UK volleyball swept by Missouri on senior day

By Kyle Arensdorf
sports@kykernel.com

It was a day of mixed emotions on Sunday as the UK volleyball team suffered a 15-25, 20-25, 16-25 sweep at the hands of No. 4 University of Missouri on the Cats’ senior day.

The match was preceded by a ceremony for the four UK seniors Whitney Billings, Alexandra Morgan, Jessi Greenberg and Desirre’ Wilkerson.

Kentucky Wildcats senior Alexandra Morgan (2) celebrates senior night before the UK Women's Volleyball game versus Missouri at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, November 24, 2013. Photo by Caleb Gregg | Staff

Kentucky Wildcats senior Alexandra Morgan (2) celebrates senior night before the UK Women’s Volleyball game versus Missouri at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, November 24, 2013. Photo by Caleb Gregg | Staff

A large TV screen showed highlights from all four seniors throughout their careers. As the video drew to a close, the players were escorted by their families to the center of the court to receive recognition from UK head coach Craig Skinner.

“It was a great celebration of four players that have made a huge impact on this program,” Skinner said. “I don’t know the numbers, but they were able to be successful in many matches in their careers and make a huge impact. They were a pleasure to coach every day.”

After the ceremonies, the game commenced as Missouri was looking to maintain its perfect 31-0 overall record.

“Not a ton of positives (from the match) today,” Skinner said. “The seniors that were in the match were fighting, but just not executing at the level that we needed them to.”

Mistakes hindered the Cats throughout the set and with an errant hit by sophomore middle blocker Sara Schwarzwalder, Missouri took the first set, 25-15. Missouri freshman Carly Kan led the way for her team 15 kills in the set.

The Cats held a number of small leads in the second set, and found themselves within one point on Missouri, 17-18.  The effort was short-lived, as Missouri went on a 7-3 run to seize the second set.

After two sets, Kan and Missouri senior outside hitter Lisa Henning had garnered double-digit kills, 11 and 10, respectively.

“(Kan and Henning) are very smart players and you have to have a game plan of what you want to do and they were able to do the opposite today,” Skinner said.

The Cats lost the final set, 16-25, behind more kills from Henning. She finished the game with 17 total.

“I feel like we laid down in the third (set),” Billings said. “I thought we could have brought more effort. We could have brought more everything.”

The Cats have a short break before they play the final match of the regular season in Memorial Coliseum against No. 5 University of Florida at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.