UK Volleyball opens season with a win



By Caitlin Schwartz

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The Cats opened their 2015 season with a five-set win (29-27, 15-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13) over No. 19 Michigan State in the Bluegrass Battle on Friday night.

Kaz Brown, 6-foot-4 sophomore middle blocker for Kentucky, doubled her previous career high with 20 kills for the Cats. Her last pair of kills finished off the fifth set to win the game.

“She had a great game. Twenty? That’s freakin’ awesome. She’s a beast,” teammate Anni Thomasson said.

Brown had no more than eight kills last season as a true freshman.

“As long and tall as she is, it took a year to get that strength,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “She kicked some butt this summer with our strength coach, and I think we’re seeing the results.”

Brown became the first UK player with 20 kills since Lauren O’Conner finished with 21 kills against Georgia last season.

“You want to be a go-to player,” Brown said. “You want to be the player in that situation. I want the ball. I want to put the ball away.”

Thomasson, a 6-foot-0 junior outside hitter, ended the game with a double-double with 12 digs and 14 kills.

“I didn’t even know I had a double-double. I just try to make every contact I get matter,” Thomasson said.

The first set showed the crowd they were in for an action-filled night. Each team saved set points twice before Brown ended the set with a block at the net that gave Kentucky the set 29-27.

Thomasson emphasized how intense the five-set match was against the ranked Spartans as a season opener for the Cats.

“It was a great atmosphere. There were a lot of fans here tonight. They’re a good team. We’re a good team. We battled it out and came out on top.”