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    SEC Volleyball Today: October 12

    volleyBALL RESULTS
    Georgia 3, Auburn 0
    Kentucky 3, Mississippi State 0
    Alabama 3, South Carolina 1
    Florida 3, Ole Miss 0
    Texas A&M 3, Arkansas 2

    Georgia Picks Up 3-0 Win Over Auburn
     
    ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Georgia volleyball team picked up a 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-19) win over the Auburn Tigers in Southeastern Conference action on Friday night in the Ramsey Student Center. With the win, Georgia moves to 10-7 on the season, including a 4-4 mark in league play. Auburn falls to 13-5 on the year and 4-4 in the SEC.
     
    “I think our girls came out ready to prove a point tonight,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said.  “We battled in a really tough match with Tennessee last week and the girls havebeen hungry all week. This was a big statement for us to come out with as much energy and as much passion and, really, with the discipline and focus that we came out with tonight. It was really exciting. We’ve been talking about how five of the next six matches are at home, and I know that they were really excited to play in front of our fans.”
     
    Elena Perri led the team with nine kills and hit at a.643 clip, going 9-for-14 without committing an error. Brittany Northcutt and Briana Bahr each finished with seven kills. Kaylee Kehoe paced the offense with 19assists and led the team from the service line, finishing with two aces. Perri also led the team with four blocks, including one solo stop. Jasmine Eatmon and Bahr each finished with three blocks. Allison Summers finished with a match-high 11 digs.
     
    Georgia raced out to an early 4-1 lead in the opening set before Auburn came back to take an 8-5 lead. A Tirah Le’au kill sparked a 4-0 run that allowed Georgia to retake the lead at 11-9. Behind the serve of Kehoe, Georgia scored five straight to extend its lead to 18-11. The Tigers pulledwithin four at 20-16, but a Bahr kill ended the threat. The Bulldogs scoredthree-straight points, including a kill by Northcutt, to take a 24-17 lead. A kill by Lauren Teknipp sealed the first set 25-19.
     
    The teams tied eight times before Georgia scored three straight to take a 14-11 advantage that ended with a block by Bahr and Perri. A Bahrkill made it a 15-12 match and forced Auburn to call its first timeout of the set. Auburn went on a 3-0 run that tied the set at 15 before taking a 19-16lead. Georgia fought back to tie the set at 20 before taking the lead at 21-20 on a Northcutt kill. Auburn tied the set at 21, but Georgia ended the set on a 4-0 run to win set two 25-21 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
     
    Behind the serve of Kehoe, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the third set, forcing the Tigers to use an early timeout. During the run, the Bulldogs saw kills from two different players, a block by Bahr andPerri and a service ace. Auburn got on the board following the timeout, butGeorgia scored three of the next five points to extend its lead to 9-2 and cause Auburn to call its final timeout of the set. Auburn brought the set within seven at 14-7 before the teams traded points over the next seven possessions. An Eatmon kill ignited a 3-0 run that extended Georgia’s lead to 23-13. Auburn fought back late in the set, scoring five-straight before committing an error that sealed match with a 25-19 set three win.
     
    Georgia will be back in action on Sunday, Oct. 14 when it takes on the Ole Miss Rebels at 1:30 p.m.
     




    Kentucky Sweeps Mississippi State in Rupp Arena

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – In front of the largest crowd in the Craig Skinner era and in its first appearance in Rupp Arena the Kentucky volleyball team swept Mississippi State 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-18) on Friday night. As the kickoff event to Big Blue Madness, 5,261 fans saw the Blue and White earn its first ever victory in historic Rupp Arena.

    “It was pretty special for our kids,” Skinner said. “A lot of people that haven’t gotten to see volleyball tonight and (got to) see some pretty explosive athletes do some things, which is great for us.”

    With the win, Kentucky improves to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in Southeastern Conference action. Mississippi State falls to 4-13 and 0-7 in league action. Kentucky returns to action on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. UK will play host to Texas A&M in a “Dig for the Cure,” match in which fans are encouraged to wear pink.

    “I had no idea what to expect,” Skinner said. “I wanted people exposed to the high level volleyball that our athletes compete at and give them a chance to see it and hopefully come see it at Memorial Coliseum.”

    The Wildcats’ defensive effort was impressive as UK limited Mississippi State to 22 kills and a negative .026 hitting percentage. Kentucky charted 35 kills on .262 hitting with senior setter Christine Hartmann passing out 29 assists.

    Senior Ashley Frazier and junior Alexandra Morgan both led the offensive effort with eight kills apiece. Sophomore Lauren O’Conner added seven and junior Whitney Billings logged five. Morgan also contributed a career-high four service aces.

    Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder and Hartmann led the defensive prowess at the net with a trio of blocks. Hartmann also was tops on the team with eight digs. Senior Stephanie Klefot had seven and Billings contributed six.

    The Wildcats raced out to a 12-4 lead to open the match with Billings notching a pair of aces in the run. The Bulldogs made a run and got to within three at 16-13, but UK closed out the set on a 9-5 run with a pair of Frazier aces and a block by the duo of Billings and Schwarzwalder en route to the opening set victory.

    UK totaled 12 kills on .360 hitting in the set with Mississippi State managing just five kills on a negative .200 clip.

    Consecutive kills from Billings and O’Conner opened the second frame as UK never trailed in the stanza. UK took its largest lead at 23-10 on a kill from junior Desiree Wilkerson. Freshman Shelby Workman gave UK set point with a kill, but Mississippi State saved the set six times before Wilkerson finally gave UK a 25-18 set with another kill.

    UK posted a match-high 13 kills on .114 hitting in the stanza. Mississippi State earned six kills on .037 clip.

    O’Conner opened the third set with a kill as UK captured the opening point of all three frames and never looked back.  Back-to-back kills from Frazier gave the home squad its largest lead of the set at 12-3. The Bulldogs fought back to within three at 16-13, but UK ended the match on a 9-5 run for the second time in the match for its historic win. Hartmann closed out the match with an ace before UK forced the Bulldogs into their 24th attacking error of the match.
     




    Alabama Volleyball Defeats South Carolina, 3-1, on the Road
     
    COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Alabama volleyball team picked up its first road Southeastern Conference win of the season with a 3-1 (17-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-22) win over the South Carolina Gamecocks from the Volleyball Competition Facility on Friday night. Four players reached double digits in kills for the Crimson Tide, as the team posted a .336 hitting percentage in the match.
     
    Alabama had a balanced attack that combined to post 57 kills with just 11 errors. After getting off to a slow start, hitting .081 with seven kills and four errors in the first set, the Tide collected 50 kills with seven errors in the last three sets. The big set for Alabama was the second, when the Tide hit .593 with 16 kills and no errors in the set.
     
    UA got Alabama was led by Laura Steiner’s 14 kills, while Andrea McQuaid finished the match with 13. Steiner posted a .379 hitting percentage in the match, but McQuaid topped Steiner with a .522 mark after committing just one error on 23 swings. Kayla Fitterer added 11 kills and Kanesha Burch had a season-high 11 kills.
     
    From the back row, Alabama collected 52 digs in the match, as Kryssi Daniels, Cristina Arenas and Kelsey Melito combined for 34, as all three players had double figures. Daniels led the Tide with 14, Arenas added 10 and Melito had a career-high 10. Wilson had 48 assists to go along with three kills and four digs.
     
    South Carolina finished the night with a .234 hitting percentage, collecting 64 kills with 28 errors. Juliette Thevenin led all players with 19 kills, while Bethanie Thomas added 14 and Cara Howley chipped in with 11. Paige Wheeler led all players with 19 digs and setter Taylor Bruns had 49 assists to go along with seven kills.
     
    Alabama completes the two-match SEC road trip on Sunday with a 1 p.m. CT match against the LSU Tigers from the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La.
     



    No. 11 Gator Volleyball Earns Ninth Sweep of 2012 with 3-0 Victory Over Ole Miss

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 11 University of Florida volleyball team earned its ninth sweep of the season, defeating the Ole Miss Rebels in three sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-22) to remain unbeaten in the SEC (8-0). The Gators move to 14-2 in 2012 while the Rebels fall to below .500 at 8-9 on the season and 2-6 in conference play.

    Reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) led all players on the floor with a match-high 17 kills, hitting .385 with two blocks for 18.5 points. Sophomore defensive specialist Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) had one of the best matches of her career, tallying a season-high 13 digs and a career-high three aces, tying for the team high with senior middle blocker Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), who also turned in a career high (3) in aces. Pole led the team in digs for the first time in her career.

    "This match was the tale of the first two sets," Florida head coach Mary Wise said. "We just got into such a great serving rhythm and scored some relatively easy points off the serve. We addressed the team during the break, saying that if Ole Miss found some passing rhythm, they have enough point scorers that (the match) would look very different. Lo and behold, that's what happened (in the third set). They started passing well and Kara Morgan, their junior outside hitter who is playing the best volleyball of her career, kind of went off there.

    "But to win the first two (sets) like we did and have to grind it out for the third one and be able to rest Chloe (in the third set), it was a good night for the Gators," Wise commented.

    Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) hit .750 with an errorless six kills to go along with three blocks. On the night, the Gators put up 10.0 blocks for their fourth-straight double-digit blocking effort of the season and fifth overall. Freshman outside hitter Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) stuffed four blocks on the evening, adding four errorless kills against the Rebels.

