Kentucky Falls to Tennessee in Marathon Match
Sample Surpasses 2,000 Assist Milestone
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In a grueling two hour and fifteen minute match, the University of Kentucky volleyball team was defeated by the University of Tennessee 3-1 (13-15, 5-15, 15-10,11 -15) Friday night at the Stokely Activities Center.
After dropping the first two games, UK (4-20, 2-11 SEC) battled back to claim game three and seemed poised to force the match to a fifth game, but UT (21-6, 9-4) was able to hold off the charging Wildcats and secure the victory.
Five Cats reached double-figures in the kill column. Kristen Batt, Whitney Sample and Megan Weiskircher all recorded double-doubles for the Cats. Batt led UK with 19 kills and 16 digs. Sample posted 51 kills and 15 digs and Weiskircher notched 16 kills and 10 digs for her team-leading ninth double-double of the year. Freshman Sissy Canfield tallied 11 kills and Liz McCaslin added 10 for the Big Blue. Aleisha Craven also contributed with 10 digs. During the opening game of the match, junior setter Whitney Sample became the sixth player in UK history to reach the 2,000 career-assist milestone.
In the game one marathon, UT raced out to an early 7-2 lead, prompting UK coach Jona Braden to use a timeout. The Cats responded by taking six consecutive points and gaining an 8-7 advantage. The seesaw battle continued as the Lady Vols ran off six straight points of their own to re-gain a five-point cushion. Kentucky responded once again cutting Tennessee's margin to one at 13-12. However, the UK offense stalled and UT took full advantage capturing two of the final three points and the opening game 15-13.
Weiskircher paced UK with seven kills and an impressive .600 hitting percentage in game one. Batt added six kills and a game-high five digs. As a team, UK outhit Tennessee .302 to .294 and outblocked the Lady Vols 3-0.
UK never got into sync in game two and UT slammed the door early on the Big Blue. Similar to game one, the Lady Vols jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. However, unlike they did in the first game, the Cats were unable to make a comeback, eventually falling 15-5 and digging themselves into a two games to none deficit.
The Cats emerged from the intermission energized and re-focused. After the teams traded the first six points of the game, UK earned four of the next six points to take a 7-5 advantage. The Cats extended their lead to 9-5, but UT countered with two points of their own to cut UK's lead to 9-7. Kentucky was not to be denied though. The Wildcats earned a side-out, and the teams traded the following six points to make the score 12-10. Kentucky would never relinquish that lead, thwarting every comeback the Lady Vols could muster, en route to winning 15-10 and forcing a fourth game.
Liz McCaslin provided the spark the Cats offense lacked in game two notching a game-high six kills. Batt added five kills and Sample posted eight digs. UK hit .205 for the game and held UT to a frigid .022 hitting percentage.
The final game proved to be another marathon as neither team was able to gain a sizable advantage. UT jumped out to a 6-2 lead before UK battled back to even the score at eight apiece. The Lady Vols took the next four points to climb on top 12-8. Despite a valiant effort, UK could not overcome the four-point deficit and eventually lost game four 15-11.
Ariana Wilson led UT with a match-high 27 kills. Three other Lady Vols reached double-figures in kills. Andrea Peterson led four UT players who scored double-digit digs with 16.
With the loss, the Cats were eliminated from next weekend's Southeastern Conference Tournament (Nov. 17-19 in Gainesville, Fla.).