South Carolina Snatches Another Thriller Over Volleyball Cats
The University of Kentucky volleyball team lost a 3-1 battle with South Carolina in Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday after leading 29-25 in what would have been the match-tying game. With the loss, Kentucky falls to 13-12, 5-8 in Southeastern Conference play.
Sissy Canfield had 11 kills on .429 hitting in the match with seven blocks, while Melissa Popp put down 19 kills and grabbed one solo block. Sarah Spinner had her 11th double-double of the season with 12 kills and 19 digs to go with five block assists in the loss.
The Cats fell behind 4-1 early in the opening game and watched as the Gamecocks built the lead to five at 10-5. Kentucky was able to come within two points toward the middle of the game, but eventually succumbed to a fierce USC attack, 30-19. Carolina hit .423 to UK’s .200 in the opening game to earn the win.
Game two saw the Wildcats jut out to an early advantage at 4-1, a lead UK would hold until an attack error by Popp evened the score at 15. A Kentucky timeout allowed the Cats to regroup and stretch back out to a 21-16 lead. The Gamecocks wouldn’t back down, tying things three times down the stretch, including the final deadlock at 28. Back-to-back kills by Spinner and Popp gave Kentucky a 30-28 victory and evened the match at one game apiece.
After close play to open the third game, USC built to a 16-10 lead after capitalizing on Wildcat errors. UK charged back to tie the game at 27 with an Amy Kaplan kill and again at 28 on a Popp putdown, but let USC take the last two points after a kill by Sarah Morgan and an error by Popp.
The Wildcats seemed to be in control through much of the final game, leading by as many six at 13-7, which forced a Gamecock timeout. Carolina slowly clawed back, coming within in one point at 19-18. Just as Kentucky was poised to tie the match with a game four win at 29-25, USC took the final six rallies, including four of the final five on Kentucky errors for the 31-29 win.
South Carolina has won the last eight matches against Kentucky, dating back to the 1999 SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks lead the overall series with UK, 15-14.
Kentucky will return to the court on Friday, Nov. 7 when it plays host to Tennessee at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.