Volleyball

No. 6 Kentucky Remains Perfect in SEC with Sweep of Texas A&M

by Deb Moore

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A balanced performance from all phases of the game propelled the No. 6 Kentucky volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-17) win on the road at Texas A&M on Sunday. The win pushed UK’s winning streak to 14 matches and helped preserve a perfect record within conference action.
 
“I was impressed with our focus,” head coach Craig Skinner said.  We were down 12-14 in the first set and volleyball is such a game of momentum, at that moment it can go either way. We did a really good job of staying the course today. Our focus was as about as good as it has been all season. The staff is impressed with our ability to move on to the next point”

Kentucky moves to 19-2 overall on the season and 10-0 against Southeastern Conference foes. Texas A&M falls to 7-11 on the year and 4-7 against SEC teams. Kentucky will return home for two matches this week. Up first is a second tilt with No. 4 Florida at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday. The match will also air live on ESPNU. UK won the first match against the Gators by a 3-1 score a little more than two weeks ago.
 
Freshman setter Madison Lilley helped direct the Wildcats to another balanced offensive performance. Kentucky logged 44 kills on a .393 hitting percentage with Lilley accumulating 39 assists in the process. She also contributed five digs, two kills and a block. Kentucky also amassed seven blocks and 30 digs which bettered Texas A&M’s totals.
 
Freshman Avery Skinner and sophomore Leah Edmond both topped double figures in the kills’ column. Skinner led the way with 12 on a .320 hitting clip. Edmond had 11 kills, four digs and a trio of blocks in the winning cause. She also utilized an efficient .556 hitting percentage.
 
Senior Kaz Brown contributed nine kills on a .500 clip, while also adding a match-high six blocks. Classmates Emily Franklin and Darian Mack added six and four kills, respectively.
 
Senior Ashley Dusek continued her stretch of matches with double-figure digs as she boasted a match-high 11 in the win. Junior McKenzie Watson chipped in with four and freshman Gabby Curry had three.

“I love having hometown support me,” Dusek said after playing in her home state of Texas for the final time in her career in the regular season. “It’s so great to see people care about me but more importantly, more UK fans here. It’s awesome to have the Blue out there.”

Set One:
Texas A&M opened the match with a service ace and eventually moved the score to 3-1. A kill from Skinner and an error by the Aggies enabled the Wildcats to knot the score at three apiece. The Aggies responded with a mini-spurt to once again claim a multi-point advantage, but Mack and Edmond came up with consecutive kills to tie things at five. From there the teams would trade points back and forth until the home team took a 15-13 lead into the media timeout. Following the timeout, Mack had a kill and then Watson registered an ace to tie it at 15. It sparked a five-point swing for the visitors as Kentucky stretched the lead to 18-15 behind two blocks from Brown and Edmond. The lead eventually swelled to five at 21-16 behind erroneous attacks from the Aggies. Kentucky’s swing stretched to 10-1 following the second Texas A&M timeout of the frame with Lilley getting in on the action on a conversion of an overpass. Skinner finished things off for UK with her third kill of the set to lift the Cats to a 25-19 win.
 
Set Two:
Kentucky opened the second set with the momentum still on its side as Edmond got in on a solo stuff. Texas A&M would immediately answer and play would seesaw until Lilley and Brown logged consecutive kills for a 5-3 edge. The home team would not go away and eventually tied it at eight apiece. Kentucky would eventually shake free for three straight points to earn a 12-9 advantage. Franklin jumpstarted the stretch with a kill. A kill from Edmond gave Kentucky a four-point lead at 15-11 into the media timeout. Brown and Lilley teamed up for a block to lift Kentucky to an 18-11 advantage forcing the home team to use a timeout. The Aggies closed the gap to four points at 19-15 following a three-point spurt and UK opted to take a timeout. Following the break, Skinner came up with a big swing to quell the threat. It was all the more breathing room the Blue and White would need en route to a 25-18 second set victory.

Set Three:
Two kills from Edmond helped propel the Wildcats to an early 3-0 lead. Kentucky stretched the advantage to 7-3, once again benefiting from an error from the Aggies. Edmond pushed the lead to six at 13-7 with her ninth kill of the match. A block from the duo of Brown and Skinner lifted the visitors to a 15-8 advantage into the media timeout. Following the break, the Aggies won the first point but Brown immediately responded with a kill of her own. After Texas A&M pulled back to within five at 16-11, Skinner fired back with a kill to spell the threat. Another kill from Edmond gave UK a 19-13 lead and the Aggies opted for a timeout. A 3-0 run from the Cats was sparked by back-to-back blocks from Brown and Mack to lift Kentucky to a comfortable 22-14 lead. Kentucky would go on to earn a 25-17 win and the 3-0 sweep.
 
Follow along with the Cats on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com
 

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