DeLeye’s 25 Kills Aid No. 23 Kentucky in 3-1 Win Over Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Brooklyn DeLeye had 25 kills and Megan Wilson had 20 terminations Sunday afternoon as the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats beat Alabama, 3-1 (25-21,2 25-14, 19-25, 25-16) inside Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa.
It was the first time this season that two UK players had netted 20+ kills in the same match, and UK hit .306 on the afternoon thanks to 58 assists from junior setter Emma Grome. Defensively, it was DeLeye, Grome and Eleanor Beavin who had 10+ digs Sunday as the Wildcats held the Tide to .188 hitting, and under .100 in two of the four sets.
Kentucky will play its next match Friday evening, as its three-match road swing comes to a close in Columbia, Missouri as the Wildcats will play the Mizzou Tigers in the Hearnes Center at 7:30 p.m. ET live on the SEC Network.
With Sunday’s win, Kentucky is now 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference through two weeks of action and sits at 5-7 overall through 12 matches on the season. Alabama falls to 10-4 overall and 0-3 in league play.
Brooklyn DeLeye had five kills inside of the first 25 points of the match as Kentucky used a 3-0 run to sprint into the media timeout up by five at 15-10, clicking at a .368 pace offensively with Alabama barely over the .100 mark with six kills on 19 swings. The run extended thanks to an Audrey Whitworth service ace which gave UK a 17-10 lead and after a block by Azhani Tealer and Brooklyn DeLeye, it was 19-10 and Alabama called its first timeout down nine, its largest deficit of the set. Alabama slowly worked its way back into the set and even cut the UK lead down to three at 23-20 after trailing 19-10 as Craig Skinner deployed the first of his two timeouts. Kentucky emerged from the timeout and won back-to-back points to take the opening set.
Kentucky raced out to an 8-1 lead and Alabama quickly called its first timeout after back-to-back aces found the floor off the arm of freshman Molly Tuozzo. Alabama cut into the lead, just as it did in the first set, and closed the gap with two extended rally wins to make the lead 12-7 after UK had ballooned its lead to nine at 11-2 earlier in the frame. Kentucky went on a 3-0 run with two DeLeye kills and an ace from Emma Grome to push its lead to 16-8 and Alabama used its final timeout. UK put the petal to the floor and closed out the set clinically, winning 25-14 to take a two sets to none lead in Tuscaloosa.
For the first time all afternoon, it was Alabama that controlled the tempo of the set, with UK leading at 2-1 but not seeing the lead again the rest of the way. Alabama used a 5-0 un late in the frame to take a five-point lead at 20-15 and Kentucky had to call its second timeout of the set to talk things over. The Wildcats were never able to get anything going in the offensive phase and Alabama won the third set, 25-19.
Eleanor Beavin’s ace, her first of the match, gave Kentucky its first lead since it was 2-1 UK in the third set, as UK rallied from down 0-3 to take a 7-6 lead in the fourth set. An Elise Goetzinger termination on a slide put the Wildcats ahead by two at 13-11 and UK would bump the lead to a set-high three points going into the media timeout at 15-12. A huge stuff block by Megan Wilson and Jordyn Williams brought Kentucky’s lead to 18-13 and for the first time in the set, Alabama was pushed into using a timeout. The three next points out of the timeout all went Kentucky’s way and the lead was opened up to an eight-point margin at 21-13 and Bama called its final timeout down by eight. An Azhani Tealer kill ended the match.
Stat That Matters
- Brooklyn DeLeye had 25 kills in the match, tying her career high set on Friday.
Eleanor Beavin’s ace to put UK ahead for the first time at 7-6 in the fourth set was the key moment in Sunday’s match.
Megan Wilson was the key player for UK, as she had 20 kills in the match.
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.
For the latest on UK Volleyball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @KentuckyVB.