LEXINGTON, Ky. - The middle blocker duo of junior Lauren Rapp and Alexandra Morgan shined in a 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-17) Kentucky loss to Ole Miss on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum, in front of 1,239 fans honoring breast cancer awareness during the Dig for the Cure match.
Rapp posted a team-high 17 kills on an impressive .577 hitting percentage. Morgan matched a career-high with eight kills on a blazing .800 attacking clip. The duo led the team in kills from the middle blocker position.
"I'm really proud of the way our middles attacked today," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "Our blocking has to improve, and we need our outsides to get kills which is where we fell short today."
Kentucky (8-8, 2-4) posted just two blocks and has now been out-blocked in two consecutive matches. UK's outside hitters combined for 14 kills in the match.
Sophomore Stephanie Klefot continued her steady play at the libero position with a match-high 16 digs in the match. Freshman Whitney Billings posted eight kills and senior Blaire Hiler contributed five. Setter Christine Hartmann
Ole Miss totaled 41 kills on .280 hitting and earned seven blocks while keeping Kentucky to just a .176 hitting percentage.
The Rebels opened the match with a 25-22 victory. Kentucky had 16 kills in the frame, but committed 13 unforced errors. Rapp began the match with five kills in the stanza and Morgan totaled four to open the match.
Ole Miss quickly took a 3-0 advantage on a pair of kills and an error from the Blue and White. Kentucky came back to tie the score at four apiece behind a kill from Rapp. The teams would exchange points back and forth the Rebels earned a three-point edge at 13-190. Kentucky once again fought back and pulled to within 14-13 on a kill from Hiler. With Ole Miss enjoying a comfortable advantage through the middle portion of the set, Kentucky came back as close as 23-21 behind a block from Billings and Rapp. Kentucky saved match point twice before Ole Miss finished the set on a kill.
Kentucky opened the scoring in the second set by forcing the Rebels into an attacking error. A kill from Rapp gave UK a 4-2 edge, but Ole Miss would fight back to tie the score at six and then take the lead at 7-6 it would never relinquish. UK made the score 22-19 by forcing the Rebels into another error, but the visitors would score three of the next four points to close out the frame with a 25-20 set two win.
Ole Miss totaled 15 kills and UK posted 13 in the second set. The Rebels tallied a .294 attacking clip to pull away. Rapp led the way for UK with five more kills in the frame.
The visitors jumped out to an early 7-3 advantage, but UK would fire back and tie the score at eight on a kill from Morgan. The teams would exchange points until Ole Miss took a 10-9 lead it would never yield. Rapp scored seven kills in the set for the Wildcats, but UK could not overcome the 19-12 deficit.
Kentucky hits the road again next weekend. UK travels to No. 16 LSU on Friday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. ET. Kentucky will then be at Arkansas on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET.