Wildcats Sweep Ole Miss for Eighth SEC Win
The Kentucky volleyball team earned a 3-0 victory over Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., Sunday to collect its eighth Southeastern Conference win of the year. The Wildcats move to 15-7 on the season, marking the first time since 1999 the Cats have won 15 games and its first eight-win SEC season since 1996.
Kentucky (15-7, 8-4 SEC) was led by Danielle Wallace with 17 kills on .577 hitting, while Amy Kaplan had 10 kills on .474 hitting. Libero Jenni Casper had 16 digs, while freshman Ashlee Fisher had 12 kills and no errors on 19 attacks for a .632 percentage. Junior Melissa Popp had 13 digs on the afternoon.
UK hit .357 as a team, its best percentage since the season opener with Western Carolina and its highest in SEC play since a .427 performance against Ole Miss on Nov. 3, 2002. The Wildcats held Ole Miss to .136 hitting and kept star Jaclyn Toohey to nine kills, only her second single-digit kill performance of the year.
“I’m very proud of our players to go on a four-match road trip and come out 3-1,” UK Coach Craig Skinner said. “Robby (Pulliza) and Leigh (Marcum) have done a great job with our offense to allow us to hit for a high percentage today.”
The Wildcats eased out to a 5-1 lead to open the match on a block from Kaplan and Wallace. After UK stretched the lead to six at 12-6, Ole Miss burned a timeout. Kentucky continued to control the pace, forcing another Rebel timeout with a 20-10 lead. The Wildcats would continue on to win the game, 30-14, after hitting .667 in the opening round. Fisher had seven kills on eight attempts in the first game.
The second game was considerably more even, with six early ties before a 5-0 run gave the Wildcats a 14-10 edge. The Cats continued to control the pace from there, holding off a late Rebel threat at 27-24 to earn a 30-26 victory. The Cats hit just .190 in game two, but Wallace totaled nine kills on .538 hitting in the game.
After falling behind 1-3 in game three, Kentucky used a 6-0 run to take a 7-3 lead. After the Wildcats took a five-point lead on a Kaplan kill, Ole Miss took its first timeout of the game. The Wildcats went on to win the game 30-19 with a kill from Kristen Cunningham.
The Wildcats return to Lexington for their final SEC home weekend. They face South Carolina on Friday, Nov. 4 and Tennessee on Sunday, Nov. 6. Sunday will serve as senior day for UK’s Amy Kaplan, Leigh Marcum and Danielle Wallace.