Volleyball Rebounds with Victory Over Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Kentucky volleyball team rebounded from a first-game loss to take a 3-1 victory over South Carolina in Columbia Sunday. The Wildcats were led by setter Leigh Marcum, who had a career-best nine kills on. 533 hitting to go with 49 assists, six digs and three blocks.
Kentucky moves to13-7 overall and 6-4 in Southeastern Conference play, while South Carolina drops to 10-9 and 3-6 in league action. Also performing well for Kentucky were seniors Amy Kaplan and Danielle Wallace, who had 14 kills apiece. Kaplan hit .533 on the afternoon and added five blocks.
“We showed great persistence in game two, which carried through to games three and four,” UK Coach Craig Skinner said. “From there, our seniors, as well as Ashlee Fisher, helped us get the win.”
Freshman Ashlee Fisher had a strong fourth game, adding five kills to bring her match total to 11, while Jenni Casper tallied her 18th double-digit dig performance with 25. Julie Gagnon had a strong showing on defense as well with 11 kills to couple with two aces. Overall, Kentucky hit .279 to South Carolina’s .200, but was out-blocked 10-9.
Mental mistakes put Kentucky behind 10-4 early in the first game, forcing Skinner to use a timeout. The Wildcats fell further behind at 22-9 after a Wallace attack error, but rallied to cut the lead to eight at 26-18. South Carolina took a timeout, but the Wildcats continued to chip away, closing the gap to four at 28-24.
A Wallace serving error put USC on game point and Mirija Milosevic slammed one down to give the Gamecocks a 30-24 victory. Kentucky hit .281 in game one to Carolina’s .314. Kaplan led the way with five kills on .417 hitting, while Casper added seven digs.
After three early ties in the second game, South Carolina was able to control the score until a Wallace kill knotted the score at nine. After a tie at 10, USC used a 6-2 run to lead 16-12 and force a Wildcat timeout. The Cats fought back to cut the lead to one at 18-17, forcing a Gamecock timeout. UK evened the score again at 22, and after a tie at 23, allowed South Carolina to get a two-point lead at 25-23.
Kentucky burned its final timeout and after dropping behind by four, cut the edge to two again at 27-25 on a Gagnon ace. Consecutive kills from Marcum and Wallace later evened the score at 28 and after holding off game point for Carolina, Kaplan tied the score at 29. A dump from Popp put UK up 30-29 and the Wildcats were able to win the second game, 31-29, after a Gamecock hitting error. UK hit .217 in game two and had four players with four kills apiece. Casper added another 10 digs to her total.
The Wildcats controlled the tempo for most of the third game, taking a 13-7 early lead to force a South Carolina timeout. Kentucky stretched the lead to eight at 20-12 on a kill from Alisa Pierce. The Gamecocks cut the advantage to seven at 26-19, but UK remained composed, using a South Carolina service error to push to game point. An errant attack from Milosevic gave UK the 30-20 victory.
After falling behind 5-2 in the fourth game, the Wildcats used an 8-0 run to lead 10-5. The Gamecocks were forced to burn their final timeout with UK leading 16-8. South Carolina cut the lead to six at 24-18 after a Fisher block was ruled out of bounds, but the Wildcats seemed to be pulling away after a Fisher kill put the score at 28-20.
The Gamecocks used two UK errors to cut the lead to five at 28-23, but Kentucky went on match point with a kill from Marcum. After another Gamecock point, UK closed the match with a 30-24 win when USC was unable to return a shot from Wallace.
Next weekend the Wildcats travel to Mississippi State on Friday and continue on to Ole Miss Sunday. It’s UK’s first trip to Mississippi since the 2001 season. Play gets underway in Starkville Friday night at 7 p.m. CT.