Kentucky volleyball extends win streak to eight with Tennessee victory


The Kentucky Wildcats volleyball team celebrates during the game against Tennessee on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2018 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 3 sets to 1. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Even with a now-11-4 record and being undefeated (5-0) in the SEC, the Kentucky volleyball team isn’t content— there’s still a lot of volleyball to be played, they say.

The Wildcats extended their win streak to eight and defeated the Tennessee Volunteers for the second time this season in their 3-1 (25-10, 25-16, 25-19, 25-12) victory Wednesday night.

“It’s always good because you know, it’s Tennessee and everybody knows our feelings towards Tennessee,” outside hitter Leah Edmond said. “It’s also good to close out a series against them and to be able to beat them twice, because that’s actually a really hard thing to do.”

Kentucky came out strong in the first set as the Cats defeated the Vols by 15, going on three different 5-0 runs throughout the set and holding Tennessee to only 10 points. Edmond led the way with five kills while Alli Stumler and Caitlyn Cooper added four each.

The second set went a little better for the Volunteers as they scored 16 points on the Cats, but it wasn’t enough as Kentucky came out on the winning end. The third set, though, is when the Volunteers brought the heat and defeated the Cats 25-19.

Both teams had an equal 15 kills in set three, but Kentucky errors and Tennessee hitting is how the Volunteers succeeded. The Cats committed seven errors on the set and hit 54 percent, while their opponent had only three errors and hit 69 percent.

“Going up 2-0 really means that you have to focus because no team during league play is going to let you fall over and kick their butts, so we’ve got to be more focused in situations like that,” Edmond said.

Kentucky responded in the fourth set as the team dominated the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The Cats only allowed 12 points from Tennessee while attacking the ball at 92 percent.

“We responded well in the fourth set and we expected Tennessee to compete like they did in set three, so I’m glad we responded the way we did,” Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner said.

Skinner said focus and concentration is what worked so well for his team in the fourth set, plus the fact that six different players had kills.

“When you have that type of balance in your offense, it’s really hard for the blockers to know who’s getting the ball,” Skinner said.

Despite their winning record and strong conference play, the Wildcats still want more, and they aren’t settling for anything just yet.

“We still have some things we need to improve on,” Skinner said. “When you continue to win you really have to watch the video and continue to focus on the things that we can put out there to be a better team and be more efficient…. It’s a long season, it’s only the beginning of October, so there’s a long way to go.”

The Cats will return to the court on Sunday at home against Ole Miss at 1 p.m.