No. 7 Kentucky opens SEC play with 3-0 sweep against Missouri


Kentucky celebrates after scoring a point during the University of Kentucky vs. Missouri volleyball game on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Trinity Bratchett

No. 7 Kentucky volleyball came out on top in one of their toughest matches of the season, sweeping Missouri 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-22) in their first conference game of the season.  

The Wildcats trailed late in all three sets, finding ways to win each time. Azhani Tealer had 14 kills while hitting at .571, Madi Skinner had 12 kills, and Emma Gromne had 41 assists. The Wildcats as a whole hit at .306 while Missouri hit at just .165. 

Missouri started off set one leading the Cats, forcing Kentucky into a timeout, leading 13-7. The Wildcats fought hard, but had to call yet another timeout once the Tigers held a lead of seven points.  

Kentucky would cut the lead down to three points before a kill from Elise Goetzinger tied the set at 24-24. Goetzinger had two big kills which gave Kentucky another set point and a match point, winning the set 27-25. 

The Wildcats began set two with force. Leading 13-8, Missouri had to take a timeout. Kentucky then stretched their lead, bringing the score 18-12. However, Missouri went on a 6 point scoring run and tied the game 18-18.  

Missouri faltered with a service error late in the set which gave Kentucky a 24-23 lead. A kill by Tealer gave the Wildcats the match point, putting them up 2-0. 

Set three was rocky for the Wildcats. Missouri took an early lead of 13-11, yet, Kentucky continued to fight. After going on a 7-0 run, which included two kills by Tealer and Alli Stumler, the Wildcats took a lead of their own. A block from Grome gave the Cats the set point, and a block solo by Skinner won the Cats the set 25-22 and the match by a clean sweep of 3-0. 

While trailing late in all three sets, the Cats showed resilience.  

“We talked about making game changing plays all the time, and we made game changing plays at the right time, UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “It’s reassuring to know that when we need something we can make a play.”  

Next up, the Wildcats are headed to Oxford, Miss. to battle the Ole Miss Rebels on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The match will be broadcasted at 7 p.m. E.T. on SEC Network+.