- South Carolina at #6 Kentucky (SEC Match)
- Lexington Kentucky
- Kentucky improves to 20-3 (11-1 SEC); South Carolina drops to 11-13 (4-8 SEC)
- Attendance: 1908
- Box Score
Despite dropping the first set, the #6 ranked Kentucky Wildcats fought off a hard fighting South Carolina Gamecocks’ squad to pull out a four set victory. Set scores were 20-25, 25-15, 25-22, and 25-16. Leah Edmond led the Wildcats with 19 kills and 5 aces while Avery Skinner and Emily Franklin chipped in 15 and 11 kills respectively. Freshman setter Madison Lilley filled up the stat sheet with 44 assists, 8 digs, and 5 blocks.
Despite needing four sets to pull out the victory, Kentucky dominated the box score leading the match in kills 57-47, aces 8-1, blocks 10-6, and assists 51-44. Both teams collected 46 and digs. The Wildcats out-hit the Gamecocks .276 to .210. With the win, Kentucky improves to 20-3 (11-1) and remains just ½ a game behind Florida for first place in the SEC. The Wildcats will return to action on Wednesday, November 8th when they travel to face Alabama.
Mikayla Robinson and Abreia Epps led the Gamecocks with 10 kills apiece while Courtney Koehler handed out 41 assists. Aubrey Ezell paced the defense with 16 digs. With the loss, South Carolina dropped to 11-13 (4-8 SEC) and will return to the court on Wednesday, November 8th to host Missouri.
Courtesy of Kentucky Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman Madison Lilley directed the sixth-ranked Kentucky volleyball team to a bounce-back 3-1 (20-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-16) win over visiting South Carolina on Sunday. She helped three Wildcats reach double-figure kills in the win, UK’s 20th of the season. Kentucky dropped the opening set before rallying to take the final three to secure the win.
“My favorite part of the match is that we got better each set,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “We did start slow, but I’m not going to take anything away from South Carolina. That’s an athletic team and they’re playing very hard for their coach right now. But yes, I’m pleased, especially in set four, the way we really came on offensively.”
Kentucky improves to 20-3 overall on the season and 11-1 in Southeastern Conference action, while South Carolina falls to 11-13 on the year and 4-8 against league foes. Today’s win signifies the 10th season and seventh-consecutive year in which Skinner has directed a team to 20 or more wins. UK returns to action with a midweek tilt at Alabama on Wednesday. First serve is set for 8 p.m. ET and the match will air live on the SEC Network.
Lilley once again topped 40 assists with 44 helpers on the day. She also contributed eight digs, a match-high five blocks and three kills in the winning effort. As a unit, Kentucky combined for 57 kills – 10 more than South Carolina – and utilized a .276 attacking percentage. Three players reached double figures in the kills’ column, led by sophomore Leah Edmond. Edmond boasted a match-best 19 kills on a .351 attacking percentage, but perhaps made the biggest difference from the service line. Edmond had a career-high five aces, while also adding 11 digs for her 14th career double-double and fifth of the season. Her previous career high in aces was four in a win over Southern Cal earlier this season.
Freshman Avery Skinner notched 15 kills and also chipped in with three digs and a pair of blocks. It’s the 13th time this year she has topped 10 or more kills in a match. Senior Emily Franklin had 11 kills on a team-high .450 hitting clip. She’s reached a .400 hitting clip or better on 15 occasions. Franklin added four blocks and a pair of aces to the winning cause. Senior Kaz Brown added seven kills and three blocks, while junior Brooke Morgan and Darian Mack each posted a kill. Morgan also added a trio of rejections.
Senior Ashley Dusek had 13 digs and four assists. Junior McKenzie Watson added five digs, while freshman Gabby Curry had four. Dusek has reached double-digit digs in 15-consecutive matches.
South Carolina grabbed the first two points of the set. Franklin got the Cats on the board with a kill to cut the SC advantage to 2-1. Play seesawed until a service error and a Big Blue block from Lilley and Brown tied the set at 5-5. SC answered with a three-point run, and UK was able to end the run with a Skinner termination. Points went back-and-forth until 12-8, when SC earned a kill and forced UK to burn a timeout. Out of the timeout, Edmond earned back-to-back kills to cut the Gamecock advantage to 12-10. SC pushed its lead back to 14-10 before a service error. A ball handling error made it 15-11. An Edmond kill and an ace got the SC lead back to two at 15-13, but South Carolina answered right back with two points of its own. Play went back-and-forth until the Gamecocks took a 23-18 advantage. UK got two kills from Brown, but SC won the set 25-20.
The Wildcats started the second set in front after a kill form Edmond. SC answered and play seesawed until UK gained a 5-3 lead after a solo stuff from Lilley and a Skinner termination. SC was able to take the lead at 7-6 as part of a three-point run. UK answered with a five-point swing that was capped by an attacking error that gave UK a 12-7 lead and forced SC to burn a timeout. . The run had a block from Franklin and Morgan and a kill from Franklin. UK went up 14-10 after a block from Morgan and Brown. After teams traded points, an Edmond kill, ace and an SC attacking error gave Kentucky an 18-12 advantage and forced the Gamecocks to use their second timeout. Out of the timeout, the Gamecocks were called for an illegal attack. The Gamecocks stopped the five-point run with a kill, but UK grabbed two more to go up 22-13 after a Skinner kill. Skinner got a solo stuff to put the Cats up 24-15, and a Lilley ace won the set for UK at 25-15.
