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Kentucky volleyball sweeps Wofford for 17th straight win to advance to NCAA Tournament Second Round

Sydney Yonker
Kentucky libero Eleanor Beavin digs a ball during the Kentucky vs. Wofford volleyball game on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, at Rupp Arena in Lexington Kentucky. Kentucky won 3-0. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff

Kentucky volleyball (20-7, 16-1 SEC) defeated the Wofford Terriers (23-8) in straight sets to advance to the second round in the NCAA Tournament and extended its winning streak to 17 matches.

Emma Grome, Eleanor Beavin, Elise Goetzinger, Erin Lamb, Azhani Tealer, Brooklyn DeLeye and Audrey Whitworth began the match on the floor for the Wildcats.

“We just went into the game like it was our last and I think just going in together and playing as a team really helped,” DeLeye said when speaking about her own and the teams nerves in the opening round matchup.

The first set was back-and-forth in the beginning and middle portions. Midway through the set the Wildcats held a 14-12 lead.

The turning point in the set occurred when the Wildcats went on a 4-0 run and jumped out to an 18-12 lead.

Kentucky would not look back and a kill by DeLeye on an assist from Grome gave the Wildcats the 25-17 lead and a set one victory.

Set two would begin much of the same as the Terriers would not lay down despite being down 1-0 in the match.

However, while leading 11-9, The Wildcats went on a six-point run to jump way ahead by a score of 17-9.

Again, much like the first set, Kentucky used a big run to create separation on the scoreboard.

Set two would end on a kill from Tealer from another Grome assist. The final score of the set was 25-15 and the Wildcats found themselves one set away from closing out the match.

Contrary to the first two sets, the Cats took the opening point and did not give the lead back for the rest of the set. Wofford was in striking distance only until the Wildcats rattled off five points to take a commanding 9-3 lead.

The set would come to a close on back-to-back kills by junior Jordyn Williams on assists from Grome and the score would finish at 25-16 in favor of Kentucky.

DeLeye led the offense with 13 kills and was closely followed by Goetzinger, who had 12 kills. 

“It’s easy for us to feed off that energy and she brings the energy all the time when she is on the court,” Tealer said when speaking on Goetzinger’s big performance.

Grome continued to be critical in the offense with 38 assists.

“(Baylor has) a little bit more complex offense where they run it with the speed they have and variations of where they attack along the net,” Head Coach Craig Skinner said when speaking about Baylor, the Cats’ second round opponent.

With the win, the Wildcats will take on the Baylor Bears in the second round on Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. ET at Rupp Arena. The game will air on ESPN+.

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Jonathon Bruner, Assistant Sports Editor

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