- #11 Kentucky def. Auburn 3-1 (25-19, 25-14, 30-32, 25-21)
- #11 Kentucky improves to 14-2 (5-0, SEC); Auburn falls to 11-4 (4-2, SEC)
- Lexington, Kentucky (SEC Match)
- Attendance: 2,095
- Box Score
Lexington, Kentucky – #11 Kentucky took down a highly-rated RPI opponent in Auburn in a four-set battle on Sunday. The win keeps the Wildcats perfect in SEC play, while Auburn now sits at 4-2 in conference action.
It was an overall efficient attack for Kentucky as four players recorded nine or more kills with six at four or more and eight with at least one. The leader in that department was Leah Edmond, who could be on her way to some SEC weekly honors tomorrow after notching 25 kills in just four sets of action while hitting .438. She also added eight digs and three blocks.
Emily Franklin tacked on 12 kills while hitting .476 and six blocks as setter Madison Lilley posted 50 assists, 12 digs, four blocks and four kills as well for Kentucky. Brenna McIlroy (12 kills, .206, seven digs, three aces) and Shaina White (11 kills, .409, three blocks) led an Auburn offense with four in double-digits for kills, but the defense of Kentucky was still able to contain the attack behind libero Ashley Dusek (match-high 18 digs).
Set one was all Kentucky early and often as they jumped in front 8-1 and never looked back, taking the lead all the way for a 25-19 first set victory. That was similar to the second set as Kentucky scored the first three and again went coast-to-coast with the lead for a 2-0 set edge.
In set three, Auburn still couldn’t grab their first lead early, but hung around until the middle of the set when they finally nabbed it at 14-13. In fact, that was part of a 9-2 Auburn run that would push their lead to 20-15 until Kentucky scored six straight. From there, the two teams would trade points and head well into extras. At 30-29 Kentucky, a flurry of three straight McIlroy kills switched control and gave Auburn the wild set 32-30.
The Wildcats got off to their usual hot start in the fourth with the first three points and eventually a 10-4 advantage. This time Auburn came back to take the lead at 17-16, but Kentucky garnered nine of the final 13 points to take the set and match in four.
Kentucky went on to hit .361 as a team in the victory compared to just .183 from Auburn. It wasn’t the only team stat total in the Wildcats favor, as they logged more digs (69-58) and blocks (12.5-7) while the Tigers had more aces (5-1).
Moving forward, Kentucky starts next week at home with Texas A&M before one of the biggest SEC matches of the season when they take on Florida in Gainesville next Sunday. Auburn on the other hand gets set for a home match with LSU followed by a road meeting in College Station with Texas A&M.
Courtesy of Kentucky:
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 10 Kentucky volleyball team prevailed in four sets (25-19, 25-14, 30-32, 25-21) over visiting Auburn on Sunday in front of 2,095 fans inside Memorial Coliseum. Sophomore outside hitter Leah Edmond blasted 25 kills on a .438 hitting percentage to lead the way for the Wildcats. The kill total was one off her career high.
With the win, Kentucky moves to 14-2 overall on the season and 5-0 in Southeastern Conference play. Auburn falls to 11-4 and 4-2 in league competition. UK remains at home for a date with Texas A&M on Wednesday. First serve is set for 8 p.m. ET and the match will air live on the SEC Network.
“We expected Auburn to give us a great match,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “Although you get up 2-0 like that in pretty dominating fashion, it is just never over in our sport. You just have to keep battling. I told the team before the fourth set, ‘great job fighting back after being down 20-15 in the third.’ I’m proud of the fight and the effort.”
Edmond paved the way for the Wildcats, but consistency continues to be the x-factor for UK. Freshman
Madison Lilley registered her second double-double in as many matches with 50 assists and 12 digs. Lilley now has seven double-doubles this season. Lilley helped Kentucky’s offense tally 66 kills on a .361 hitting percentage, while UK limited Auburn to a .183 attacking clip. The Tigers hit negative during the second stanza.
“I just completely forgot about Friday’s game,” Edmond said. “Today was a new game and a new opportunity. So I just focused on the basics, like swinging high and getting my feet to the ball. It worked out for me.”
Senior Emily Franklin followed a breakout performance on Friday with 12 more kills on .476 hitting and a match-high six blocks against the Tigers. Franklin had 26 kills in both matches this weekend and 11 total blocks. Senior Kaz Brown added nine kills on .444 hitting and tied Franklin with six blocks.
“The chemistry is really good and we’re really lucky that, regardless of the age or position, we’re all really close,” Brown said. “You can see that when we’re playing and it’s really something special to be a part of.”
Freshman Avery Skinner had nine kills, four blocks and three digs. Senior Darian Mack chipped in with five kills, while junior Brooke Morgan and junior McKenzie Watson each logged a kill. Watson’s was the first of the season and third of her career.
Defensively, senior Ashley Dusek produced a team-high 18 digs. Freshman Gabby Curry had an SEC-high 15 scoops. Junior McKenzie Watson logged nine, while Edmond chipped in with eight.
Kentucky’s offense tallied 66 kills on a .361 hitting percentage, while UK limited Auburn to a .183 attacking clip. The Tigers hit negative during the second stanza.