The Gamecocks took a 1-0 lead, but a Franklin hammer tied the set early. SC grabbed the lead once again but UK responded with a four-point run capped by a Franklin ace, her second of the run, to take a 5-2 advantage. UK went up 7-3 with an Edmond termination. SC took back-to-back-points, then the Wildcats went on a four-point run to go up 11-5, capped by an Edmond ace and a Skinner kill. South Carolina was able to get the lead to 13-9, but a Franklin kill and an attacking error by the opponents extended UK’s lead to 15-9. The Gamecocks went on a four-point run to cut the lead to 15-13, but UK responded with three of its own after kills from Morgan and Edmond and a block from Morgan and Brown. UK grabbed its biggest lead of the set at 22-15 after a service error and two attacking errors. South Carolina fought back with a four-point run and forced UK to burn a timeout up 22-19. An UK attacking error cut the lead to 22-20, and the teams traded points until Kentucky won with a Skinner kill, 25-22.
South Carolina took an early lead, but Franklin tied the set at 1-1 with a kill. After SC took the lead once again, UK had three-straight Edmond hammers to earn a 4-2 lead. SC stopped the Edmond run, but Edmond had another kill to put the Cats up 5-3. The Gamecocks managed to get the UK advantage down to 6-5, but two Skinner kills made the set 8-5. SC tied the set at 8-8 and took the lead on a block at 9-8. Kentucky rattled off five straight to take control at 13-9 with the help from Skinner, Franklin and Lilley with kills. Play went back-and-forth until SC was able to cut the lead down to 18-15. Kentucky responded with kills from Lilley and Skinner and a Big Blue block from Franklin and Lilley to go up 21-15 and force SC to use a timeout. Kentucky grabbed two more to take a 23-15 advantage. Lilley and Franklin teamed up for a block to lift UK to match point. Kentucky’s defense forced the 21st attacking error of the match by the visitors for the clinching point and a 25-16 set victory.
Courtesy of South Carolina Athletics
LEXINGTON, KY. – South Carolina was able to take a set off No. 6 Kentucky Sunday afternoon, but dropped a 3-1 road decision (25-20, 15-25, 22-25, 16-25). Five Gamecock hitters finished with eight or more kills, but the defense couldn’t slow down one of the nation’s best offenses. The Gamecocks are now 11-13 overall and 4-8 in the SEC, Kentucky improves to 20-3 (11-1 SEC).
SET 1: South Carolina built an early 12-8 lead after starting 6-of-11 on its attacks, forcing Kentucky into a timeout. The Wildcats, who entered the day hitting .314 as a team, struggled in the set with eight attack errors and hit just .135. The Gamecocks were able to string out a multi-point lead throughout the rest of the set to take it 25-20, with Abreia Epps’ three kills leading the Carolina offense. It was the first set the Gamecocks had won in Lexington since 2010, a span of five matches.
SET 2: The Wildcats used a 5-0 run to break away from a close start to the set, forcing the Gamecocks to burn a timeout trailing 11-7. Carolina was able to draw within two out of the break, 12-10, but Kentucky never trailed and pulled away with a 6-1 run late in a 25-15 win to even the match at 1-1. Claire Edwards and Mikayla Robinson had three kills apiece in the game, but Carolina as a team hit just .086 and were blocked four times by Kentucky.
SET 3: Kentucky’s servers picked on South Carolina’s passers to start set three, getting three aces in its first 10 points for a 10-5 lead. On top of its service, Kentucky’s offense was clicking, with kills on eight of its first 13 swings. A big block from Robinson and Epps snapped the ‘Cats out of the hot start, and keyed a 4-0 South Carolina run that made it 15-13 in favor of the home side, leading to a UK timeout. Kentucky rallied out of the break with a 3-0 run, but the Gamecocks rode the arm of Courtney Furlong late to pull within two, 23-21. The junior pin had four kills on five attempts and a solo block in the game, including the team’s final three kills of the set.
SET 4: There would be no letup from the home side in the decisive fourth set. The Wildcat offense roared from start to finish, getting 18 kills on 31 swings to finish hitting .548 for the set in a 25-16 win to clinch the set.
STAT OF THE MATCH
Kentucky entered the match hitting .314 as a team, but the Gamecocks limited them to a .215 success rate before the fourth set barrage. South Carolina wasn’t able to score points off serve or on the block, getting just one ace and six blocks compared to eight aces and 10 blocks for Kentucky.
- With a solo block in the first set, Mikayla Robinson moved into second for most solo blocks by a freshman in the program’s rally scoring era, with 14.
- Courtney Koehler’s 41 assists Sunday give her 869 for the season, breaking the program’s sophomore assist record, held previous by Kellie McNeil in 2013.
- South Carolina’s offense was balanced, with its five primary hitters all getting eight kills or more in the match.
- Sunday marked the 18th time this season that the Gamecocks won the first set in a match. This year, the team has a 9-9 record when winning the first set, after going 16-1 last season.
South Carolina returns home for a three-game home stand that starts next week. Up first is a Wednesday night match against Missouri, which airs at 6 p.m. nationally on ESPNU. The Gamecocks cap the weekend on Sunday with a rematch with Arkansas that begins at 1:30.
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