Kentucky Picks Up First 2 Wins, Kansas Survives at Bluegrass Invite

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

Bluegrass Invitational

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

The Power Five schools held the upper hand at the Bluegrass Invitational on Friday with Kansas rallying for a pair of five-set wins and host Kentucky No. 16 Kentucky picking up its first two victories of 2018.

It was a night of celebrations as well for the Wildcats as Coach Craig Skinner was honored for his 300th victory, which came in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, and Leah Edmond, who posted her 1,000th kill last week.

Kansas def. Dayton 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-7)

Key Stats: Dayton won the block 13-9, but Kansas boasted the advantage in the rest of the statistical categories en route to the comeback win. The Jayhawks outhit the Flyers .272 to .222 and outdid them in kills (68-58), aces (4-3) and digs (67-57). KU bookended the match with .300+ hitting efforts (.367 in Set 1 and .360 in Set 5).

Stat Leaders: Four Jayhawk players posted double-digit kills tallies led by Jada Burse‘s 15. Ashley Smith (14), Patricia Montero (12) and Zoe Hill (11) were not far behind. Hill had a standout night, putting up a team-leading eight blocks and hitting at a team-best .450 clip. Montero rounded out a double-double with 11 digs, but left the match in Set 4 with an injury and did not return. Lacey Angello racked up a match-high 18 saves.

Lauren Bruns was the offensive star for Dayton, notching a match-best 18 kills on a .325 hitting effort. Alli Papesh chipped in 12 kills and four blocks, while Kendyll Brown just missed a double-double, combining 11 putaways and a match-leading nine stuffs. Setter Brooke Westbeld was just off a triple double with 24 assists, 12 digs and eight kills of her own. Margo Wolf was the top Flyer on defense with 13 saves.

It Was Over When: Dayton could not get out of its own way in Set 5, committing five errors and hitting .000, while Kansas was 10-for-11 hitting .360 in the final stanza. After splitting the first eight points of the set, the Jayhawks pulled away with a 5-1 run, including a kill and a block by Hill. A Brown putaway cut the margin to three at 9-6, but it was all KU from there as the team closed out the match with six of the final seven scores. Smith turned in two kills, the last of which set up the final point, which came on a Dayton hitting error.

Kentucky def. College of Charleston 3-1 (25-20, 25-27, 25-21, 25-19)

Key Stats: Kentucky piled up 70 kills in the four-set win, while hitting at a .277 clip. The Wildcats also had help from seven aces (to 2 for CofC). The Cougars hit .208 and put up nine blocks (to 8) to counter the UK attack. Kentucky’s breakout set offensively came in Set 3 with a .400 hitting effort and 20 putaways. College of Charleston’s best effort was a .282 clip in the 27-25 Set 2 win.

Stat Leaders: Junior outside hitter Leah Edmond posted a season-high 25 kills, 13 digs and three blocks to guide the Wildcats to victory. Brooke Morgan and Avery Skinner joined the party with 15 and 11 putaways, while Kendyl Paris added nine putdowns. Morgan hit at a .481 clip and put up a team-leading four blocks alongside Paris. Four players notched double-digit dig tallies: Gabby Curry (18), Edmond (13), Alli Stumler (10) and McKenzie Watson (10).

Kennedy Madison was tops among the Cougars with 17 kills, while hitting .306 and adding three stuffs. Lauren Freed just missed a double-double with 13 kills and nine digs. Devon Rachel registered a double dip with 11 kills and a team-best 13 digs. Peyton Eisnaugle was the team’s top blocker with four stuffs.

It Was Over When: Kentucky scored six of the first seven points of Set 4 as Edmond came through with two kills and a block. College of Charleston countered with a 4-1 run of its own and two kills each by Madison and Rachel to narrow the gap to two at 7-5. From there, the Wildcats pulled away with a 6-2 rally capped by a stuff from Morgan and Stumler. Later, down 18-12, CofC called timeout and made a push with five straight points and seven of nine to slice the deficit to one at 20-19. Four UK miscues and two stuffs by Eisnaugle were key in the run. In the end, however, Kentucky was too strong and McKenzie Watson served up two aces to bring it to 23-19 and a Cougar hitting error and Edmond putaway clinched the 25-20 victory and the match.

