Volleyball Earns Season Sweep of Bulldogs
Senior middle blocker Amy Kaplan registered a team-high 17 kills and posted five blocks Sunday to lead a powerful Kentucky blocking attack to a 3-1 (30-18, 30-20, 26-30, 30-28) win over Georgia in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats improve to 12-6 on the season and 5-3 in Southeastern Conference play with the win.
Kentucky out-blocked Georgia (7-10, 2-5 SEC) 10-3 in the match and had four players register double-digit kills. Senior Danielle Wallace tallied 16 put-downs, while freshmen Ashlee Fisher and Queen Nzenwa posted 15 and 14, respectively. Nzenwa also added five blocks.
Junior libero Jenni Casper led three players with double-digit digs with 25 scoops. Julie Gagnon added 13 and Alisa Pierce 11. Setter Leigh Marcum dished out 53 assists and led the Cats to a .293 hitting performance. Kentucky moves to 23-24 all-time against Georgia after defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 in Athens last month. This marks Kentucky’s first season sweep of UGA since the 2001 season.
“Our team did a great job of persevering through some close games,” UK Coach Craig Skinner said. “We were able to adjust and take that fourth game to seal the win. Georgia is a team with some very good players and, fortunately, we were able to sustain our intensity to take the match from them.”
Kentucky quickly broke to an 8-2 lead in the opening game capped off by a kill from Popp that forced an early Georgia timeout. The Wildcats continued to roll, extending their advantage to 15-6 on a resounding block by Marcum and Nzenwa. The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 13 points at 24-11, but began to chip away at the UK advantage to come within eight, 25-17, on back-to-back kills. The Cats kept fighting to cruise to the 30-18 victory on a service ace by Casper.
Georgia took command early in the second game, going ahead by three, 9-6, on a kill by Maria Taylor. The Cats began to rally, tying the score at 10 on a block by Kaplan and Wallace. After two more ties, the Wildcats went ahead 13-12 on a sweeping kill down the middle by Kaplan. Kentucky extended its lead to 18-15 on a crafty kill by Fisher that found the corner of the court. The Bulldogs only managed to come within four points of the Wildcats, 22-18, and the Cats went on to win 30-20 on a powerful put-down by Nzenwa.
The two teams battled evenly throughout the early stages of the first game before Kentucky broke a 12-12 tie with a resounding kill on the right side by Kaplan. Nzenwa followed with a kill to put the Wildcats ahead 13-12 and the freshman registered a kill off the block three plays later to extend the UK lead to 16-13 and force a Georgia timeout. The Bulldogs didn’t give up, tying the score at 17 on an attack error by Melissa Popp.
A Georgia ace and a kill by Alexandra Oquendo put the Bulldogs ahead by two, 20-18, causing Skinner to burn a late timeout. After three more ties, Nzenwa and Popp posted a block to put the Cats ahead 23-22. The Bulldogs went in front by two, 26-24 on back-to-back kills that forced another UK timeout. Georgia went ahead 28-25 on a kill by Oquendo and the Cats never could regroup, falling 30-26.
The Wildcats staked to a 6-4 advantage in the fourth game as Kaplan drilled a kill down the middle. Georgia, however, tied the score at six before Kaplan slammed another kill down the line to put Kentucky back up 7-6. The Wildcats continued to build their lead and went ahead by three, 12-9, on a Kaplan put-down that forced the Bulldogs to call a timeout. Georgia thrived out of the timeout, using a 3-0 run to tie the score at 12. After a tie at 15, the Bulldogs moved ahead 17-15 on an attack error and a kill by Chelsea Young.
The Cats rallied to tie the score at 24 after Georgia touched a Kaplan attack sailing out of bounds, and UK went ahead 25-24 on an attack error by the Bulldogs. UGA scored the game’s next two points to move in front 26-25, but the Cats battled through three more ties to reach match point on a kill by Wallace off the block before Kaplan drilled a shot on the angle to close out the game, 30-28.
Kentucky returns to action Friday when it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Tennessee Lady Vols. Opening serve is set for 7 p.m. and live stats will be available on ukathletics.com.