OMAHA, Neb. - The No. 13 Kentucky volleyball team suffered its first defeat of the season after falling 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-20) to No. 7 Creighton inside the D.J. Sokol Arena on Friday night.
With the loss, UK falls to 3-1 while Creighton improves to 4-0.
The Wildcats are back in action with two matches tomorrow to finish the Bluejay Invitational. UK will face Northern Iowa at 11 a.m. ET and Southern California at 7 p.m. ET.
"We gave ourselves chances at the end of set two and we had a lot of kills," head coach Craig Skinner said. "Creighton caused us some problems and I think as we grow as a team over the next several weeks this will be a great match to pull from to figure out how we can keep getting better."
Sophomore Leah Edmond led the way with 18 kills on 37 swings. Edmond also added 11 digs for her first double-double of the season. Freshman Avery Skinner had a breakout match, putting up 14 kills on 30 swings. She earned career-bests in kills and attacking percentage at .367. Senior Emily Franklin chipped in six kills, while senior Kaz Brown had four. Also recording kills were junior Brooke Morgan with two and senior Darian Mack with one.
"Impressive performance from Avery (Skinner) to come out of her shell and get a little more comfortable," Skinner added. We saw her hit the shots we've seen her hit in practice and it was a great springboard opportunity for her."
Freshman Madison Lilley put up 40 assists for the second time in her young career. She also added four digs and assisted on a block.
Defensively, freshman Gabby Curry had her fourth double-digit dig total after posting 14. Junior Merideth Jewell chipped in with seven scoops while McKenzie Watson had two of her own.
Kentucky served to start the match and earned a point on a Darian Mack kill with an assist from Lilley. Play went back-and-fourth until Creighton earned a small 7-4 lead. Kentucky cut the lead to one with back-to-back kills from Skinner. CU held its two point advantage until rattling off four straight points to extend its advantage to 14-10 and forced a UK timeout. Skinner went back-to-back again to make it 17-15 and the Bluejay advantage held at two until UK was forced to call time at 22-18. Kentucky was able to record two more points before the Bluejays won the set, 25-20. Edmond posted seven kills on 15 swings in the first set and Lilley put up 15 assists.
Despite a challenge from Skinner, Creighton took the two points of the set. UK got on the board after a CU ball handling error. UK went down 4-1 before an error and a Brown and Lilley block cut the lead to one. Play seesawed until CU put up three straight points to go ahead 11-6 and forced a Kentucky timeout. Franklin earned a kill out of the timeout. The Bluejays maintained their advantage and even extended it to 19-13 before a service error and a Jewell ace helped kill the run and get the score to 19-15. After a Creighton point, UK earned three straight points to make it 20-18, forcing a Creighton timeout. Both teams traded points until a Watson ace brought UK within one at 21-20. Play seesawed once again until Kentucky tied the match at 23-23 with a Skinner termination. Edmond forced 24-24 before Creighton won the second set 26-24. Edmond led the way with five kills on 10 swings, while Curry posted five digs.
Creighton earned the first point of the match but Brown responded immediately to even the score. Neither team could grab an advantage until Franklin and Skinner earned UK a 6-4 lead. Creighton tied it at 6-6 and each team answered each other until 11-11. Back-to-back Skinner kills put UK up two but Creighton responded and took the lead at 15-14. A three-point run forced a Kentucky timeout and gave CU a 19-16 lead. Edmond single handedly stopped the run with a kill and solo block to bring the Cats within one at 19-18. Creighton extended its lead at 21-18 and Kentucky used a timeout. The Wildcats were able to manage two more points after Brown and Edmond kills but CU won the set, 25-20. The Wildcats hit .333 in the third set with Edmond and Skinner each posting six kills.
BY THE NUMBERS
9 - Career double-doubles for Leah Edmond
2 - Number of career 40+ assist games for Madison Lilley
2 - Career highs set by Avery Skinner (kills, attack percentage)