Kentucky Swept By No. 14 Tennessee in Rupp Arena
LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the first time since 2017, the Kentucky Volleyball team was swept at home in a Southeastern Conference match, as it lost 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-18) Sunday afternoon inside Rupp Arena by the Tennessee Lady Volunteers.
Kentucky only led for a total of seven points the entire match, and the Lady Vols held UK to .134 hitting offensively, with no Kentucky player reaching double-figure kills offensively. Defensively, Tennessee outblocked Kentucky 10-6 and Eleanor Beavin led all players in the match with 18 digs.
Sunday marked the end of Kentucky’s Southeastern Conference opening homestand, as UK will return to the road Friday night at 7 p.m. ET as it open a road trip with a match against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia.
Azhani Tealer and Jordyn Williams got things started off for the Wildcats with four of the first five points coming from Kentucky kills. Freshman Brooklyn DeLeye added five kills to bring the Wildcats within two points from the Vols with a score of 7-5. Elise Goetzinger found her way into the offense with a kill to tie it up at 10-10. Molly Tuozzo helped the Wildcats defense with seven digs and a service ace bringing it to a one-point set at 16-15 and forcing the Vols into a timeout. The Wildcats continued to battle it out with strong defense from libero Eleanor Beavin who contributed seven digs as well. Kentucky held the Vols at game point with two kills and a block by Tealer, but Tennessee won the 24-23 point thanks to a touch off the block and took the opener, 25-23.
Tennessee jumped out to an early lead at 9-4 and after back-to-back hitting errors and Kentucky was forced into a very quick timeout, quickly down five points. Kentucky’s ninth hitting error of the match again progressed the Tennessee lead to six, but it was a Molly Tuozzo service run midway through the set that changed the set, as UK pulled to within two points at 16-14 and Tennessee called timeout to talk things over with UK within a pair for the first time since it was 4-2 early in the frame. Tennessee pulled away after UK closed the gap as the Wildcats fell down by five at 21-16, called a timeout and Tennessee cruised to a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-18 second-set win.
Back-to-back blocks on the right pin put Kentucky into the lead for the first time in the third set since it was 3-1 and Tennessee elected to call an early timeout to stop the momentum from swinging the Wildcats direction. Tennessee then won back-to-back points out of the timeout to re-take the lead and it was quickly 10-9 Lady Vols. Freshman Molly Tuozzo went on a 3-0 service run to steady the ship for the Wildcats as her second ace of the match gave Kentucky a 13-10 lead, its largest lead of any set in the match to that point since it was 4-1 in the first. A series of UK blocking and attack errors piled up and Tennessee squared the set at 14 all and Kentucky burned its first timeout after its three-point lead had evaporated.
Kentucky Volleyball in Rupp Arena
UK Athletics announced earlier this spring that Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center will serve as the primary home venue for the Kentucky gymnastics, volleyball and women’s basketball teams for the 2023-24 season while Memorial Coliseum undergoes an $82 million renovation.
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