UK Volleyball Sweeps Georgia in Athens
The Kentucky volleyball team swept Georgia, 3-0, for its first Southeastern Conference road win of the year at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga. It was Kentucky's first match sweep of the Bulldogs since Oct. 4, 1996, another 3-0 victory in Athens.
Kentucky (9-4, 2-1 SEC) is enjoying its best start in SEC play in five years. The Wildcats were led by senior Danielle Wallace, who tallied 15 kills on .407 hitting on her 21st birthday. Junior Melissa Popp matched her season-high for kills (9) two games into the match and finished with 12 put-downs on .409 hitting.
Middle blocker Amy Kaplan hit a match-high .529 with 11 kills, while junior libero Jenni Casper led all back-row players with 10 digs. Queen Nzenwa was tough in the middle for UK with eight kills and three blocks.
"Our passers won that match for us," UK Coach Craig Skinner said. "We were in system most of the night and it gave us lots of options. Our intensity was consistent throughout the night.
"It's is a great match when you hit over .350 in the SEC," Skinner continued. "Melissa, Amy and Ashlee had a great night for us."
Kentucky broke through four early ties in the first game to take a 9-4 lead on a kill from Nzenwa, but allowed Georgia to even the score with a 6-1 run after a timeout. After one more tie, Georgia off a 10-4 run to grow its lead to six at 21-15. A Wildcat timeout wouldn't provide immediate help as the Bulldogs pushed out to a 25-19 advantage, but two quick points from UK were punctuated by a solo block from Wallace to force another UGA timeout.
The Bulldogs seemed ready to close out the game, leading 28-23, but UK wasn't ready to quit. The Wildcats used a 7-1 run to earn the comeback 31-29 win on a Georgia hitting error. The Cats hit .341 to UGA's .159 in the opening game. Nzenwa and Kaplan each had five kills on six attacks in the game.
The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead to open the second game, but Georgia worked away to tie the score at nine. The teams played a close game from there, seeing 14 more ties from there before UK used a 3-0 run to lead 27-24. After a Kentucky error and a subsequent kill from Fisher, Georgia burned its last timeout of the game.
Julia Petruschke came out firing for the Bulldogs, powering two kills down the line to pull UGA within one at 28-27. A Petruschke error following a UK timeout would put the Wildcats on game point, but UGA freshman Anjelica Patridge would sink a kill to keep the game alive. Wallace, however, countered quickly to end the game in a 30-28 victory for the Cats.
After 10 ties before the mid-point of game three, the Wildcats pulled out to a 19-15 lead on a Popp service ace. Georgia's Alexandra Oquendo slammed one down to stop the Kentucky run, but Fisher was quick to sink a shot of her own.
Georgia, a 2004 NCAA Tournament team, hit a solid .299 for the match and was led by Petruschke with 23 kills on .486 hitting. UGA continues to lead the all-time series with UK, 24-22, but Kentucky has won five of the last nine meetings.
Kentucky travels on to Gainesville, Fla., to meet the fifth-ranked Florida Gators on Sunday, Oct. 2. Opening serve is set for 1:30 p.m. ET.