Kentucky's season falls short with loss to San Diego
PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Kentucky Volleyball team's season ended Thursday night with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-18) loss to (2) San Diego inside Maples Pavilion in Palo, Alto, California in the regional round of the 2022 NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
UK's offense was held to just .127 hitting on the night, as the Toreros hit .327 on the night with only 15 hitting errors in the match. Adanna Rollins had 11 kills in the match to lead all UK players, as she also tallied four blocks and four digs in the contest.
Azhani Tealer logged a team-high seven blocks in Thursday night's affair, alongside six kills, and two digs in the contest. The Wildcats as a team had 22 errors in the match, one of its highest for the 2022 season.
Kentucky's season concludes with a 22-8 overall record, winning its sixth-straight Southeastern Conference championship thanks to a 15-3 SEC record. The Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament for the 18th-straight season under the direction of head coach Craig Skinner, and won 20+ games for the 12th-straight year.
San Diego with the win advances into Saturday night's Palo Alto Regional final, where it will play the winner of (1) Stanford and (5) Houston at 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU for a spot in the Final Four. San Diego is now 30-1 on the season and won the West Coast Conference with a perfect 18-0 season in the league.
Maddie Berezowitz, who is majoring in finance, will graduate from UK soon and will not return for her fifth year, as Thursday night was her final appearance in a Kentucky uniform. Azhani Tealer previously announced she will be coming back for a fifth year in 2023. Other senior decisions will be announced at a later date.
An Azhani Tealer sideout started the match for Kentucky as UK began the frame with a 1-0 lead and that grew to a 10-7 lead on an out-of-system swing from Erin Lamb on the left pin to give UK the three-point edge in the contest. USD then followed with a 7-2 run to take a 17-12 lead as the Wildcats struggled to sideout and had three hitting errors in the spirt to give the Toreros the five-point edge. After Kentucky closed the gap to two at 18-16, USD went on a two-point run to re-engage a four-point lead at 20-16 and UK called its first timeout of the match. A stuff block by Reagan Rutherford and Azhani Tealer pushed Kentucky back into the set, as it found itself down three after trailing 22-17, and now 22-19 that prompted a San Diego timeout. USD sided out down the stretch to take the opening set, 25-22. Kentucky was held to .122 hitting in the first set with only two players eclipsing three kills, led by Rutherford's four. USD hit .231 with five kills from Breana Edwards leading the pack.
San Diego sparked itself to a 10-5 lead in the second set and Kentucky was forced into an early timeout after USD went on a 4-0 scoring run and UK was hitting -.083 in the frame looking to cling to a breath of life in the set. San Diego extended its lead to six points at 12-16 as the Wildcats were all out of sorts and Craig Skinner called a halt to play following an attack error. UK then picked up the pieces a bit and brought the Torero lead down to two points at 18-16, but back-to-back attack errors, one on each pin, gave USD a 20-16 lead and the Wildcats burned their final timeout of the set down four with nine points to reach the finish line. USD closed the set on a 5-0 run and took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-19 second-set win.
The third set was similar to the opening two with Kentucky hanging around in the early point, but a 4-0 Torero run put USD up 11-7 in the frame and forced UK into an early timeout with its back against the wall. USD then closed out the match with a 25-18 final set.