No. 8 Kentucky defeats No. 16 Stanford in five sets


The Wildcats celebrate during UK volleyball’s game against Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Trinity Bratchett

Following a devastating loss to rival Louisville, No. 8 Kentucky volleyball bounced back against the No.16 Stanford Cardinal on Sunday afternoon, winning three sets to two (25-20, 25-20,25-19, 25-22, 15-10) at home in Memorial Coliseum. 

Three Cats recorded career-highs on Sunday. Madi Skinner is continuing her dominant season, finishing with a career-high of 24 kills. Azhani Tealer tied her career-high with 18 kills and Emma Grome’s 58 assists are a personal best. 

Stanford began the first set with a quick lead, eventually getting ahead of UK 13-6. Kentucky tried hard to cut the deficit, but failed, and took another timeout while trailing 19-11. Gaining some momentum, the Wildcats went on a 4-0 scoring run, which forced Stanford to take a timeout. However, the scoring run was not enough to put the Cats on top. Stanford took set one 25-20. 

Set two stayed at a steady pace until the Cats went on a 6-2 run, a crucial kill from Skinner put her team up 19-16, and forced the Cardinals to call a timeout. Two more kills from Skinner forced the Cardinals to call yet another timeout after trailing 22-18. A kill from Reagan Rutherford earned the set point and an attack error from Stanford won Kentucky the set 25-20. 

Set three began similar to the second, as the two teams were tied 18-18. Kentucky went on a 5-0 run thanks to the help of three errors by Stanford. An ace by Alli Stumler gave Kentucky the set point, and an error from Stanford scored them the match point. Kentucky ended on a 9-1 run and won the set 25-19. 

The Wildcats would continue their form into set four, grabbing an early lead. Stanford fought back and tied the set 15-15. The two teams would go back and forth, but Stanford gained the set point and won 25-22, sending the match into a fifth and final set. 

 Kentucky began set five with a scoring run and were up 4-2. However, Stanford quickly answered and went on a 4-0 scoring run. Kentucky went on a 3-0 run yet again and two kills from Stumler forced Stanford into a timeout. By then the Cats were leading the Cardinals 12-9. Skinner would come through in the clutch, as her three consecutive kills is exactly what the Cats needed to finish off the Cardinals 15-10 in set five.  

Kentucky notched a much needed ranked victory against a talented Stanford team, preparing them for the upcoming SEC schedule. 

The Wildcats are staying home for their SEC opener, facing the Missouri Tigers this Friday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. E.T. The game will air on SEC Network.