Kentucky rolls past Arkansas 3-1 to maintain winning form


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats libero Eleanor Beavin (6) celebrates after a play during the Kentucky vs. Marquette volleyball match on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. Marquette won 3-2. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Drew Johnson, Reporter

No. 19 Kentucky extended its SEC winning streak to four games with a 3-1 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday.

The match was headlined by Reagan Rutherford, who recorded a career-high 26 kills against Arkansas.

The first set was a back-and-forth battle between the two SEC opponents, but a 4-0 run in the middle of the set started to see the Razorbacks pull away and eventually win. Back-to-Back attack errors by the Wildcats ultimately secured that set win to put Kentucky in a hole early.

The second set looked to be another tight battle before Kentucky started to pull away at the end with a 6-1 run to go up 22-14.

Arkansas’ attempt to crawl back was ultimately futile as a kill by Erin Lamb finalized set two as a win for the Wildcats to tie the overall match.

Sets three and four were both hard-fought battles that became defined by early runs from the Wildcats, with a 9-0 run in set three and a 9-2 run in set four respectively.

Both runs occurred before either team hit 11 points in the set, putting Arkansas behind and leaving the Razorbacks trying to fight to come back in both sets, but they were unable to overcome the early deficit either time, as Bella Bell’s kill in the fourth set would put the dagger in the Razorbacks and secure a win for Kentucky.

Rutherford was the obvious star of the game, recording 26 of the teams’ 55 total kills and hitting 0.367.

Sophomore setter Emma Grome was also a standout, recording 50 assists to bring her season average up to 11.614 per set, one of only seven setters in the NCAA with over 11 assists per set.

Lamb and Azhani Tealer also recorded 9 kills of their own, with Tealer hitting 0.474.

With the win Kentucky now sits at 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference, along with a 4-0 record on the road.

The Wildcats play one more in Fayetteville before traveling back to Memorial Coliseum this Wednesday, Oct. 12, to take on the Ole Miss Rebels.