UK volleyball falls 3-2 to Louisville in second ranked loss


Kentucky Wildcats outside hitter Madi Skinner (2) celebrates with her team 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

Jaron Centers

The Cardinals have defeated Kentucky for the first time since 2012.

No. 8 UK volleyball (6-3) fell to Louisville 3-2 (9-0) on the road Wednesday in three sets (25-17, 20-25, 22-25, 25-20, 9-15). Senior Alli Stumler led the ‘Cats with 20 kills and 15 digs. Louisville’s Claire Chaussee finished with 18 kills, four digs, and two blocks.

The ‘Cats came into tonight’s match fresh off a 3-0 win over Marquette, bouncing back following a tough loss at No. 2 Wisconsin 1-3. Louisville was also coming off a sweep against Xavier, sought to remain undefeated on the season. 

The Cats came out aggressive to start the first set, taking the victory 25-17. Sophomore Madi Skinner led with seven kills, three digs and a block. UK had 15 kills on 33 attack attempts in total through one set.

In the second set, the ‘Cards responded as UK struggled to gain momentum. The two rival schools kept the score tight throughout, but nine attack errors would give UL the edge, taking the second set 25-20. Both UK and UL scored 15 kills, but the ‘Cards nearly tripled the ‘Cats hitting percentage at .433%.

The ‘Cards kept the momentum into the third set, taking an early 8-2 lead. UL kept a comfortable lead throughout the set, as a comeback rally from UK wasn’t enough to get the lead. The ‘Cats fell again 25-22, as UL’s Anna DeBeer halted a comeback attempt with a set-ending kill. 

With the match on the line, UK responded with a 25-20 victory to take the fourth set. The ‘Cats would not be denied, with only one lead change the entire set. UK played motivated, nearly doubling UL in kills 14-8. Alli Stumler led all players with 19 kills going into the fifth set. 

The fifth set of action proved short, as errors on the offensive end were the nail in the coffin for the ‘Cats. Eight attack errors and a hitting percentage of -.80 prevented any comeback attempt in the final moments of the set. UL took the fifth set 15-9 to defend home court — sending the ‘Cats home with their third loss of the season. 

Three Cardinals found themselves in double-figures in the kills column — Chaussee, Anna Stevenson, and Anna DeBeer. Senior Tori Dilfer finished with 44 assists on the night. As for UK, three Wildcats also were in double figures, with Skinner and Azhani Tealer finishing with 10-plus kills. Freshman Emma Grome acquired a career-high 55 assists. 

Up next for the ‘Cats will be another tough matchup as they look to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss, hosting No. 16 Stanford on Sunday at 1:00 p.m EST. The game will be available to watch on the SEC Network.