Carolina for an SEC battle against the Gamecocks. Game time is schedule for 7 p.m.