Kentucky Gets Back on Track with Bluegrass Battle Title Behind Edmond

  0 Wendy Mayer | September 01st, 2018 | Big 12, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News, SEC

Bluegrass Battle

  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2018

Kentucky completed an undefeated weekend at home and wrapped up the Bluegrass Battle title with a five-set thriller against Kansas on Saturday. Meanwhile, Dayton did not go home empty handed, earning a victory in its final match of the weekend, posting a four-set win over College of Charleston.


Kentucky 3-0

Kansas 2-1

Dayton 1-2

College of Charleston 0-3

All-Tournament Team

MVP – Leah Edmond (Kentucky)

Madison Lilley (Kentucky)

Brooke Morgan (Kentucky)

Jade Burse (Kansas)

Ashley Smith (Kansas)


Dayton def. College of Charleston 3-1 (25-21, 13-25, 27-25, 25-15)

Key Stats: Dayton bookended the match with stellar hitting efforts. The Flyers started with a .356 clip and ended with a .481 effort, committing just one error en route to the 25-15 Set 4 win.

All told, Dayton hit .300 for the match, while holding College of Charleston to a .202 effort. The Flyers also led the way in kills (57-50) and blocks (9-6), while the Cougars were better from the service line (9-5 in aces).

Stat Leaders: Lauren Bruns racked up a match-high 17 kills and four blocks, while Amelia Moore hit at a .714 clip for the Flyers, posting 10 kills in 14 errorless swings. Brooke Westbeld was all over the stat sheet for Dayton, notching 29 assists, eight digs, six kills, two aces and two blocks. Margo Wolf pulled up 13 digs.

Three Cougar players posted double-digit kill efforts: Madison Kennedy (14), Lauren Freed (11) and Mandy Napierala (10), while Devon Rachel added nine putaways. Devon just missed a double-double, adding a team-best 11 digs to her offensive efforts. Kennedy hit at a team-high .345 clip, while Napierala put up five blocks.


#16 Kentucky def. Kansas 3-2 (16-25, 15-25, 25-17, 25-11, 15-8)

Call them the comeback kids if you like, but call them tournament champions, regardless. The Wildcats went down 2-0 in the match, but pulled off the championship with three straight wins. The victory was Kentucky’ second over the Jayhawks and first since 1998, giving the team a 2-1 lead in the all-time series.

“It was a tale of two teams throughout the match,” Wildcat head coach Craig Skinner said. “Obviously we didn’t start very well, and it was ugly volleyball for a couple of sets. Credit Kansas they played great the first two, then we played extremely well (sets) three, four and five. Give a lot of credit to a couple of seniors making differences with the serving: McKenzie Watson and Brooke Morgan.”

Key Stats: Kentucky was the better team offensively, outdoing Kansas 53-51 in kills and .255 to .143 in hitting percentage. The Wildcats also boasted a 12.5 to 9 lead in blocks. The Jayhawks were tops in aces (8-6) and digs (57-56).

Stat Leaders: Leah Edmond downed 18 kills, while Allie Stumler, Avery Skinner and Brooke Morgan turned in 12, 9 and 8 respectively to round out the offense. Morgan served up three aces and put up a team-high six blocks, while six players managed two or more stuffs. Stumler added five followed by Madison Lilley and Gabby Goddard with four apiece. Curry was tops in the backcourt with 18 digs.

Jada Burse and Ashley Smith were tops for the Jayhawks with 14 kills apiece, although three other players added six or more putaways. Mmachi Nwoke added six kills and a team-leading seven blocks. Setter Gabby Simpson was just off a triple double with 20 assists, eight digs and seven kills, while her running mate Camryn Ennis accounted for 24 assists and 10 digs. Lacey Angello pulled up 20 digs for the third time in five matches.

How It Happened: The Wildcats turned it around with the match tied at 11-all in Set 3, scoring 14 of the next 20 points for the win. After that, Kentucky was in control, starting Set 4 with an 8-1 run and never looking back as Kansas hit -.025 with nine miscues.

The decisive fifth set saw the Wildcats score the first three points and go up 6-2 with two Alli Stumler kills and aces by McKenzie Watson and Brooke Morgan. A 4-0 run, including three Kansas miscues, pushed the advantage to seven at 10-3. An Ashley Smith stopped UK momentarily, but Kentucky poured on three more points to take a 13-4 lead on a block by Stumler and Gabby Goddard. The Jayhawks made it a game with four straight points all on kills, two by Smith, to force a Wildcat timeout at 13-8. An Avery Skinner kill and the fifth KU error of the stanza finished off the comeback at 15-8. Kentucky posted a .583 hitting effort to wrap up the win.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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