#19 Kentucky Visits Two SEC West Opponents
Nov. 6, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 19th-ranked University of Kentucky volleyball team hits the road for its final regular season two-match road trip this weekend. Kentucky travels to take on SEC West foes Ole Miss on Friday and Arkansas on Sunday.
UK is winners of 19 of its last 20 matches and has escalated to No. 19 in the polls. In its two victories last week, over LSU and Georgia, defense was the key factor. Sophomore Sarah Mendoza had an all-around effort against the Bulldogs, and the team posted 17.5 blocks against UGA. Against LSU, BriAnne Sauer paced the back-line defense in leading UK to season sweeps of both squads.
The last time against Ole Miss, sophomore Lauren Rapp's career-high 21 kills lifted No. 23 Kentucky to a come-from-behind win over Ole Miss, 3-2. Rapp exploded offensively for the Wildcats with the team's first 20-kill performance of the season to help UK stay perfect against the SEC West this season. UK claimed the victory by the scores of 25-14, 27-29, 19-25, 25-16, 15-12.
Kentucky fell behind 2-1 after Ole Miss stole consecutive sets in the middle of the match. But, behind Rapp and a career-high 19 kills from sophomore Sarah Mendoza UK captured the final two sets to clinch the win at home. Not only was Rapp the power behind the offense, the Indianapolis native set a career-high with 16 digs and led the team with five blocks. She tallied seven kills in both the second and third sets on her way to the career-high 21 hammers. Rapp accounted for a team-high 25.5 points as well.
Other notable performances by the Wildcats today were a career-high 14 digs from sophomore Laura Stokowski. Junior Sarah Rumely notched season-highs with 57 assists and three service aces. Sophomore Blaire Hiler tallied a season-high 11 kills for her first double-digit kill performance of the season. Rumely, Mendoza and Rapp all earned double-double efforts for the match. Mendoza now has three-straight double-double performances.
Senior Queen Nzenwa's hot hand guided the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats to a 3-0 sweep of visiting Arkansas in their first match-up of the year. Kentucky was led by a career day from the senior from Baltimore, Md. Nzenwa laid down a match-high 13 kills on a magnificent career-best .867 hitting percentage. She also led another solid defensive effort by the Wildcats with a team-high five blocks for a total of 15.5 points on the night.
Kentucky's defense once again proved to be the difference maker in the match, as the Blue and White accounted for nine blocks on the night. Nzenwa (5), freshman Becky Pavan (4) and junior Sarah Rumely (4) led the way. UK's defense also scooped up 46 digs on the night, led by junior BriAnne Sauer's team-high 16. Six Wildcats registered three or more digs in the match.
Offensively, sophomore Sarah Mendoza tallied nine kills with Pavan registering eight. Sophomore Blaire Hiler chipped in with seven, and sophomore Lauren Rapp added five as the team struck a .292 hitting percentage for the night. Rumely jump-started the offense with 34 assists and four kills of her own.
The match with Ole Miss is slated for an 8 p.m. ET start on Friday night. Sunday's match with Arkansas is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET. Results and a recap of both matches will be available following the completion of action on UKathletics.com.