Cats Lose Heartbreaker to Lady Bulldogs Batt Posts Career-Highs
Kentuckys Kristen Batt posted career-highs with 27 kills and 26 digs, but that was not enough as the Georgia Bulldogs left Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon with a hard-fought 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
UK (4-14, 2-5 SEC) looked impressive for the first two games recording 24 kills and a .321 hitting percentage in game one and 19 kills and a match-high .333 clip in game two. However, the Cats could not carry the momentum generated in the first two games and dropped the next three.
"We made too many mistakes in games three through five," said coach Jona Braden. "We did not adjust to what Georgias offense was doing and we did not respond to the situation."
After Georgia took the opening point of game one, UK ran off the next eight to take and early 8-1 advantage. The Cats offense then stalled and UGA fought its way back into the match, cutting the deficit to two at 10-8. After a series of side-outs, UK regrouped and took five of the next eight points to capture game one 15-11, and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Megan Weiskircher sparkled for the Big Blue posting eight kills on 10 attacks for a .700 hitting percentage. Aleisha Craven recorded six digs and the Cats hit .321 for game one.
Game two was never in doubt as UK sprinted out to a 12-3 lead en route to winning 15-5. Kristen Batt led the charge for the Cats with seven kills on eight attempts in addition to posting a game-high six digs.
The Cats did not commit a service error in game two and scorched the nets for a match-high .333 hitting percentage. Choosing not to throw in the towel, UGA responded in game three.
With the game tied at six, Georgia ran off the next four points to take a 10-6 lead and force UK to call a timeout. The Cats countered taking four of the next six points and cutting the Lady Bulldogs lead to 12-10.
However, that would be as close at UK would get, as the Big Blue could not contain UGAs Stacy Buerger who dominated play with 10 kills.
Georgia took game three 15-11 and cut UKs lead to 2-1.
Energized by their victory in the previous game, the Lady Bulldogs seized the momentum in game four. With the score tied at three, UGA scored 10 unanswered points and jumped out to a 13-3 advantage. The Cats mounted a serious comeback attempt, but eventually fell short losing 15-10 and being forced to a deciding fifth game.
The game four marathon was highlighted by the play of UKs Batt and UGAs Buerger. Both players posted 10 kills, Batt on 28 attacks and Buerger on 23.
The deciding game was played in rally scoring. The teams split the first two points before the Lady Bulldogs could pull out to an 11-7 lead.
UKs never say die attitude would not allow the team to fold as the Cats clawed back to tie the score at 12 apiece. Georgias Jessica Leverette was then issued a red card due to unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in a point for Kentucky and giving the Big Blue a 13-12 lead. However, the Cats could not close out the match and Georgia took the next three points to win the game 15-13 and complete its comeback 3-2.
UK team members were disappointed with the loss.
"We are really disappointed we didnt win, especially after being up 2-0," said Kristen Batt. "We won the first two games relatively easy and lost our focus in games three through five and its cost us the match."
Three Cats recorded double-doubles in the match. Kristen Batt recorded her third double-double of the season reaching career-highs with 27 kills and 26 digs. Megan Weiskircher posted her sixth double-double with 18 kills and 15 digs and Whitney Samples season-high 68 assists and 11 digs were good enough for her second double-double this season.
April Barnhorst continued her steady play with 11 kills and four blocks. Sissy Canfield recorded her first double-digit and career-high kill performance with 11. Canfield also dominated net play for the Cats with six blocks.
Six UK players reached double-figures in kills: Batt with 26, Canfield, Weiskircher and Candace Cogan with 15 each, Brooke Dodson with 12 and Whitney Sample with 11.
Most of Georgias offense was supplied by outside hitter Stacy Buerger. The junior tallied a game-high 33 kills and 15 digs. In addition to Buerger, three other Lady Bulldogs reached double-figures in kills: Erin Gornes with 17, Luresa Forsythe with 16 and Jessica Leverette with 14.
Five UGA players recorded double-figures in digs, led by Iskra Perezs 24.
UKs next match will be on Friday, October 20 when the team travels
to Auburn for a match-up with the Tigers. The match is scheduled for 8
p.m. at the Student Activities Center.