Wildcats pick up tenth win
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 22 Kentucky volleyball team earned another league sweep after taking down Alabama, 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 15-17) on Sunday. UK has now won 14-of-15 matches against league competition and remains tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference.
The win pushes Kentucky's record to 17-5 overall and 10-1 in league play. Alabama drops to 15-9 and 4-7 in the SEC.
"We try and spend an equal time on offense and defense in practice," head coach Craig Skinner said. "When we're effective with both during matches it gives us a great chance to be successful and today was no different."
Kentucky held Alabama to a .071 attacking clip, while allowing just 30 kills. UK recorded 10 total blocks in the match, with junior Kaz Brown, junior Darian Mack and junior Emily Franklin pacing the Wildcats with three blocks each. Two Wildcats - junior Ashley Dusek (18) and sophomore Olivia Dailey (11) - both picked up double-digit digs.
Along with her 11 digs, Dailey produced 35 assists, helping the Wildcats hit at a .311 attacking clip. The Trussville, Alabama native picked up her second career double-double in front of her hometown crowd.
On offense, UK was balanced in its attack. Brown and Mack led the way with 10 kills each. Brown, who previously had a night where she hit .800, stayed hot and hit for a scorching .769 attacking clip. No player before Brown had hit above .800 since 2014.
Two Wildcats - senior Anni Thomasson and Dailey - picked up a service ace during the contest. With her one ace, Thomasson tied the 25-point rally era service record of 98 aces.
"Anni is a gamer who takes serving seriously," Skinner said. "She's one of the best servers I have ever coached and it shows on the floor."
UK will stay in the state of Alabama when it returns to action on Friday when UK faces Auburn at the Auburn Arena. First serve is set for 8 p.m.
Set 1 Thomasson started the match off with a service ace to give UK an early 1-0 lead. After a kill by Leah Edmond gave UK the early 2-0 advantage, Bama responded to tie the set at 2-2. UK rattled off four-straight points, which included a Sharay Barnes kill, to go up 6-2. After Alabama pulled within one at 7-6, UK put up three straight capped by an Edmond service ace to force a Crimson Tide timeout. Out of the timeout, UK outscored the Crimson Tide 3-1 and forced Alabama to use its second timeout. After that timeout, Alabama responded with five-straight points to make the set 13-12. Kentucky would respond and allow just six more Alabama points to be scored. UK took the set, 25-19, on an attacking error.
Set 2 The second set also started with a UK point, this time form an attack error. After Alabama took a 5-4 early lead, Alabama allowed UK to ties the lead with a service error and the Wildcats did not look back. UK went on a spectacular 13-2 run that was capped by a Dailey service ace to give UK a 19-8 advantage. Alabama was able to score six points, but Dailey picked up the final kill after meeting Alabama at the net.
Set 3 UK started the third set on a 3-0 run which included two kills from Edmond. The set went back-and-forth until the Wildcats rattled off another 3-0 run with two kills from Mack to give UK a 10-5 lead and force an Alabama timeout. After a kill from Mack made the match 12-6, Alabama went on a 7-1 run to cut the UK advantage to 13-12. Alabama took the lead at 14-13, and UK responded with four-straight points to grab a 17-14 lead capped by a Brown kill. Alabama was unable to respond from that run and Brown won the match for UK with a kill.
BY THE NUMBERS
.071 - Alabama's offensive attacking percentage
.769 - Hitting percentage of Kaz Brown
2 - Career double-doubles for Olivia Dailey
10 - Kills from Darian Mack