Wildcats Fall in Four to Ole Miss
Despite a career-high 21 kills on career-best .625 hitting by Amy Kaplan, the Kentucky volleyball team fell to Ole Miss, 3-1 (30-26, 27-30, 30-28, 30-24), Sunday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats fall to 11-8 and 2-6 in the Southeastern Conference play with the loss.
Kaplan added four digs and two blocks to complement her career attacking performance. Sarah Spinner contributed 17 kills and 11 digs, while middle blocker Kristen Cunningham had eight blocks, one off of her career mark. Outside Alex Montefalco tallied 11 kills in the loss to the Rebels (9-10, 2-6 SEC). Kentucky was out-hit by Ole Miss .211-.192 and the Rebels out-blocked the Cats,15-12.
Ole Miss took an early 4-0 lead in the first game before an attack error by the Rebelsí Kristen Carroll ended the drought. Back-to-back blocks by the Rebels extended their lead to 7-1. Out of a timeout, the Wildcats went on a 3-0 run to cut the lead to 7-4. Ole Miss later ran off three points to take a 12-7 edge. Kaplan had a kill to narrow the Ole Miss margin to three at 22-19, but service errors allowed the Rebels to move to 26-22. Ki Eveland staved off one Ole Miss attempt at game point with a crafty dink over the net that resulted in a kill, but a kill by Nikki Hill gave the Rebels a 30-26 game one victory.
Kentucky quickly fell behind in game two, 3-0, but the Wildcats battled back to break a 5-5 tie with a kill by Montefalco. An ace by Montefalco extended the UK lead to 9-7 and the Wildcats took what was then their biggest lead of the match at 15-10. The Cats later gained momentum out of a timeout to take a 25-19 lead but the Rebels crept back into the and pulled within two, 26-24. Ole Miss came within two twice more, but kill by Kaplan closed out the game, 30-27. Kaplan hit .875 in the second game with seven kills.
The Rebels again broke out to a 3-0 lead in the third game before Kentucky rallied to pull within one, 6-5, when Eveland found Kaplan down the middle for a kill. Ole Miss extended its lead to 10-6 and kept rolling before the Wildcats battled back to within one, 22-21. With UK trailing 27-24, Spinner slammed down a resounding kill off of a set from Leigh Marcum, who saw her first action in three weeks. Spinner then teamed with Cunningham to post a critical block and tie the match at 27. A kill by Carroll and an attack error by Spinner brought the Rebels to game point, 29-27. A lift violation was whistled against the Cats and gave the Rebels a 30-28 game-three win.
Kentucky and Ole Miss battled closely early in the fourth game before the Wildcats broke a 6-6 tie as Kaplan crushed a kill. Later, with UK trailing 11-10, Spinner came up with a kill to put the Cats on top, 12-11. The two teams were tied at each of the next five points, but each time Kentucky had an answer for the Ole Miss rally. Trailing 22-18, the Wildcats forced their way back into the game at 22-20. Out of an Ole Miss timeout, the Rebels ran off four consecutive points to pull ahead 24-20. A kill by Wallace and a service ace by Casper brought Kentucky to within one, 25-24, before Ole Miss scored two consecutive. Out of a UK timeout, the Rebels scored the final three points to win the fourth game, 30-24.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday, Oct. 22 when it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., to face the Arkansas Razorbacks. Opening serve is set for 8 p.m. EST at Barnhill Arena. Fans can follow all of the action with live stats on www.ukathletics.com.