Western Kentucky def. Notre Dame 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-22)
Western Kentucky moves to 31-3; Notre Dame ends the season at 22-10
WKU Recap / Notre Dame Recap
Western Kentucky put up 10 blocks and hit at a .317 clip in a sweep of Notre Dame on Friday.
The Lady Toppers held the Irish to a .144 hitting effort and bested Notre Dame 50-36 in kills and 10-3 in blocks. Both teams served up four aces.
Senior outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh led the way for WKU with 18 kills, while senior right side Sydney Engle turned in a 11-kill, 13 dig double-double. Engle hit at an errorless .579 clip (11-0-19) and added four blocks, while junior middle Rachel Anderson added eight kills and a team-high six stuffs. Sophomore libero Emma Kowalkowski led the backcourt with 19 digs, followed by freshman outside Hallie Shelton (17) and Engle (13).
Senior outside Sydney Kuhn and sophomore outside Jemma Yeadon notched 11 kills apiece to pace the Notre Dame offense. Senior middle Sam Fry chipped in eight kills on a team-best .412 hitting night. Fry and Kuhn served up two aces apiece. Junior libero Ryann DeJarld pulled up a team-high 16 digs, while junior middle Meg Morningstar and junior outside Rebecca Nunge put up two blocks apiece.
The Lady Toppers started the match with a 7-0 run, including three UND miscues and two blocks, a sign of things to come. Notre Dame closed to within four twice, last at 15-11, before WKU pulled away with a 5-0 run. Three players notched kills, while Kowalkowski added an ace to make it 20-11. A kill by Engle gave the Lady Toppers set point at 24-13, but Notre Dame got a block and ace from Fry and a Yeadon kill to extend the set. Engle closed it out at 25-16.
After trailing 7-3 in Set 2, Notre Dame rallied to take a brief lead at 9-8 as Kuhn downed three kills and an ace. After a tie at 11, WKU built a nine-point advantage at 21-12 with a 10-1 run. Cavanaugh registered six kills and a block in the surge. A stuff by Engle and Anderson gave the Lady Toppers at 24-15 lead and another closed the door four points later.
Western Kentucky left little doubt in the final stanza, cruising to a 15-5 lead. Engle downed four kills and four others chipped in putaways in the early rally. Notre Dame sliced the margin to one at 22-21, including four Fry putaways and two stuffs by Nunge and Morningstar. A Yeadon kill had it 23-22 in favor of WKU. Cavanaugh sent the team on to the second round with two kills and a 25-22 win.
- Kentucky def. East Tennessee State 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-21)
- Kentucky moves to 27-3; ETSU ends the season at 19-12
- Box Score
- Kentucky Recap / ETSU Recap
A crowd of more than 4,000 was on hand to witness No. 4 overall seed Kentucky sweep past East Tennessee State on Friday night in the NCAA First Round.
The Wildcats impressed the fans with a .337 hitting effort and strong blocking effort featuring nine stuffs. Kentucky outhit ETSU .337 to .129, while outdoing the Bucs in kills (45-37) and blocks (9-2). ETSU outserved UK 4-2.
Freshman outside Avery Skinner downed 14 kills on a .407 hitting effort, while sophomore outside Leah Edmond added 11 putaways and two aces for the Wildcats. Senior middle Kaz Brown (6), senior outside Darian Mack (6) and senior middle Emily Franklin (5) rounded out the offense. Franklin also put up at a team-leading six blocks, while senior libero Ashley Dusek led the backcourt with 12 digs.
Sophomore outside Leah Clayton and junior middle Braedyn Tutton notched eight kills apiece for ETSU, while junior right side AJ Lux added seven. Freshman outside Kalee Vanderhorst put up a team-leading two blocks and six kills. Junior setter Alyssa Kvarta served up three aces, while freshman libero Marija Popovic managed a team-leading 13 digs.
ETSU took an early 4-3 lead in Set 1, but Kentucky countered with a 9-1 run, including three Edmond kills, two stuffs by Franklin and a trio of Buc miscues. The lead had shrunk to just three at 17-14, but the Wildcats scored five of the next seven with two Edmond kills and two more blocks to go up 22-16. The teams split the next six points before Skinner downed the final point at 25-19.
The Wildcats raced ahead 12-6 in Set 2 with help from two kills and a block by Lilley and two Edmond putaways. Down 17-12, ETSU narrowed the gap to one at 18-17 with three kills as well as an ace by Kvarta. UK scored seven of the final 10, four on Buc miscues to win 25-20.
East Tennessee State scored the first three points of Set 3 and built a five-point edge at 10-5 forcing a Kentucky timeout. The Wildcats turned things around with a 9-2 run including two kills and a block by Brown, taking a 14-12 lead. After trailing 18-15, the Bucs were within one three times, before UK ended the night with a 5-2 run. Three Skinner kills and an ETSU error set up a match-point try at 24-19. A pair of Tutton kills kept the match going, before Skinner registered her 14th kill to close out the 25-21 win.