Skinner Fuels No. 11 Kentucky to 3-1 Win Over Alabama

  0 Wendy Mayer | October 06th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, SEC


  • No. 11 Kentucky def. Alabama 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20)
  • Kentucky moves to 13-2, 4-0 SEC; Alabama falls to 12-6, 1-4 SEC
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Attendance: 2241
  • Box Score


LEXINGTON, Ky. – On a night honoring the 1997 and 1998 SEC Champion teams, which went undefeated in conference play, the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats moved to 4-0 in league action with a four-set win over Alabama.

Freshman outside hitter Avery Skinner led the way with 19 kills, while senior middle blocker Emily Franklin (14), sophomore outside hitter Leah Edmond (11) and senior middle Kaz Brown (10) also reached double digits. Brown and Franklin chipped in five blocks apiece to pace the team at the net, while Franklin hit at a team-best .444 clip. Edmond served up three of the team’s four aces and added a team-leading 17 digs. Senior libero Ashley Dusek (11) and freshman setter Madison Lilley (11) followed. Lilley rounded out a double-double with 54 assists.

Freshman outside Christine Jarman and senior middle blocker Leah Lawrence turned in 11 kills apiece to lead the Crimson Tide attack. Lawrence hit at a team-high .500 clip, while Jarman notched 10 digs to finish off a double-double. Sophomore outside hitter Mahalia Swink registered eight kills and four blocks, while sophomore middle blocker Hayley McSparin put up a team-best five stuffs. Junior libero Quincey Gary pulled up a match-high 19 digs, followed by freshman defensive specialist Kaylee Thomas (13), Jarman (10) and freshman setter Meghan Neelon (10). Neelon notched a double-double, dishing out 40 assists to go with her dig total.

Kentucky edged Alabama in every statistical category except digs, including a 4-0 lead in aces and a .278 to .180 effort in hitting efficiency. The Wildcats also bested the Crimson Tide in kills (64-50) and blocks (10-8).

The Wildcats got off to a great start with a .412 hitting effort in the opening set in a 25-15 win. Kentucky jumped ahead 10-2 in the set with help from four Skinner putaways. An Edmond ace and another Skinner kill made it a 10-point game at 14-4. UK used a 4-0 run, including two Alabama miscues, to push the margin to 13 at 22-9. The Tide scored six of the next eight, three on Kentucky errors, but a Skinner kill closed out the stanza.

Alabama responded by hitting at a .400 clip in Set 2, committing just two hitting errors in a 25-23 win to even the match. The teams split the first 14 points of Set 2, before the Crimson Tide built a three-point advantage at 14-10 on back-t0-back blocks in a run that also included three Jarman kills. The lead teetered between two and three until a Lawrence putaway made it 23-19 Alabama. Another Lawrence kill made it 24-21, but a Franklin kill and Lilley ace thwarted the first two set-point tries. A Jarman putaway capped the set.

Kentucky capitalized on six Alabama miscues in Set 3, while managing a .344 effort. The Wildcats snapped a 5-all tie with a 7-1 run. An Edmond ace, two blocks and two Alabama miscues aided the rally. UK built the lead to eight at 17-9 with three kills and a block by Franklin and two Skinner putaways. Alabama was within three at 22-19 as Kentucky made six errors and Ginger Periner added two kills. The Wildcats called timeout and wrapped up the win with three of the final five points, all on Skinner kills.

UK grabbed a 12-4 lead in Set 4 as Edmond pounded down four kills and Alabama committed three errors. The Tide scored three in a row, but couldn’t break through, later trailing 17-10. Another 3-0 run, including a kill and a block by Swink, made it 17-13, but that sparked Kentucky to a 7-3 run and a match-point try at 24-16. Four Alabama errors fueled the run. The Crimson Tide stayed alive with kills by Jarman and Lawrence and two UK errors, before Brown clinched the victory with her 10th and final kill.



Courtesy: Kentucky Athletics

Behind a plethora of career-best individual performances, the No. 10 Kentucky volleyball earned a 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20) win over visiting Alabama in front of 2,241 fans in Memorial Coliseum. Senior Emily Franklin, sophomore Leah Edmond and freshman Avery Skinner all produced a career-high number to lead the way for the Wildcats.

With the win, UK remains perfect in Southeastern Conference action and moves to 13-2 on the year and 4-0 against league foes. Alabama falls to 12-6 and 1-4 against SEC opponents.

“Alabama is a young team and has a lot of young players,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “They came to play tonight. Our seniors been playing very well in practice and the last couple of matches. They are very composed and know how to prepare themselves throughout the day prior to matches and it’s showing with their play.”

Franklin came up with the most complete match of her career with highs in both kills (14) and digs (6) to lead the sterling night for the Cats. Franklin was an efficient terminator as well with a .444 attacking percentage. Edmond shined defensively with a career-best 17 digs to couple with 10 kills for her fourth double-double of the year. Skinner amassed a match-high 19 kills, the best of her young career.

“Emily was big time tonight offensively and had a couple of serving runs,” Skinner added on Franklin. “She continues to get better, which is pretty amazing for a fifth-year senior.”

Freshman Madison Lilley know how Franklin helps the rest of the team.

“Emily (Franklin) works so hard, especially in transition,” Lilley said. “It’s really hard to be a middle and get up and kill a ball. She’s amazing at that. It’s really fun playing with a middle like her. You can feel her presence on the floor.”

Lilley turned in another double-double with 54 assists and 11 digs. It’s the seventh time Lilley has topped the 40-assist plateau. She directed the offense to the tune of 64 kills on a .278 attacking clip.

