No. 5 Kentucky remain undefeated in SEC play following sweep of Arkansas


Kentucky Wildcats setter Emma Grome (4) and middle blocker Azhani Tealer (15) block the ball during UK’s home opener against Northern Iowa on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Kennedy Whitby

No. 5 Kentucky (15-3,) defeated Arkansas (14-6) in five sets on Saturday, finishing off their two game series, continuing UK’s eight match winning-streak in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky hasn’t lost a game against Arkansas since Nov. 2012.

Kentucky started slow in the first set, allowing Arkansas to grab four consecutive points due to errors and two kills assisted by Arkansas’ Gracie Ryan. The Wildcats would wake up, eventually taking a 15-13 lead. UK would not let up, scoring five consecutive points, leading to Arkansas calling their first time out of the game down 18-13. Kentucky won the first set with a final score of 25-19.   

In the second set, Kentucky and Arkansas kept it close, as both teams went blow for blow, leading to a  23-20 lead for Arkansas. Senior Alli Stumler performed a service ace attempting to keep the Cats in the set, but Arkansas eventually won the set 25-21.

Arkansas’ success led over into the third set where they won 25-22. With the game and their undefeated SEC record on the line, Kentucky stepped up and won the fourth set. Azhani Tealer, who had 14 kills on Friday against Arkansas, gave Kentucky its first point of the set. Kentucky and Arkansas continued to stay neck and neck in the set, but Stumler’s five kills propelled UK to a fifth and final set.

The two teams would again go back and forth and found themselves tied at 10. The Razorbacks would land two points, only to be matched by UK. Stulmer would eventually land the match-winning kill, keeping the Cats undefeated SEC record in-tact.

Kentucky ended Saturday’s match with four players in double-digits in the scoring column.

“Tonight we saw a different level of Kentucky volleyball, so that’s our new standard,” Stumler  said.

Kentucky will hit the road next, as they face off against the University of Tennessee on Wednesday, Oct. 27. The match is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. E.T.