MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - Sophomore outside Madi Skinner had a career-high tying 16 kills Saturday night as the No. 8 Kentucky Volleyball team swept Marquette in Milwaukee to improve to 6-2 on the season in a 3-0 (25-21, 30-28, 26-24) win over the Golden Eagles.
All three sets were close, competitive and scrappy as the Kentucky offense hit .310 for the match and Marquette hit .242 with Alli Stumler joining Skinner in double-figures scoring with 10 kills and adding in eight digs.
Freshman setter Emma Grome earned her first-career double-double Saturday night with 41 assists and 12 digs. Grome's 41 assists are a new career high, along with her 12 digs. The Loveland, Ohio native now has 30-plus assists in seven of UK's eight matches this season.
Both Reagan Rutherford and Azhani Tealer had eight kills for Kentucky and Elise Goetzinger had seven as the Wildcats had five players with 7+ kills in the match, the most of any single three-set match this season.
UK will take the rest of the weekend off to prepare for the annual "Battle of the Bluegrass" against the Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday night in the Derby City. The match will begin at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted live on the ACC Network and the ESPN app.
The first run of major consequence in the first set went UK's way as a kill from Skinner on the left was followed by two on the right side by Reagan Rutherford and Kentucky led 11-8 to force Marquette into a timeout. The run stretched three more points after the timeout thanks to a Tealer block and an Alli Stumler kill to make it 14-8 before MU sided out to end the run at 7-0 in Kentucky's favor. After leading by as many as six points, MU crept back into the set with a 3-0 run to cut the UK lead to 18-16 and Kentucky called its first timeout. Craig Skinner won a huge challenge to make what would have been a one-point lead remain strong and kept UK's lead at 19-16. MU closed to within one at 20-19 but a quick 2-0 run by the Wildcats prompted a timeout by MU with UK at 22-19 and three points from the finish line of the set. An ace from Alli Stumler ended the set with Kentucky taking the opener, 25-21.
Craig Skinner had to use another challenge early in the second set, winning his second in two tries as Kentucky evened up the second at 2-2. A 3-0 run off the serving of Lauren Tharp put Kentucky up by four at 13-9 and a kill from Alli Stumler on the left pin made Marquette call their first timeout. Stumler had six kills at that point in the match, only trailing Skinner's eight for Kentucky. What was a four-point lead was cut to one after a pair of Golden Eagle kills and an attack error for UK and the Wildcats called a timeout leading, 16-15. Marquette tied the set on the ensuing point and the set would go back and forth all the way until a 3-0 Golden Eagle run made it 23-21 MU and the Wildcats burned their final timeout. Marquette had a 24-21 lead after a UK miscue and Kentucky was able to fend off three set points as a Skinner kill off the block tied the frame at 24-24. Marquette then lost the next point on an Elite Goetzinger block and UK had its first set point at 25-24. The two would go back and fourth for the next nine points with UK earning three set points and MU having their fourth and fifth changes to take the set, but all were unsuccessful before a Golden Eagle attack error ended the set and a challenge review confirmed the call.
Marquette held the lead for the early stanza of the third set, but never reached more than a two-point cushion at 9-7 for the Eagles' most lethal lead. After trailing for the entire set, but never by more than two points, Kentucky got a kill from Skinner on the left side out of system for her career-high tying 16th termination of the match and that knotted things up at 20-20, forcing MU into their first timeout. Out of the timeout, MU won back-to-back points on Kentucky attack errors and the Wildcats were forced into their first timeout. Kentucky came right back and won three-straight points to take their first lead since it was 2-1 and led 23-22 as MU called their final halt to play. An Azhani Tealer kill from the middle of the court on UK's second match point ended the match and locked up the road sweep for the Wildcats in Milwaukee.
Follow along with the Wildcats on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.