The No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats served their way to victory over the LSU Tigers in straight sets (25-22, 25-16, 25-13) on Sunday afternoon. The Cats tallied nine aces on the match, with Edmond and Lilley both securing three apiece. With the win, UK improves to 11-2 on the season and 2-0 in the SEC.
Once again Kentucky’s balanced attack made the difference in the game. Five players had five or more kills, with Leah Edmond and Avery Skinner leading all hitters with a match-high 10 kills apiece.
“Well we practice it all the time and try to get everybody involved and try and continue to expand each player’s range attacking. I felt like we did a good job of that,” said head coach Craig Skinner.
As a team, Kentucky hit .524 and committed just six errors. The Cats really asserted themselves in the third set, however, as they hit a blistering .789 with 15 kills and no errors.
Out of the middle, senior Kaz Brown was a menace for UK, as she recorded nine kills on 11 swings with no errors. The .818 hitting percentage for Brown was the highest of her career in a game with at least 10 swings. After her solid performance during Wednesday’s victory over Missouri, Darian Mack started the match for the Cats and once again provided them with a spark of energy. The senior hammered down nine kills while hitting .500, and added three blocks at the net.
“I have a lot of energy on the bench and then if I need to go in then just carry that energy off of the bench into the match,” said Mack.
Ultimately, it was LSU’s inability to control UK’s serve that led to the Tigers’ downfall. Not only did Kentucky acquire nine aces on the afternoon, but they also served the ball well enough to consistently keep LSU out of system, preventing the Tigers from giving their hitters solid balls that could find the floor. Along with Edmond and Lilley, Emily Franklin and McKenzie Watson also made contributions from the service line, as Franklin added a pair of aces of her own and Watson recorded one as well.
“We have been working on our serving. It’s paying off and I thought not only did we serve aggressively, but we hit the right zones,” said Skinner. There’s several different zones on the other side of the net we chart and try and hit and we attacked them all pretty well tonight.”
The Wildcats will get a week off before traveling to Starkville, Mississippi next Sunday to take on the Bulldogs. First serve is set for 3:00 pm.