“It was a good win,” Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner said. “Offensively we were very good most of the match. Seventy kills in four sets is a lot. We had too many unforced errors early, but we eliminated that and had our best set in terms of that in the fourth. Charleston is a good team and they’re going to win a lot of matches, so we’re happy to come away with the win.”

Kansas def. College of Charleston 3-2 (18-25, 25-15, 16-25, 25-11, 16-14

Key Stats: Kansas bounced back from a 2-1 deficit with hitting efforts of .545 and .364 in the final two stanzas of the victory. The Jayhawks also relied on their net defense, using a 13-7 advantage in blocks to help force 37 College of Charleston hitting errors. The Cougars boasted a 54-52 edge in kills, but hit just .099 for the match, salvaged by a .200 effort in Set 3.

Stat Leaders: Ashley Smith stepped into the spotlight offensively for Kansas as the team was without Patricia Montero, who was injured in the team’s earlier match with Dayton. Smith downed 18 kills and hit at a .317 clip, while Mmachi Nwoke (11) and Jada Burse (10) supplied extra firepower. Nwoke notched a team-best .526 hitting effort to go with a match-high eight blocks. Camryn Ennis turned in a 29-assist, 12-dig double-double, while Lacey Angello was tops in the backcourt with 20 saves. Burse and Gabby Simpson added four blocks apiece, while Simpson neared a triple double with 12 assists, eight digs and seven kills.

Lauren Freed and Devon Rachel registered 16 kills apiece to pace the Cougars, while Kennedy Madison added 14 putaways, a .344 hitting percentage and three blocks. Rachel also managed three blocks to rank behind Peyton Eisnaugle‘s four stuffs. McKala Rhodes pulled up a team-high 16 digs, while Rachel rounded out a double-double with 14 digs and Freed chipped in 12 saves.

It Was Over When: After cruising to a 25-11 Set 4 win, the Jayhawks did not take their feet of the gas, take a 9-6 lead to start the decisive fifth set. Three team blocks and two Nwoke putaways gave the Kansas the advantage at the changeover. A Rachel Langs kill and two CofC miscues made it 12-8 KU, but the Cougars charged back to knot the score at 13. Two Devon kills and an Allison Beckman ace brought the match to a deadlock. A Smith putaway gave Kansas the first shot at the win, but Madison countered. Nwoke followed with a kill and Angello aced the Cougars to captured the extra-point victory.

Kentucky def. Dayton 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-16)

Key Stats: The Wildcats left no doubt as to which team was the strongest offensively in the sweep, hitting at .451 clip, including a .655 effort in Set 3 as a an exclamation point. Kentucky pounded down 54 kills, while allowing just 31. UK put up three blocks to the Flyers’ two. Each team served up two aces. Dayton was consistent offensively with three efforts of .200 or better, but posted their most efficient mark (.257) in the opening stanza. All seven Kentucky players with an offensive swing hit at a .333 or better clip, including three better than .500.

Stat Leaders: Leah Edmond racked up 16 kills to lead all hitters, while hitting .419 and adding six digs for the Wildcats. Brooke Morgan downed 11 kills on an errorless .550 effort (11-0-20) and was one of two Kentucky players to record three blocks. Alli Stumler also managed 11 putaways. Setter Madison Lilley put up three stuffs to go with 45 assists. McKenzie Watson notched 13 digs.

Lauren Bruns paced Dayton for the second time on Friday, but this time registered just nine putaways. Brooke Westbeld added seven kills at a .429 clip to go with her 14 assists and five digs. Amelia Moore and Kendyll Brown rounded out the offense with five terminations each. Margo Wolf provided the bulk of the defense with 14 digs.

It Was Over When: Kentucky jumped ahead 12-5 in Set 3 following four straight kills by Avery Skinner, and never allowed Dayton closer than six the rest of the way. Skinner added two more putaways and Edmonds chimed in with two of her own as the Wildcats pushed ahead 18-10.  Two service errors and an Alli Papesh kill had the Flyers within six at 20-14. Kentucky wrapped up the win with six of the final eight points, three, including the match winner, on Morgan kills.

Leave a Reply


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.

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!