Balanced Offense Leads No. 15 Kentucky Past LSU in Sweep
BATON ROUGE, La. – Thanks to 11 kills each from Reagan Rutherford and Brooklyn DeLeye, the No. 15 Kentucky Volleyball team beat LSU 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 25-18) on Friday night in the Pete Maravich assembly Center for its eighth-straight win of the season.
Kentucky will rest up and take advantage of a Sunday bye before the four-match road trip for UK continues in Columbia, South Carolina next Friday at 7 p.m. ET with a match vs. the USC Gamecocks live on the SEC Network+ and the ESPN app.
With Friday night’s result, Kentucky improves to 11-7 on the season and sits 9-1 in the Southeastern Conference in a two-way tie for first place with Arkansas, who also won Friday night. The win for Kentucky is the eighth in a row for Kentucky and the Wildcats have now won three of its last four matches via a sweep.
After the two sides exchanged two-point leads, the Wildcats offense stuck the foot to the petal on overdrive with Reagan Rutherford in the front row and took a 6-0 run to its name to lead 11-7 and push LSU into its first timeout of the set. The lead for Kentucky grew to seven, a new high for the set and then on a crushed overpass from Elise Goetzinger, UK led 18-10 and LSU called its second timeout of the set, down 18-10. Kentucky arrived at set point at 24-18 thanks to a service error by the Tigers and a quick out of the middle to Azhani Tealer on the succeeding point gave UK the opening set, 25-18. Emma Grome had 15 assists in the opening set and guided UK to a .441 hitting percentage as Eleanor Beavin’s five digs held LSU to .310 hitting and forced LSU into two UK blocks.
In the seconds set, it was LSU who jumped out to the early lead, taking an 11-8 lead thanks to serving and passing difficulties by the Wildcats and Kentucky found itself down a match-high three points and elected to call its first timeout of the match. LSU took a large three-point lead at 21-18, but two straight points by UK on a Brooklyn DeLeye kill and LSU attack error brought the Wildcats back into the equation at 21-10 and LSU called its first timeout to stop the UK momentum late in the set. LSU won two of the three points out of the timeout and trailing 23-21, Kentucky was forced to burn its final timeout of the set to talk things over. Two outstanding digs by Eleanor Beavin gave Kentucky set point at 24-23 on an extended rally terminated by an Elise Goetzinger slide attack. An Elise Goetzinger slide attack ended the set and Kentucky came from behind to take the second set, 26-24, ending the set on a 5-1 run to close the set.
After a sideout termination by Reagan Rutherford from the right pin, Eleanor Beavin gave UK its first lead of two-plus points in the third set with back-to-back aces as the Wildcats took the 10-7 edge to kickstart the frame. Brooklyn DeLeye had two critical kills from the back row to give Kentucky a 12-9 lead and the lead ballooned on the next points as Megan Wilson’s seventh kill of the night gave UK the 15-11 lead at the media timeout. Thanks to an amazing one-arm stab buy Brooklyn DeLeye, Kentucky’s lead expanded to 20-14 and LSU called its first halt to play with UK five points from the finish line. After the timeout, LSU got a pair of blocks to take the Kentucky lead down to three and it was then Kentucky’s turn to burn a timeout as its lead was trimmed to 20-17. A Molly Tuozzo service ace ended the match.
Stat That Matters
- Eleanor Beavin has now recorded double-digit digs in 17-straight matches to start the season.
The 5-1 UK run at the end of the second set was the key moment as the Wildcats grasped a 2-0 lead in the match.
Brooklyn DeLeye was the key player for UK with 11 kills on 30 swings with eight digs.
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.