“Madison (Lilley) did a really good job of distributing the ball early and then I was one-on-one the whole time,” Franklin said. “I was able to have really good visualization of the court.”

Senior Kaz Brown added 10 kills and five blocks. Franklin matched her rejection total. Senior Ashley Dusek contributed 11 digs, while junior McKenzie Watson had eight and freshman Gabby Curry five.

Senior Darian Mack continued her high kill numbers tonight with eight on 18 swings, and committed just one error for a .389 attacking clip. Mack recorded four digs and two blocks in the win.

Set 1
Kentucky started the set with 4-0 run, including three kills from Skinner. Alabama called a timeout, and play seesawed out of the break. At 5-2, Kentucky went on a 5-0 run, capped by an attack error and another Crimson Tide timeout. Kentucky jumped out to a 10-point advantage at 14-4, with the help of an Edmond ace and a Skinner kill. Alabama kept the lead at 10 until 19-9, when UK extended its lead to 22-9 after an Edmond kill, a stuff from Brown and Edmond and two attack errors. Alabama cut the lead to 24-15, but UK won on a termination from Skinner. Skinner had six kills on eight attempts, while UK hit .471.

Set 2
The Wildcats grabbed the first point of the set after a ball handling error. UK went up 4-1 after a Big Blue block from Franklin and Edmond, but Bama responded and tied the set. Play seesawed until the Crimson Tide was able to grab a 9-7 advantage. The set rocked back-and-forth once again until 14-11, when the Cats called timeout.  The advantage hovered around three for Alabama until 23-19, where the Cats had two Skinner terminations to trim the lead to 23-21. UK was able to cut the lead to 24-23 with an ace from Lilley, but lost the set 25-23.

Set 3
Alabama earned the first point of the set, but Kentucky immediately responded. Neither team could grab a significant advantage until a five-point run for the Cats started at 6-5 and was the turning point of the stanze. Kentucky went on another run at 13-9 of five points, capped by back-to-back Franklin kills to go up 17-9. Bama got the lead to 19-14 and 20-15, but UK won 25-21 on a termination from Skinner.

Set 4
The Wildcats won the first two points of the set with a Skinner kill and block from Franklin and Skinner. Alabama knotted up the set at 2-2 before UK went on a 8-1 run, capped by an Edmond termination to go up 10-3. The closest Alabama would get would be 24-20, but the Wildcats quickly dispersed of the threat with Brown’s 10th kill of the night.


Courtesy: Alabama Athletics

After dropping the opening set, 15-25, Alabama volleyball rebounded with a 25-23 victory in set two against No. 10 Kentucky to even the match at 1-1, but the Wildcats eventually won sets three and four by scores of 25-21 and 25-20, respectively, to hand the Tide the four-set loss.

Alabama (12-6, 1-4 SEC) hit .400 as a team in the second set against 10th-ranked Kentucky (13-2, 4-0 SEC), winning 25-23, but struggled offensively in the rest of the match with a combined .113 hitting percentage in the remaining three sets. Sophomore Ginger Perinarled the offense with a season-high 14 kills while freshmen Christine Jarman and Meghan Neeloneach earned their fifth double-double of the season. Jarman finished the match with 11 kills and 10 digs while Neelon posted 40 assists and 10 digs.

Kentucky opened the first set with four unanswered points, forcing Alabama to burn an early timeout down 4-0. The Tide spent its second timeout shortly thereafter with the Wildcats doubling its lead to eight points at 10-2. Kentucky eventually pulled ahead by double digits, 14-4, and the Wildcats would hit set point with the same margin, 24-14. Alabama would score a point on a kill from Leah Lawrence in the next rally but Kentucky secured the frame the following point, winning 25-15.

Trailing 4-1 early in set two, Alabama strung together three-straight points to tie the score, doing so three more times before the Tide took its first lead of the match, 8-7, on a Wildcat blocking error. Alabama held its slim lead past the halfway mark, pulling ahead 14-11 on a solo block from Hayley McSparin as Kentucky took its first timeout. The Wildcats second timeout came in the closing stages of the set after a kill from Lawrence pushed the Tide ahead 23-19. Back-to-back points from Kentucky after the break forced Alabama to take its first timeout. The Tide reached set point, 24-21, but the Wildcats stayed alive with consecutive points to cut the lead to 24-23 and force Alabama to burn its second timeout. A Wildcat blocking error on the next point gave the Tide the 25-23 win to even the match at 1-1.

Tied for a fifth time early in set three at 5-5, Kentucky scored five-straight points to take a 10-5 lead and Alabama took its first timeout. Leading by five points again later, 14-9, a Wildcat kill off an overpass increased its lead to six and the Tide took its second timeout now trailing 15-9. Kentucky remained in front by six, 22-16, before Alabama scored three-straight points to cut the lead in half and the Wildcats took its first timeout of the frame. Kentucky would hold on and eventually win set three, 25-21, to take a 2- 1 match lead.

Tied at 2-2 in set four following an overturned call on an Alabama challenge, Kentucky used a 7-1 run to pull ahead 9-3 and the Tide called its first timeout. The Tide called its second timeout trailing 12-4 but cut the deficit to five points with a 4-1 run following the break. A block by McSparin and Mahalia Swink later trimmed the deficit to four points, 17-13, and Kentucky called its first timeout. The Wildcats reached set point, 24-17, and the Tide refused to go down quietly with three-straight points before Kentucky scored a kill to win the set, 25-20, and earn the 3-1 match victory.

The Tide concludes its weekend facing Tennessee (8-6, 1-4 SEC) in Knoxville on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 12:30 p.m. CT.

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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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