Cats extend win streak with sweep over Tennessee


Ashley Dusek & McKenzie Watson celebrate a point during the match against Texas A&M on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 3-0. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Keyera Jackson

UK volleyball extended their winning streak to 12 games after a 3-0 sweep over the Tennessee Volunteers (25-21, 25-18, 30-28) on Sunday afternoon. 

The match started close for both teams. The Cats nor the Volunteers were able to get a run started for their team early in the first set. 

The Cats were able to gain a four-point lead after a tip play by Leah Edmond, which forced the Volunteers into a timeout to stop UK’s momentum.

After the timeout, other UK players started to become more active in the match and Kentucky kept that momentum going and ended the first set 25-21. 

Edmond carried her team in the first set with her hot-hitting hand that led to her hitting nine of the team’s 18 kills.

“She was hot and riding the hot hand gives her some opportunities to kill the ball, Leah did a great job of scoring points for us early on,” head coach Craig Skinner said.  

The second set started much like the first with both teams holding each other to that one point advantage.

The Volunteers had the advantage but not for long as Edmond posted a back-to-back kills, tying the score at eight.

Madison Lilley recognized Edmond’s hot hitting hand, found Edmond on the next play and Edmond connected to the floor. Kentucky took the lead 9-8.

From there, the Cats caught fire and they slowed Tennessee’s offense with back-to-back “Big Blue Blocks.” Kentucky went on a 5-0 run which sent Tennessee into another Timeout. 

After that timeout Kentucky still had the hot-hitting hand and they extended their run to 6-0. Kentucky’s offense was unstoppable as four different players posted four or more kills in the set and Kentucky closed that set 25-18.

Tennessee didn’t back down after those first two sets and they came out swinging. The Volunteers set their offense and were getting the swings they wanted, but the Cats slowed them down with their blocks. 

Both teams were defensively fighting to keep the ball alive and offensively trying to connect to the floor.

A kill by outside hitter Breana Jeter and a hitting error by Kentucky allowed the Volunteers to take a crucial lead over the Cats late in the third set 28-27. 

“We are very composed under pressure we make the right choices when we need to get a kill, and a lot of that goes to ball handling but also the setter (Madison Lilley) doing a great job getting the people involved when we need too,” Skinner said. 

Lilley got the ball to Brown and she delivered back-to-back kills, then to Edmond for the termination and that 3-0 run won the game for Kentucky. 

Next up for the Cats is an away match on Friday Oct. 27, against LSU at 8 p.m.