No. 12 Kentucky Downs Kennesaw State in Final Nonconference Action
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 12th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team concluded nonconference action with a 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-15, 25-19) win over visiting Kennesaw State. Three players reached double figures in the kills’ column as UK posted 64 kills on a .324 attacking clip in the victory.
With the win, Kentucky finishes nonconference play at 9-2. Kennesaw State drops to 6-2. UK will open Southeastern Conference action at Missouri on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The match will air live on the SEC Network.
“I think offensively we did a great job tonight,” head coach Craig Skinner said. We sided out at over 70% and hit .325. Defensively we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. I think Anna (Nyberg) and Darian (Mack) did a great job coming in. Merideth (Jewell) really made an impact with her serve and presence on the floor.”
Sophomore Leah Edmond led the offensive onslaught with a match-high 19 kills. Seniors Kaz Brown and Emily Franklin were the others to reach double figures with 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Franklin converted at a rate of .643 percent, while Brown attacked with a .400 clip. Sophomore Madison Lilley dished out 41 assists and added nine digs in the win.
Freshman Avery Skinner contributed eight kills and junior Brooke Morgan added seven. Franklin led the defensive charge for the second-consecutive night with four blocks. Brown chipped in with three. Senior Ashley Dusek led the backline unit with 14 digs. She narrowly missed a double-double with nine assists. Lilley and junior McKenzie Watson both posted nine scoops, while Edmond tacked on five.
Kentucky started with the first two points of the match after kills from Edmond and Brown. KSU cut the lead to 4-3, but UK rattled off three-straight points finished by a Skinner termination. After the Owls scored, UK extended its lead to 10-4. Both squads traded points until Keneesaw State cut the UK advantage to 11-8. The Cats extended the lead once again, this time to 15-9 with help from two kills from Brown. Morgan made it 20-12. After KSU scored, UK extended the advantage to 10 at 23-13 and ended up winning the set, 25-17 after an attacking error. Kentucky hit .393 in the first set. Lilley dished out nine helpers while Brown and Edmond each had four kills.
A Kennesaw State service error started the set. KSU took a 2-1 lead and also led at 4-3 before Kentucky gained control thanks to a Mack kill. KSU tied it at 7-7 and again at 9-9, where they proceeded to go up 12-9 after a four-point run. After a Edmond kill, KSU went on another four-point run to go up 16-10. A brown kill stopped the run, and attack error by KSU made it 16-12. Teams traded points until 21-16, where Kentucky got a block and a kill from Brown to force a KSU timeout. Kentucky mounted a comeback and tied the set 24-24. KSU appeared to win the set, but an illegal substitution forced a replay. KSU ended up taking the set 26-24.
KSU grabbed the first point of the set but the set was evened after a service error. KSU took an early 6-3 advantage before a six point swing put the Cats up 9-6, ended by three-straight Edmond terminations. Play seesawed until the an Owl service error brought the set to a media timeout with Kentucky up 15-11. UK put up three more out of the break and the run ended with a Dusek ace. KSU could put up just four more points in the set and Edmond finished the frame with a kill, giving the Cats a 25-15 win.
Kentucky won the first point with a Morgan kill, assisted by Lilley. Kennesaw State jumped out to a 3-2 advantage and Brown evened the frame with a hammer. Down 4-3, UK rattled off three-straight after kills from Edmond and Skinner for a 6-4 advantage. UK jumped out to a 11-6 advantage after an attacking error, but UK got the lead down to two at 12-10. Kentucky found themselves up 20-14 after back-to-back attack errors. Skinner made it 21-16 with a kill from Lilley. Edmond finished it off for the Blue and White with her 19th kill of the night for the 25-19 win.