LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind one of the best serving performances of the season the No. 10 Kentucky volleyball program rolled to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-13) sweep of visiting LSU on Sunday. UK racked up nine aces which led to a balanced offensive attack in the win.
Kentucky improves to 11-2 on the year and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference action. LSU falls to 10-3 on the season and 1-1 in league play. Kentucky will have a week off before traveling to Mississippi State on Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
"I'm pleased we sustained it throughout the match," head coach Craig Skinner said. "Hitting that type of number throughout an entire match is good. Zero hitting errors in the third set is an impressive stat, so a lot of credit to Madison (Lilley) for distributing the ball to the right people at the right time and credit our hitter for hitting the right shots."
Freshman Madison Lilley and sophomore Leah Edmond both tallied three aces in the win, while senior Emily Franklin chipped in with a pair. Junior McKenzie Watson was the fourth player to register an ace in the victory.
Lilley directed UK's offense to the tune of 49 kills on .524 hitting - just off its season-high of .548 which it achieved against Loyola (Chicago) earlier this month. She had a pair of kills and five digs. Balance was the key to UK's victory as eight different players logged at least one kill.
Freshman Avery Skinner and Edmond both had a match-high 10 kills. Seniors Kaz Brown and Darian Mack both contributed nine. It was one off of Mack's season high. Brown hit a blistering .818, easily the best hitting percentage of her career with at least 10 attempts. Franklin added five kills on a .444 attacking clip, while junior Anna Nyberg had three and freshman Jordan Fry chipped in with one.
"I think we were really efficient behind the setter," Brown said. "That helped a lot. The connection with Madison and I is getting better every time we play and that's a big factor. We were passing really well, so I have to give a lot of credit to our back row players because when they pass the ball well, we have every option and our offense is efficient. They did an awesome job today."
UK won the battle at the net defensively with a 7-3 advantage in blocks. Franklin and Edmond paced that category with four rejections a piece. Brown and Mack added three. Senior Ashley Dusek once again led the backline defensive effort with a match-high 10 digs. Edmond contributed eight, while Lilley had five. Freshman Gabby Curry and Watson both tallied three apiece.
Kentucky earned the first two points of the set with a Lilley ace and a Skinner kill. LSU tied the match at 2-2. UK answered with kills from Mack and Edmond, both assisted by Lilley, to go up 4-2. Kentucky got up 6-3 after another ace, this one from Franklin. After LSU tied the frame at 7-7, the Wildcats went on a four-point run to go up 11-7. LSU was able to tie the set at 12-12. Neither team could grab a significant advantage until the Cats went up 18-16 after a service error and a ball handing error. LSU was able to tie the frame at 20-20, but UK gained a three-point lead at 24-21 on an Edmond kill. Mack clinched the set victory at 25-22.
UK won the first two points of the set with kills from Skinner and Mack. After LSU scored on a kill of its own, UK got two more after a Skinner termination and a block from the Franklin-Edmond duo. Kentucky went on a five-point run, capped by three straight Edmond hammers to take an 8-2 advantage. LSU got the lead down to 9-6, before three straight points forced the Tigers to call timeout. The Cats went on a 7-2 run, capped by a Big Blue block from Mack and Franklin, to go up 19-8. LSU was able to cut the lead to 23-16, but Kentucky won the frame on a block from Brown and Edmond and a Lilley kill, 25-16.
A stuff started the set for the Cats by Franklin and Mack. LSU took a 2-1 and 3-2 advantage, but UK would roll to a sweep sparked by a service error from the Tigers to knot things at three. UK went up 5-4 after a Mack hammer and would not give up the lead. Edmond's ace forced an LSU timeout at 10-5. Out of the break, Edmond put up a kill to take an 11-5 advantage. The Tigers called timeout at 17-9, and UK got up 22-10 after an ace from Watson.