DeLeye Propels No. 23 Kentucky to 3-0 Sweep on Rocky Top
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Thanks to double-figure scoring from three Kentucky players, the No. 23 Kentucky Volleyball team went to Rocky Top and swept the No. 10 Tennessee Lady Vols inside Food City Arena on Sunday night, winning three tight sets to none, 25-20, 26-24, 27-25 to take the match.
Brooklyn DeLeye paced the Wildcats with 13 kills to just two errors Sunday as both Elise Goetzinger and Azhani Tealer logged 12 terminations as Emma Grome led one of the most balanced offensive attacks UK had all season. Defensively, it was Elise Goetzinger who led the way with four blocks as one of four players for UK who had multiple blocks in the contest.
Tennessee suffered just its second defeat of the season Sunday, with its only other loss coming to No. 1 Wisconsin in September in five sets. The Lady Vols are now 16-2 on the season and sit at 7-1 just like UK in the SEC.
With Sunday’s win, Kentucky is now over the .500 mark for the first time this season and is 8-7 on the year and now sits second place in the Southeastern Conference with a 6-1 league record. UK will play Mississippi State on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET inside Rupp Arena as it opens a two-match homestand in Rupp.
Kentucky took the first lead of note in the first set behind the terrific serving of Eleanor Beavin, who aced the Lady Vols and then got UT out of system in the next point as a swing from Reagan Rutherford put the Wildcats up 13-9 and the Lady Vols used their first timeout of the match to stymie the momentum. Out of the break, Brooklyn DeLeye got in on the action with a crafty kill from the right pin and a slide termination from Elise Goetzinger brough the UK lead to its largest margin of the afternoon with a 16-11 lead. Azhani Tealer’s second kill of the match gave Kentucky a 20-15 lead and the Lady Vols called their final timeout after back-to-back points from Molly Tuozzo’s serve to reinstate the UK advantage. An Emma Grome setter dump and a kill from Grome out of system handed Kentucky the opening set, and UK took the lead 1-0 with a 25-20 frame.
Tennessee won the first five points of the opening set as the Lady Vols used two service aces and a Kentucky hitting error to push the Wildcats into an early hole. After a kill from Brooklyn DeLeye on the left pin, Reagan Rutherford had a sensationally-timed stuff block on the right side to push Kentucky into the lead for the first time in the set, at 8-7 after slowly chipping away at the UT lead. A Brooklyn DeLeye 10-foot kill and Emma Grome out of system play gave UK a 15-10 lead as the Wildcats had a five-point edge at the media timeout. After UK took an 18-15 lead, the Lady Vols got two point in a row thanks to UK errors offensively and Kentucky was pushed into its first timeout of the match and the set with the lead down to one at 18-17. After an Elise Goetzinger kill, her team-best eighth of the afternoon and a service ace from Brooklyn DeLeye, UK’s lead grew back to four at 21-17 and Tennessee took its first timeout to stop the bleeding. After Kentucky arrived at set point at 24-19, Tennessee won five points in a row to tie the set at 24-24 before UK got a termination from Azhani Tealer to take a 25-24 lead and then an attacking error by the Lady Vols off a great serve from Molly Tuozzo ended the set and Kentucky took a 2-0 lead at 26-24.
Set three started like set two, with Kentucky getting behind the eight ball early on, but slowly chipping away to square things up at 7-7 thanks to an extended rally termination from Elise Goetzinger. After UK took the lead at 9-8 for the first time all set, the Lady Vols went to work and won four of the next five points beginning with a Kentucky service error as the UT lead ballooned back to three at 13-10. The Wildcats rallied to square the set at 13-13 but a service error and a Kentucky attack error pushed UT back up by a pair and that sent the third set to the media timeout with UK down 15-13. A successful challenge by Craig Skinner earned a replay and on a beautifully-executed slide play, Elise Goetzinger swung the momentum pendulum back to blue and Tennessee was pushed into a timeout, trailing the Wildcats 20-17. Two points later, a UK attack error and a sideout put UT back within one at 20-19 and the Wildcats used their first timeout to try and slow the attack. Kentucky again arrived at set point with room to spare at 24-21, but Tennessee took a 25-21 lead with a 4-0 run. Kentucky then sided out to square the set, got a kill from Azhani Tealer to level up at 26-25 and a block by Tealer and Rutherford ended the match.
Stat That Matters
- Kentucky had three players that scored 10+ points each in the match, with Tennessee only having one.
1,000. Eleanor Beavin recorded her 1,000th-career dig in the match.
After being down 5-0 to start the second set, the Wildcats won seven of the next nine points to level the set at 7-7 and pushed momentum back to the Kentucky side as they were able to get going in the second frame.
Elise Goetzinger was the key player in the match for Kentucky, going for 12 kills with no errors and four blocks.
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.