Cats Sweep Season Series with Vols With 3-1 Win

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Cats Sweep Season Series with Vols With 3-1 Win

The University of Kentucky women's volleyball team celebrates after a scored point during the match against Tennessee on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 3-1. Photo by Hunter Mitchell.

Thanks to another solid night offensively, the No. 16 Kentucky volleyball team took down the Tennessee Volunteers in four sets (25-10, 25-16, 19-25, 25-12) for the second time this season.

Sophomore setter Madison Lilley had yet another impressive performance, dishing out a match-high fifty assists and directing the team’s offense to a hitting clip of .398 with 64 kills. Lilley also recorded career highs in both aces and kills with four and six, respectively.

Four Wildcats surpassed the double-digit kill mark, led once again by junior Leah Edmond. The outside hitter hammered down 17 kills on a .310 hitting clip along with an ace and six digs. Alli Stumler and Caitlyn Cooper each recorded 13 kills and senior middle blocker Brooke Morgan added 10 terminations of her own. Cooper had a particularly impressive night, logging a new career-high in hitting percentage after attacking on a blistering .684 clip.

Sophomore libero Gabby Curry led the way defensively for Kentucky, grabbing a match-high 17 digs. Stumler, Lilley and freshman Lauren Tharp each added nine scoops as well.

The Cats made quick work of the first two sets thanks to some near-perfect passing and strong defensive stands. Kentucky garnered a side-out percentage of 89% in the first set and 70% in the second, never really allowing the Vols to get close. However, Tennessee wouldn’t go away quietly, and took advantage of a lack of focus by Kentucky in the third to force a fourth set.

“Going up 2-0 really means that you have to focus because no team during league play is going to let you fall over and kick their butts, so we’ve got to be more focused in situations like that,” Edmond said.

Kentucky responded out of third, though, and took the fourth 25-12 while siding out a whopping 92% of the time. In fact, it was the fourth set performance that impressed head coach Craig Skinner the most.

“We showed glimpses of elite-level play on both offense and defense,” Skinner said. “We responded well in the fourth set. We expected Tennessee to battle and compete like they did in set three so I’m glad we responded the way we did in set four, putting a good hitting percentage out there.”

The victory moves the Cats to 11-4 on the year and 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference. The win also marked the 900thvictory by the Kentucky volleyball program. The Cats will be back in action Sunday to host Ole Miss. First serve is set for 1 pm.

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