UK sets records in pair of victories at the Bluejay Invitational


Gabby Curry and Madison Lilley high five each other after scoring a point during the UK Women’s Volleyball game against Arkansas State at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, KY on Friday, August 25, 2017. The Cats won 3 to 0. Adam Sherberg | Staff

Keyera Jackson

On Saturday evening, the UK volleyball team wrapped up the Bluejay Invitational with a pair of wins against Northern Iowa and No. 18 South Carolina.

The day started on Saturday morning when UK faced Northern Iowa and won 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 15-9). This win improved Kentucky’s overall record to 4-1.

UK got off to a slow start with the loss in the first set to Northern Iowa, but Kentucky responded with big wins in the second and third set. 

“We just did a really good job of playing better defense after the first set,” head coach Craig Skinner said in a press release. “We had big plays in the fifth set defensively.” 

Northern Iowa would win the fourth set to force a winner-take-all set, however Kentucky dominated and set some records while doing it.

Madison Lilley posted 65 assists in the match, being the third player in UK history to do that in the 25-point rally-scoring era. Her assists were big plays in this match as it aligned well for her teammates, who appreciated her assists.

“I think it’s great that we had a balanced attack and kudos to Madison for getting such great balls to everyone,” Leah Edmond said in a press release.

Defense was the highlight of this match as five players ended up with double-digit scoops.

Gabby Curry led the way in digs with 25. That makes Curry just the fifth player in UK history to finish with 25 or more digs in the 25-point rally-scoring era.

Edmond, Lilley, Mackenzie Watson and Meredith Jewell were the others to finish with double-digit digs. These digs from the back row led to big plays and bigger finishes at the net for Kentucky.

The Cats carried this energy over later that evening as they defeated No. 18 South Carolina 3-1 (25-16, 11-25, 25-19, 25-19).

Kills were a key element for this win for the cats, and Edmond led the team with 21 kills, Avery Skinner chipped in with 15 and Darien Mack added 6 to that.

Not only were Kentucky’s kills impressive but again Lilley created some big plays for her team contributing 47 assists. 

With a pair of victories, the Cats proved they could perform well on both ends of the court. After falling to Creighton on the first day of the Bluejay Invitational, the Cats finished the tournament on a high note. 

On Monday Kentucky will travel to Kansas to face the No. 9 Jayhawks, and the first set is scheduled for 2 p.m.