Cats win streak snapped at Mizzou


The University of Kentucky women’s volleyball team celebrates after a scored point during the match against Ole Miss on Sunday, October 16, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

By Chris Leach

UK’s volleyball team had not been to a fourth set in a match since Oct. 2nd, but Sunday afternoon against the Missouri Tigers, they needed a fifth set to settle the thrilling match.

In what was an exciting battle between the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference, Mizzou ended up defeating the No. 21 Cats 3-2.

With the loss, the Cats’ 13 game win streak ends, and they suffered their first SEC loss of the season. Their record stands at 16-5 overall, 9-1 in conference play.

In the first set of the match, Mizzou showed UK they were not afraid of their SEC rival and opened up an early 13-5 lead. The big start came from strong defense and solid net blocking from the Tigers, which proved to be a challenge for the Cats.

The Cats built some momentum at the end of the set and came within three points of the Tigers lead but wound up losing the first set 25-21.

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In the second set, the Cats continued building momentum and found their rhythm in this very competitive set. The largest lead of the set was only four points and there were a total of 14 ties, but the Tigers proved tough again and won this set as well, 28-26.

With the Tigers only needing to win one more set to win the match, UK needed to play near-perfect volleyball if they wanted a chance to walk out of the Hearnes Center with a win and keep their undefeated conference record alive

In the third set, the Cats were very aggressive and scored five points in a row in the middle of the set to open up a 19-10 lead. They would end up winning the set 25-16 thanks to five kills from freshman star Leah Edmond.

The fourth set was very competitive once again, with 11 ties coming from this set. Junior Kaz Brown registered three kills in this set, and Edmond had four kills of her own to lead UK to a set victory, and forcing a fifth and final set.

This was UK’s second five-set match of the season. Their first was when they beat Purdue in only their third game of the season. This was the Tigers fifth five-set match of the season.

With a spot on top of the SEC standings up for grabs, Mizzou came out strong like they did in the first set and opened up a 9-3 lead. Carly Kan scored four of those nine points off of kills, and also blocked one of Brown’s kill attempts for another point.

UK would fight back yet again in this set and get the score up to 12-14. The Cats scored their third point in a row to bring the match to 13-14, but following the point, head coach of the Tigers Wayne Kreklow flashed his green challenge card to the referee, believing that one of the UK players touched the net during the rally.

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The replay showed that Brown ended up touching the net during one of her spikes; giving the Tigers the final point they needed to secure the victory.

Star offensive player for the Tigers Melanie Crow was out for this game and Mizzou needed players to step up for the team in order to get the win. Three players for the Tigers had double digit kills and Courtney Eckenrode assisted 55 of the team’s 63 kills.

Even with the crushing loss, the Cats still put up solid stats.

Edmond finished with 21 kills, Brown finished with 12 kills, and junior Darian Mack had 13 kills of her own. Sophomore Olivia Dailey assisted on 54 of the team’s 66 kills and junior Ashley Dusek led the team in digs with 23.

Fans who missed the exciting matchup will have a chance to watch these SEC teams collide once more this season, as the Tigers will be coming to Lexington on Nov. 6th to face UK at Memorial Coliseum.

The next match for the Cats however will be against Alabama, as the Cats will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide on Oct. 30th. That match is set to start at 2:30 p.m.