Volleyball rallies to beat LSU

By Caitlin Schwartz

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Coming off a four-set loss to Texas A&M at home on Friday, the Cats rallied to defeat the LSU Tigers 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-12) on Sunday.

In 2014, LSU defeated the Cats in a five-set thriller at Memorial Coliseum to earn the team’s first win over a ranked opponent on the road in four seasons. Although LSU looked for the same magic it had last time the two sides met in Lexington, the magic was not on the Tigers’ side.

The Cats took the first set with a 25-18 win.

Sophomore outside hitter Darian Mack came out swinging for UK and boosted the team offensively with 12 kills. Senior setter Morgan Bergren had 37 assists while Ashley Dusek led the team defensively with 21 digs.

Bergren’s 37 assists on Sunday pushed her past the 3,500-assist mark in her career. She became the fifth UK player and 20th active player in the NCAA to record 3,500 assists.

LSU came out stronger in the second set tying the match 1-1 with a 25-22 win.

Mack added two kills to her set total of nine, while sophomore middle blocker Kaz Brown added six kills to the mix. The Tigers’ hitting percentage topped the Cats’ at the end of the second set, with .586 for LSU and .400 for UK.

UK topped its strength in the third set, ending it quickly with an astounding 25-12 win. The Cats then replicated the third set by taking the fourth set 25-12, which handed the team the overall win and kept head coach Craig Skinner happy.

“More than anything today, I liked the fight we showed after the break,” said Skinner. “It’s an important piece of how we play, and it needs to continue. Obviously our block was non-existent in the first two sets, but really came strong later. I have to give a lot of credit to Kaz (Brown) for making an impact with her blocking. I was also very pleased with our serve reception for the most part, I thought they did a great job giving us a lot of options offensively.”

Brown ended the match leading the team with a dominant 16 kills, and an impressive .682 hitting clip. The sophomore is No. 8 in the nation in blocks per set, averaging 1.57.

“We saw that their blockers were going to be a little bit shorter, which is an advantage for me,” Brown said. “It gave me a lot of options of where I can hit the ball.”

UK moves to 16-7 on the season and 9-2 in SEC, and will hit the road for a pair of away matches.

The Cats travel to Georgia on Nov. 5, then to Tennessee on Nov. 8.

The first serve against Georgia is scheduled for 7 p.m.