Kentucky volleyball rallies from two down to beat Kansas 3-2


Junior Leah Edmond attempts a kill during the game against Dayton in the Bluegrass Battle on Friday, August 31, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Keyera Jackson

The No. 16 Wildcat volleyball team went down two sets against the Kansas Jayhawks, but they forced a fifth and came out with a victory.

Kentucky started the first set with a 3-1 lead, but errors soon became an issue for the Cats. The Jayhawks were able to use that to their advantage and established an 8-7 lead.

Offensively, the Cats were trying to find a rhythm, while the Jayhawks had that rhythm going for them as they delivered some hard-hitting balls to the Cats. They went on a 5-0 run that sent Kentucky into a timeout.

After the timeout, the Cats still couldn’t connect, and the Jayhawks ran away with the first set 21-14.

The Jayhawks didn’t let up the pressure as they set the pace for the second set with a score of 4-2. Kentucky’s outside hitters were able to deliver on some plays, but the Jayhawks were defending well against Kentucky’s hitters, holding them to a .074 hitting percentage at this point in the game.

Kansas extended its lead and finished the second set 25-15. The set win put Kansas at a 2-0 advantage over Kentucky, but the battle was not over for the Cats.

“Volleyball is 3 out of 5. Even if you’re down two-zero, you still have a chance and we can panic or we can just get ready for the third set,” said UK head coach Craig Skinner after the match.

The Cats took that chance, as they took an early lead 7-6 over the Jayhawks. Offensively they were able to find a rhythm and deliver some hard-hitting kills at a .382 hitting percentage.

Leah Edmond led the team in controlling offensively but it was the team as a whole that changed the tempo of the match.

“We played really well and they always have my back and so that makes me want to play even harder for them because I know they are playing just as hard for me,” Edmond said.

The Cats had different players in the air connecting to the floor. They were finding the gaps offensively, and defensively their “big blue blocks” were holding Kansas to a .194 hitting percentage.

Kentucky continued to control the net and won the third set 25-17.

Going into the fourth set, the momentum did not stop for the Cats. The Cats came out again with another run, this time a 6-0 streak.

Kentucky had gained a hot hitting hand, and it was difficult for the Jayhawks to defend. The Cats extended their lead, winning the fourth set 25-11 to force a fifth.

The fifth set was anyone’s game, but Kentucky was still riding the hot hitting hand and took a 3-0 start, which sent Kansas into a timeout.

After the timeout, the Jayhawks were fighting back, finding their outside hitters and having some big plays at the net. However, the Cats’ offensive attack didn’t stop and the lead at 9-3 sent Kansas into another timeout.

After the timeout, the Cats didn’t let up the pressure as they set their plays and finished big at the net. They ended the set at 15-8.

This win for Kentucky finished the Bluegrass Battle with a 3-0 record. Next up for the Cats is a road match against the Texas Longhorns Friday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m.