Thanks to some impressive play from UK’s seniors, the No. 14 Kentucky women’s volleyball team took down the Arkansas State Red Wolves in a sweep to earn their first win of the season.
The Red Wolves played the Cats tough in the opening set, and the two teams traded points until Kentucky found themselves in a 19-16 hole. However, after a quick timeout, UK ran off a 6-2 run and took a 22-21 lead. Sophomore Leah Edmond, last year’s SEC Freshman of the Year, ended the set with a kill and the Cats took the 1-0 lead in the match.
UK head coach Craig Skinner noted his team’s ability to adjust late in the first set as the reason they were able to pull out the set one victory.
“It took us about two-thirds of the first set to really kind of get a feel for how fast their offense was so I’m proud of our team for making that adjustment at the end of the first set.”
Kentucky came out in the second set red hot, and took a 6-1 lead off junior McKenzie Watson’s first ace of the season. The lead ballooned to ten at 21-11, and some strong play by freshman Madison Lilley and senior Emily Franklin secured the 25-15 set two win.
The third set began much like the first, as the two teams traded points and found themselves deadlocked at 12 a piece. However, a quick 6-0 run gave the Cats an 18-12 edge that they would never look back from. Thanks to Edmond’s set-high five kills in the frame, UK won the set 25-19.
Kentucky’s seniors looked impressive in the win, as middle blocker Kaz Brown tallied eight blocks and six kills. Darian Mack added eight kills of her own along with five blocks, and Emily Franklin totaled nine kills while hitting on a .667 hitting clip.
“That’s a great senior group. They’re quality leaders and obviously physically talented on the volleyball court,” said Skinner.
The Cats will be back in action tonight as they face No. 23 Utah in Memorial Coliseum in their second match of the Bluegrass Battle. First serve is set for 9 pm.