Wildcats Fall in Three to Scrappy Georgia Squad
The Kentucky volleyball team was swept, 3-0, by the Georgia Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon in the Ramsey Student Center in Athens, Ga. With the win, Georgia sweeps the season series with the Cats for the first time since the 2000 season.
Kentucky (12-13, 3-11 Southeastern Conference) was led by junior Danielle Wallace, who had 15 kills on .500 hitting. Alex Montefalco added 14 kills, while Sarah Spinner had 14 kills on .344 hitting. Jenni Casper led the digs category with 11, while Kristen Cunningham added five blocks and Leigh Marcum had 49 assists.
The Wildcats opened the match by capitalizing on unforced Georgia errors to gain a 4-1 lead. Kentucky extended the run and used three kills from Spinner to earn a 12-6 lead and force a Bulldog timeout. The Cats continued to climb leading by as many as eight at 18-10 on a kill by Montefalco, but Georgia rallied and pulled within three at 23-20 to force a UK timeout.
UGA took four consecutive points out of the timeout to take its first lead of the game at 24-23, but a kill from Montefalco tied the score again.
After the Bulldogs jumped ahead 26-24, UK took two points to even the score at 26. A kill from Amy Kaplan put Kentucky up 27-26 and sent UGA to the bench. The teams tied at 27 and 28 before Georgia blocked a shot from Cunningham to go on game point at 29-28. A quick kill from Spinner evened the game again, but UGA’s Julia Petruschke sent one down for another attempt at game point. An errant attack from Spinner sealed the game for the home team, 31-29.
Kentucky went up 2-1 early in the second game, but Georgia met them every step of the way from there, with the teams seeing ties on the next eight points. The Bulldogs broke free with three straight points to lead 12-9 and after building the lead to five, UK burned a timeout. Georgia maintained its distance down the stretch and lengthened the lead to seven at 27-20, forcing a final Wildcat timeout.
Alexandra Oquendo took two straight kills to put UGA on game point, but consecutive kills from Spinner and two errors on the Bulldogs put the score at 29-24 and caused a Bulldog trip to the bench. Georgia used scrappy play to send the ball back to Kentucky’s side on the next rally and got game point on a lift call on the Cats for a game score of 30-24. UK hit 250 to UGA’s .405 in the game.
After taking a 7-2 lead in the third game, Kentucky let the Bulldogs back in the door at 7-5 after a handling error on Marcum. The Cats rebounded to take three consecutive points, forcing a UGA timeout with UK leading 10-5. The Cats kept their distance for much of the game until a late rally from the Bulldogs cut UK’s lead to two at 23-21. Play remained tight down the stretch, with UGA coming within one several times, including at 26-25.
UK then took the next two points to take the score to 28-25 and force a Dawg timeout. UGA returned with a kill from Petruschke and then had an ace from Jennie Metz. A kill from Oquendo tied the game at 28 and was cause for a Kentucky timeout. Oquendo followed with another kill to put UGA on match point and then combined with Margo Wallace to block a shot from Montefalco to win the match with a 30-28 victory.
Kentucky closes regular-season SEC play next weekend with a road trip to Alabama. The Cats face Auburn on Friday, Nov. 12 and then head to Alabama on Sunday, Nov. 14.