Oct. 5, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. - With a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-19) sweep at Ole Miss on Friday night the Kentucky volleyball team has now strung together four consecutive victories. The loss for the Rebels was their first in the Gillom Sports Center this season. Kentucky was paced by a team-high 11 kills from sophomore Lauren O'Conner as the Blue and White blasted the Rebels for 45 kills on a blazing .548 hitting clip for the match.
"We were very focused tonight and stayed poised on the road," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "I'm proud of how we executed and stayed in tune during each and every point. Kayla (Tronick) did a great job coming in for us tonight and getting some big kills and blocks."
Tronick earned her first career start and turned in a 10-kill performance on a staggering .833 hitting percentage. O'Conner had 11 hammers on a .556 clip. Both led the way with a trio of blocks as well.
Kentucky pushes its record to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference action. Ole Miss drops to 8-7 and 2-4 in league action. The Wildcats return to action at No. 11 Florida on Sunday. First serve is slated for 3 p.m. ET.
Senior setter Christine Hartmann led the balanced attack with five attackers charting seven or more kills for the match as she notched 38 assists on the night. Junior Alexandra Morgan totaled eight hammers with junior Whitney Billings and senior Ashley Frazier each connecting for seven.
Senior Stephanie Klefot led the defensive effort with 15 digs for the match. Sophomore Jackie Napper added eight with Billings earning six.
Kentucky opened to a 14-11 lead in the opening set of action, connecting for six kills in the early going. O'Conner opened the match hot with a quartet of kills and an ace to give UK the early advantage. Out of an Ole Miss timeout, Frazier came up with a huge solo rejection to keep the rally going. The Wildcats continued to keep the pressure on stretching its lead to 19-14 after consecutive kills from Tronick to force the Rebels to use its final timeout. Kentucky closed out the frame on a 6-3 run to earn a 25-17 opening set victory.
The Wildcats utilized a blistering .650 attacking percentage in the opening set as UK struck for 14 kills on 20 attempts. O'Conner had six kills to lead the way and Tronick logged four on a perfect attacking clip. Kentucky held the Rebels to 12 kills on a mere .188 clip and turned back three Ole Miss attacks.
UK charged out to a 10-6 lead to begin the second frame as Frazier capped the run with an ace to force the Rebels to burn an early timeout. Kentucky continued to stretch its lead, opening up a six-point advantage midway through the frame at 17-11. The run was highlighted by a solo block from Hartmann. Ole Miss fired back with a 3-1 run of its own, but Hartmann quelled the threat with consecutive points out of a Wildcat timeout. The senior won a joust at the net before serving up an ace. UK benefited from a Rebel serving error to win the frame 25-18 and take a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Kentucky charted 11 kills on .308 hitting led by three from Morgan and Frazier each. Ole Miss posted 10 hammers on .133 hitting.
The visitors raced out to a 4-0 advantage in the opening set with Tronick leading the charge. The freshman posted a solo rejection and had an authoritative kill in the run to force the Rebels into a very early timeout. The Rebels clawed back and tied the match at seven, and from there the teams swapped points back and forth. UK eventually was able to shake free for a three-point swing to go ahead 17-14 to force the Rebels to use their final timeout. The gap was enough to propel the Wildcats to a final 25-19 set victory for the match.
UK saved its most complete performance for its final set with 19 kills on a .667 hitting percentage.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team. For additional coverage of the volleyball squad be sure and check out CatScratchesBlog.com/volleyball.