Thanks to a career-high 21 kills from senior Avery Skinner, the No. 3 Kentucky women’s volleyball team took down Tennessee in four sets Saturday (24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 25-13) after falling behind 0-1 to start the match.
UK head coach Craig Skinner was pleased with his senior outside hitter’s performance, and cited her poise as a big reason the Cats were able to stay afloat after a tough first set.
“Like Leah (Edmond) did for us last year, one of the questions going into the season was ‘Who can bail us out when things aren’t going the way you want them to,’” Skinner said. “And things were not going the way we wanted to in set one and two and Avery stepped up big. Great teams need an aircraft carrier to bail you out and she was that tonight for us.”
After leading by as many as seven points mid-way through the first frame and holding a pair of set points at 24-22, the Vols stormed back, taking advantage of a pair of illegal attack calls to end the set to steal the first from Kentucky.
On a night when the offense wasn’t clicking, though, it was the Kentucky defense that proved to be the key to the match. Setter Madison Lilley led the charge out of the back row for the Cats, recording 15 digs to go along with 48 assists, good for her second double-double of the season. Senior Gabby Curry and junior Alli Stumler each added 13 of their own and Lauren Tharp had seven.
At the net, Kentucky was led by freshman Elise Goetzinger. In her first career start as a Wildcat, the freshman recorded five blocks to go along with seven kills. Lilley added three blocks of her own and Skinner, Stumler and freshman Reagan Rutherford each added two apiece. Thanks to a team effort up front, Kentucky held the Vols to just .101 hitting and forced their attackers into 28 errors as a team.
After a slow start to the match, junior Alli Stumler recovered well, finishing with 15 terminations on a .262 hitting clip. Sophomore Azhani Tealer and Rutherford each added seven of their own.
With the win, Kentucky moves to 2-0 on the year and will be back in action on Wednesday, October 28th at No. 7 Missouri. First serve in Columbia is set for 9:00 pm.