UK volleyball continued to roll through its SEC schedule with a four-set victory over Auburn (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17) in front of 1,448 in Memorial Coliseum.
Junior Whitney Billings earned her third consecutive double-double with 19 kills and 15 digs. Junior Alexandra Morgan broke out with a career-high 15 kills and senior Ashley Frazier added 10 kills. Senior Christine Hartmann dished out 45 assists and added 12 digs.
“I felt like Auburn out-scrapped us for a lot of the match, but we ended up with more digs than they did so you got to rely on your defense,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “We have to make sure we are ready to go each time. Sometimes you win differently, and this was another way we won differently.”
The first set saw a dominating Cats offense that was suddenly cooled off by the Tigers’ defense. UK began with seven of its first 11 points as kills, but after taking a 20-13 lead, ran into a stiff defense full of blocks.
Though earning 13 kills, the Cats hit .100 on the attack for the set, including nine errors. The Cats won the set 25-23 but Auburn left content, showing energy and life at the end.
Auburn’s stifling defense continued through the second set as UK hit .171 while Auburn dug out 20 attempts by the Cats. Only Billings, with six of the Cats’ 13 kills, showed any consistency offensively. UK also had five unforced service errors in the set (13 throughout the match).
Billings’ hot streak continued in the third set with seven kills in that set alone. She was not alone as Morgan added five kills and Frazier placed four as UK earned 18 kills as a team in the set. The defense added five blocks and totaled 15 blocks for the match. Also key were 76 digs for the Cats, superior to Auburn’s 72. Along with Billings and Hartmann, senior libero Stephanie Klefot dug out 17 hits while sophomore Jackie Napper added 13 digs.
UK’s record moves to 9-6 overall and 3-2 in the conference while Auburn falls to 12-4 overall and 3-3 in the SEC.
Next up for the Cats is a conference matchup in Oxford, Miss., against the Ole Miss Rebels at 8 p.m. Friday.