Cats earn a pair of victories at the Bluegrass Battle


The UK Women’s Volleyball team high fives one another 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 Friday, UK Volleyball opened their season with a pair of victories in the Bluegrass Battle, starting with a 3-0 sweep over Arkansas State.

In the Friday morning match, freshman Madison Lilley posted her first double-double with 30 assists and 11 digs in the match.

However, the seniors effectively contributed as well. Kaz Brown posted eight blocks, Emily Franklin added to that with nine kills and Darien Mack posted a career-high hitting percentage of .615.

“We have a great senior group. They’re quality leaders and physically talented on the volleyball court,” head coach Craig Skinner said.

Following this win with a 1-0 record, the Cats played another match that evening against No. 23 Utah. This match would be more difficult for UK, but they would end up winning the match 3-2 

The Cats started this match strong, getting a 2-0 lead. However, the Utes were not easily defeated and gained the next two sets which forced an exciting fifth set. 

“They stuck it to us in games three and four and you must find out what kind of resilience you have when it’s on the line,” Skinner said.

In the final frame, Brown and Lead Edmond set the pace early by marking three kills to take a 5-3 lead. This final frame consisted of multiple lead changes however, and Franklin kept the momentum of her team going with her defensive blocks.

Edmond wound up ending the match with a kill that led to a service error from Utah, giving the Cats their second win of the season in just one day.

Edmond finished the second match with 22 kills, and Lilley with 42 assists. On the defensive end, Franklin posted a match high of eight blocks, three of which were big time blocks in the final frame. 

Other players also posted great numbers in the match against Utah. Avery Skinner posted 11 kills in this victory, while Mack also added six digs and a trio of blocks.

The Bluegrass Battle for the Cats will continue on Saturday in Memorial Coliseum against Cincinnati at 7 p.m.