No. 3 Kentucky defeats Cincinnati to complete Dayton Invitational sweep


UK celebrates a point during the University of Kentucky vs. Texas NCAA women’s volleyball championship game on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. UK won 3-1. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

After powering past Texas State and Dayton in day one of the Dayton Invitational, the Kentucky volleyball team would not let up on Saturday, improving to 3-0 on the season as they defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats handily, 3-0.

The Bearcats found the same fate as the Bobcats and Flyers, as they were unable to nab a single set from Kentucky. UK remains a perfect 9-0 in sets they’ve played this season. 

Alli Stumler and Madi Skinner would once again pace the Wildcats, finishing with 11 and 10 kills each. Azhani Tealer was right behind the two outside hitters, the junior recorded eight kills herself, tying her performance from Friday against Dayton. 

True freshman setter Emma Grome turned in another great performance, recording 31 assists and six digs. Grome finished the Dayton Invitational with 97 assists.

The Bearcats would provide a fight for Kentucky, keeping the first set as close as 15-18. A four point streak would help the Wildcats pull away, eventually winning set No. 1, 25-18. Skinner’s four kills led the way for UK, Stumler and Tealer both collected three. 

Kentucky would dominate in the beginning of the second set, winning eight of the first 12 points. UK’s big three would once again go to work, as Stumler and Skinner tacked on three more kills, followed by Tealer and Reagan Rutherford recording two each. A Skinner service ace finished off the second set, putting the Wildcats one set away from another flawless victory. 

Following a tight beginning to the third set, a seven-point swing would see Kentucky garner a 20-9 lead. The Bearcats would attempt to battle back, but to no avail, as a Cincinnati service error would give Kentucky the third set and the victory. 

The defending champions waltzed into the Dayton Invitational with a target on their back, but made quick work of all three opponents that stood in their way, winning the matches by a combined score of 9-0.

Up next for the Wildcats is the Bluegrass Battle, a series of matches that will take place at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, featuring Southern California, Creighton and Northern Iowa.

The Wildcats will first square off against Northern Iowa. Before the match begins, the Wildcats will unveil their 2020 National Championship banner. The festivities are set to begin at 7:30 p.m. E.T.