After dropping a close first set, the No. 3 Kentucky women’s volleyball team took down No. 9 Missouri in four sets (23-25, 35-33, 25-20, 25-18) on the road thanks to 21 kills from both Avery Skinner and Alli Stumler.
Missouri started the match red-hot, racing out to an early 13-7 lead thanks in large part to five team aces in the first frame alone. After Missouri took a 19-14 edge, though, the Cats rattled off a 6-2 run to make things interesting at 20-21, but the Tigers went on to win the set and take an early 1-0 lead over the Cats.
The second set began much like the first, as Missouri saw its lead balloon to as many as seven at 12-5, but Kentucky held firm, utilizing a late 11-5 run to tie the frame at 20 points apiece. From there, the two teams battled back and forth, leading to 15 ties and six lead changes before the cats gutted out an impressive 35-33 set two victory.
From there, the Cats coasted as Skinner and Stumler got things going on the outside. The hitters combined for 42 terminations and just seven errors, as Skinner hit an impressive .396 and Stumler hit .390. Sophomore Azhani Tealer continued her steady play out of the middle, adding eight kills and just three errors. Freshmen Elise Goetzinger and Reagan Rutherford rounded out the scoring for Kentucky, each adding six terminations of their own.
Offensively, senior Madison Lilley directed the Wildcat offense to a .358 hitting clip, and dished out a match-high 51 assists.
Kentucky dominated at the net after Missouri middle blocker Tyanna Omazic went down with a leg injury early in the first set. The Cats finished the match with a 13-4 advantage at the net, as Skinner led all players with seven rejections. Middle blockers Tealer and Goetzinger each added six, Rutherford and Lilley had two and Stumler added one.
It was a balanced team effort out of the back row, as Stumler and senior Gabby Curry each recorded 13 digs to lead the Wildcats. Skinner registered seven, Lilley had six and Tharp added four.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 against ranked competition. They will be back in action Thursday night to wrap up the series against the Tigers, with first serve in Columbia set for 9:00 pm.