Kentucky claims 3-1 victory over Tennessee in Lexington


Jack Weaver

Kentucky players celebrate 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

Grace Kennedy, Reporter

Kentucky volleyball defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 3-1 inside Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday night. 

With the win, Kentucky remains near the top of the SEC standings, improving its conference record to 12-2, holding the second overall spot while Tennessee sits in fifth overall. 

Although Tennessee frequented the top of the leaderboard, Kentucky was able to secure the win thanks to Emma Grome, who had 56 assists, while Reagan Rutherford led the team in points, finishing with 16 kills. 

The first set was a back-and-forth battle between the two SEC opponents, but two 4-0 runs in the beginning and middle of the first set saw the Cats pull away and eventually win.

Back-to-Back attacking errors by Tennessee ultimately secured that set for UK to put the Volunteers in a hole early. 

The Wildcat defense also did everything it could to ensure the Volunteers were unable to get any momentum going to cut into the lead.

That said, the second set featured a much different Tennessee Volunteers team. 

The away squad did not allow Kentucky to put together any prolonged scoring runs as in the second set as Tennessee right-side hitter Morgahn Fingall recorded five kills to win the set for UT.

Kentucky was able to recover in the third set, recording 19 kills compared to the Volunteers’ 13, which allowed it to enter a fourth and ultimate final set.

Grome’s service and Rollins’ kills allowed the Cats to finish the set with their biggest win of the match, coming out on top 25-19. 

The fourth set was once again a close battle between both teams with Kentucky trying in vain to pull away while Tennessee consistently got in the way of those ambitions. 

Ultimately it would come down to one final stretch in which Kentucky broke loose from the tied score of 24-24 after Rutherford was assisted by Grome to kill the ball and finish the match off in a 3-1 UK victory. 

Kentucky will next travel to Gainesville, Florida, for a matchup against the Gators where both teams hold a 12-2 record in the SEC conference as they compete for the SEC Championship once again. 

The match against Florida is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 19, in the O’Connell Center and will air live on the SEC Network +.