UK volleyball defeats Louisville for the third year in a row

Lead by sophomore Kaz Brown and senior Morgan Bergren, No. 24 UK volleyball defeated in-state rival Louisville 3-1 (25-27, 25-18, 25-20, 25-23) on Sunday in Memorial Coliseum.

This is the third-strait year that the Cats have defeated the Cards, helping UK’s record improve to 7-5 this season.

“It’s been a challenge. We started 3-0 and we had some injuries. It’s not what anyone else goes through as well, but it certainly presented a challenge for our staff to understand how we are coaching this team,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “You can lose your composure and expect more from the freshmen than what they are ready for. We certainly didn’t schedule lightly and I’m glad because I think the adversity can help as we go through the season.”

Brown had 13 blocks in the first four sets, setting a record for the Cats for the most blocks in a four-set match during the rally-scoring era. She finished with 17 blocks.

“During the off season I got a lot stronger, gained a lot of core strength and shoulder strength. I think building a connection with Morgan helps a lot, too. That extra time in the spring season has definitely helped my game a lot, as well as gaining a bigger vision of the court and getting adjusted to the collegiate speed of the game,” Brown said.

The Cats came from behind to win the forth set and ultimately, the match thanks to the leadership displayed by Bergren. She lead by example, scoring the winning point.

“She is definitely the quarterback of our team, all of our offense runs through her,” Brown said about Bergren. “She does a really good job of knowing when to send the ball to the outside or when to send it over or back, and being able to mess with the other teams defense a little bit. Her decision-making helps us a lot and gets the momentum going for us.”

Many other Cats had notable performances in the victory. Ashley Dusek had 17 digs, Darian Mack had 14 kills and Anni Thomasson achieved her 19th career double-double.

The Cats return to action against South Carolina on Friday in Columbia.