Rollins, Rutherford shine as Kentucky sweeps Auburn 3-0


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats outside hitter Adanna Rollins (8) 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

Kentucky continued its dominant SEC stretch with a sweeping 3-0 win over the Auburn Tigers on Saturday.

The win brings the Cats to 8-2 in conference play this season, matching Florida for the best record in the SEC.

The win comes off the back of a series at Texas A&M in which the Cats split 1-1, which went down as a slightly disappointing result for the squad with the Aggies having struggled this season. 

The bounce back win in game two had head coach Craig Skinner optimistic despite the disappointing first result.

“We didn’t prepare great (for) the first match against A&M, and we learned something there,” Skinner said. “(We) prepared well the next day, this week in practice and today leading up to the match, so I think that was a big deal.”

Auburn entered the week off the back of impressive performances that saw Jackie Barret win SEC setter of the week and Akasha Anderson win SEC freshman of the week. 

The Tigers sat third in the conference entering the match with the eventual loss bringing them to 7-4 in SEC play.

The clear stars of the match were Kentucky senior Adanna Rollins and junior Reagan Rutherford.

Rollins recorded 17 kills and 12 digs for a double-double, her fourth of the season and second in conference play.

Rutherford also notched 12 kills, a block and a .550 hitting percentage, just shy of her personal best hitting percentage this season. 

“When we’re able to spread the net to both pins like we did today,” Skinner said. “It just makes us hard to defend.”

Sophomore Emma Grome also had an impressive outing, recording 46 assists, six digs and two blocks.

The setter currently averages 11.62 assists per set this season, placing her second among power-five setters. 

“Emma is one of the best setters in the country,” Skinner said. “When you’re able to set the ball to two or three different places when the ball is 15-17 feet off the net, that makes us really hard to defend. When she’s doing it like she was tonight, it makes our hitters feel like they have so much range.”

Senior middle-blocker Azhani Tealer also contributed to the victory with eight kills as well as three blocks, including an especially notable block to spark a 5-0 run for Kentucky in the second set.

Kentucky continued a history of dominance against Auburn with the sweep, extending its winning streak against the Tigers to 20 with eight consecutive sweeps.

The Cats return to action with a second matchup against Auburn on Sunday, Oct. 30, where they look to keep their momentum going following a dominant win.

“We can’t celebrate a win when you gotta play at one o’clock tomorrow, it’s a quick turnaround.” Skinner said.

The matchup against the Tigers is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST.