Wilson’s 14 Kills Hand No. 20 Kentucky Sixth-Straight Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Megan Wilson had 14 kills Friday night as No. 20 Kentucky beat Mississippi State 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-22) inside Rupp Arena, running the Wildcats win streak to a season-high six matches with its second-straight sweep.
Kentucky had three players reach double-figure scoring, as Reagan Rutherford and Azhani Tealer both also had 10 kills apiece, as the Kentucky offense hit .330 on the night as a whole guided by Emma Grome’s 43 assists.
Defensively, it was a clinic from Brooklyn DeLeye, who had a mammoth 17 digs in the match and Eleanor Beavin kept her streak alive, as she had 11 digs for her 16th-straight match with 10+ digs to start the season. Elise Goetzinger had four blocks Friday to lead the Wildcats.
Kentucky will play top-10 Arkansas on Sunday for first place in the Southeastern Conference at 1 p.m. ET inside Rupp Arena. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network and ESPN app.
Kentucky used four early swings and terminations from Reagan Rutherford to take a 15-12 lead at the media timeout, with the Wildcats hitting .370 offensively and five very early digs for setter Emma Grome, who the Bulldogs were looking to pull out of the play early in the opening set. Grome went on a successful two chute after a slide termination from Elise Goetzinger to give Kentucky a four-point lead at 18-14 and MSU called its first timeout with Kentucky leading by four. The lead grew to five at 21-16 on an extended rally kill from Megan Wilson that saw UK match its largest lead of the evening. MSU went on a 3-0 run to cut into the lead and an overpass on a tough serve made things 21-19 and Kentucky was pushed into calling its first timeout of the set, up by a pair. An Elise Goetzinger kill ended the set with Kentucky closing the frame on a 3-0 run to take the opener, 25-20.
The serving of Eleanor Beavin exploded Kentucky out of the blocks in the second set and the Wildcats took an early 7-2 edge after an ace from freshman DS Molly Tuozzo. After the Bulldogs won five points in a row to close the gap and level the frame, a 4-0 UK run ensued and Mississippi State was pushed into a timeout, trailing 13-7, its largest deficit of the frame to that point. A MSU attack error thrusted the Wildcats into a 17-9 advantage and an ace by Emma Grome ballooned the Kentucky lead to 18-9 as the Bulldogs had to call their second timeout. Kentucky rode out the momentum to the end of the set and took a 2-0 lead with a 25-12 second-set victory.
For the first time in the match, it was Mississippi State the controlled the lead in the early segment of the third set with the Bulldogs using long-rally terminations and timely serving to give themselves a 7-3 lead, its largest advantage of any set to that point in the match. Emma Grome then got Brooklyn DeLeye more involved in the offense and her terminal abilities put the Wildcats right back into the set as UK took a 15-14 lead at the media timeout, UK’s first lead of the set to that point. Azhani Tealer’s 10th kill of the afternoon gave Kentucky a two-point cushion on a quick attack out of the middle, marking the first time in the third that UK had a multi-point lead. Mississippi State used its first timeout trailing 21-19 after Elise Goetzinger’s seventh kill of the night on a slide gave UK a two-point cushion late in the set.
Stat That Matters
- Brooklyn DeLeye’s 17 digs were the key stat in the match.
Elise Goetzinger’s ace late in the third set to give Kentucky a two-point lead for the first time in the set at 21-19 forcing a MSU timeout.
The key player in Friday’s match was Megan Wilson who went for 14 kills.
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.