Kentucky grabbed the first three points of the set after kills from Franklin and Edmond and a block from Brown and Edmond. UK ended up starting on an 8-1 run. Auburn cut the lead to 9-5, but UK had two points on a service error and Franklin kill to up 11-5. Play seesawed until the Cats went up 16-8 after an Edmond termination. At 17-11, Watson showed her hustle and earned her first kill of the season and third of her career. The Tigers got the lead down to 18-14, forcing a UK timeout. Kentucky pushed the advantage back to 21-15 after a triple Big Blue Block from Skinner, Mack and Franklin. Play would rock back-and-forth until UK won 25-19 on a service error.
The Wildcats started the set on a four-point run, capped by an Edmond termination. Auburn responded with two points, and then play seesawed. Kentucky extended its lead to 9-4 with a block from Skinner and Brown. Kentucky went up 13-6 after a kills from Lilley and Franklin. Auburn got the lead down 14-9. But UK pushed back with a four-point run, capped by a Franklin ace take a 18-9 advantage. Kentucky went on a 4-1 run to go up 24-13 and won with a kill from Lilley.
Kentucky won the first point in what would be a back-and-forth set with a kill from Franklin. UK would go up 3-1 with a termination from Brown. Auburn tied the set at 3-3, but UK went 5-3 after a block from Brown and Skinner. Play seesawed until Auburn went on a four point run at 13-11, to take a 15-13 advantage. Auburn would go up 20-15, but a six point swing, gabbed by an attacking error, would give Kentucky a 21-20 advantage. The Tigers earned the lead at 22-21. Neither team took a significant advantage until UK went up 25-24 for match point after a block from Brown and Lilley. Auburn survived match point. UK had match point at 29-28 and 30-29, but Auburn would rattle off three-straight points to win 32-30.
Kentucky took the first three points of the set after two kills from Franklin and a kill from Edmond. Play would then rock back-and-forth until 6-4, when UK rattled off four straight points. Franklin grabbed two blocks and Lilley one in the run. After trading points, Auburn put up five-straight points to pull within one at 11-10. Auburn took the lead at 14-13. Auburn would have the lead again at 17-16, but UK would put up four-straight points, capped by a Skinner hammer, and not look back. Kentucky won the set 25-21 after a Brown kill, helped by Lilley.
Follow along with the Cats on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.
Courtesy of Auburn:
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Auburn volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (25-19, 25-14, 30-32, 25-21) match at No. 10 Kentucky Sunday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum. The Tigers fell to 11-4 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference action.
“We came out very tentative in the first two sets and allowed them to play in system,” head coach Rick Nold said. “We picked up our momentum in the third and put Kentucky on their heels. Both teams played very well in the final two sets and it’s just one of those things where we need to be better at extending matches at the end.”
Senior libero Jesse Earl had another solid performance in the back row for the Tigers, having a match-high 23 digs. It marked her sixth in the last seven matches with 20+ digs. Freshman Payton White joined her in double-digit digs, having 10 on the day.
Four Tigers finished with double-digit kills in the match. Junior Brenna McIlroy totaled 12, while sophomore Shaina White and freshman Anna Stevenson had 11 each. Senior Courtney Crablechipped in 10 for Auburn. Senior setter Alexa Filley finished with 45 assists and nine digs.
Stevenson led the squad defensively at the net, having four blocks. S. White followed with three and Crable and Gwyn Jones each had two. McIlroy led all student-athletes with a season-best three service aces, while Earl added a pair.
Kentucky (14-2, 5-0 SEC) was led by Leah Edmond with 25 kills. Emily Franklin had 12 and setter Madison Lilley finished with a double-double – 50 assists and 12 digs. Libero Ashley Dusek led the team with 18 digs.
The Wildcats came out with momentum and took a quick 8-1 lead to start the first, forcing an early Auburn timeout. The Tigers responded with a pair of kills by Crable followed by an ace from McIlroy, making it 9-5. UK, however, held its lead from the start and pushed to a 25-19 victory.
Kentucky went up at 4-0 in set two and used a pair of runs, pushing a Tiger timeout leading 11-5. Another long rally for UK made it 18-9 and the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-14 win.
After a back-and-forth start to the third, the Tigers captured their first lead of the match as a kill from Crable sent AU on a four-point run, 15-13. More kills by Crable made it 18-14 and a Wildcat error forced a UK timeout, 20-15. The home squad regrouped and inched back into the set, making it 22-all. A kill from S. White gave Auburn its first set point, 24-23, but the teams exchanged points and leads in a thrilling end of the set. Finally, a pair of McIlroy kills forced a fourth with Auburn winning 32-30.
The Wildcats pushed an early 10-4 lead with the help of a four-point run, but Auburn responded with a rally of its own highlighted by a trio of blocks and a pair of kills from Stevenson, 11-10 UK. The Wildcats pulled away with a three-point lead, 20-17, and held on to take the match, 25-
Auburn returns to action next weekend first hosting LSU Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. CT in Auburn Arena Admission is free for the event. The Tigers then head to the state of Texas to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M, Oct. 15, at 1:30 p.m. CT.