    "Being able to help defensively just really helps our team with momentum and energy because I feel like that's where we get most of it," Mallette said. "It feels great being able to help and to be out (playing) on the court in general. It feels good."

    Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) directed the Gators to a .337 hitting percentage against the Rebels, the 11th time Florida has hit above .300 in 2012. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) scooped 10 digs and served up two aces on the night.

    The Gators rattled off four straight points to open the match behind the serve of Smith and continued to roll, taking an 8-2 advantage into the first set. Recek put up a solo stuff and put down a slam through the seam of the block to go ahead, 10-2. Recek and Smith teamed up for a block to continue the Gator lead, 13-7. Ole Miss began to chip away at the Florida advantage, pulling within three at 13-10, forcing a Gator timeout. The Orange and Blue got the momentum back on their side of the net, ending the set on a 10-4 run. Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) put the opening set away with her first kill of the match, 25-14.

    The second set was much tighter than the first, as the teams battled neck-and-neck to open the frame. Ole Miss pulled within one of Florida with the Gators leading 8-7 but the Orange and Blue went on a tear, outscoring the Rebels 13-2 to pull away at 21-9, highlighted by four service aces and an impressive stuff by Mallette and Mann. Recek put away three kills in the closing points to give the Gators the second set, 25-12.

    The Gators jumped out to a significant lead in the third set, as Brauneis used her tricky jump float to keep the Rebel passers on their heels. Back-to-back Gator blocks kept the Florida momentum as Ole Miss burned a timeout with the Orange and Blue leading, 7-1. The Rebels weren't about to back down, slowly chipping away at the Gator lead to pull within two of the Florida lead, 11-9. Ole Miss looped a kill into the middle of the Gator defense, inching within one of the UF advantage, 12-11. An Ole Miss ace out of the break and an ensuing dumped kill by senior Amanda Philpot gave the Rebels their first lead of the match, as Florida trailed 13-12. The Gators continued to fight and took back control of the set off a dumped kill by Brauneis, forcing a Rebel timeout at 20-18. Florida kept the two-point advantage late in the set, and Smith's third ace of the night set up match point for the Gators, 24-22. A Rebel error titled the third frame in the Gators' favor, 25-22.

    The Gators return to the Stephen C. O'Connell Center to host the Auburn Tigers in a televised matchup on Sun Sports with Larry Vetted and former Florida All-SEC setter Missy Whittemore commentating. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. ET and fans can hear the match live on Country 103.7 The Gator with Tom Collett and Cory Stephens on the call. Gator fans can also watch the match live on GatorVision.
     



    A&M Tops Arkansas in Five Sets

    Texas A&M dropped the first set in a crucial showdown at Arkansas, but the Aggies came back to win the match, 21-25, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 15-3, tonight at Barnhill Arena and take a two-game lead atop the Southeastern Conference Western Division.

    It was the fifth consecutive win for the Aggies, who improve to 15-2 overall and 7-1 in the SEC. Arkansas, which was looking to tie A&M for the division lead, falls to 14-5 overall and 5-3 in league play.

    After the first four sets were back and forth and never totally decided until the final point, the Aggies scored the first five points and were in total command in the fifth set. A&M, which outhit the Razorbacks, .417 to -.263 in the frame and .245 to .087 for the match, later went on an 8-0 run as Arkansas couldn't find the court and A&M couldn't miss. Back-to-back kills by Lindsey Miller put the Aggies at set point, 14-2. Arkansas staved off one match point with a kill but then hit long for the final point as A&M clinch the victory in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

    "This is just a tough weekend overall, so to win the first one on the road and to play really well most of the time was really huge for us," A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. "We are trying to keep our momentum going. We want to continue to build on the things we've been doing, and I thought we did that performance-wise tonight, so I was pleased with that."

    A&M found itself in a hole early in the opening set as Arkansas pulled away from a 5-5 tie, scoring runs of point to build a 19-11 lead. The Aggies would make a late run behind the blocking of Stephanie Minnerly, who had three stuffs during a 6-1 rally that put A&M within 22-20. Despite nine kills in the set by Alisia Kastmo, the Aggies could get no closer and trailed 23-21 when Arkansas got a kill high off the block and A&M followed with an attack that went into the net. It marked only the second time this season A&M dropped the opening set. The only other time, the Aggies fell to Kentucky in five sets.

    "We struggled with our passing early, and I get that," Corbelli said. "We are on the road; we are in a new facility. They were serving bullets at us, but we kept at it and kept fighting really hard with our passing. We were really, really working hard to improve every single pass, and once we did that, we stayed with them. We were able to successfully pass to the target, which got us into rhythm and resulted in the win."

    A&M scored the first seven points of the second set and built its biggest lead at 15-5 when Arkansas mounted a comeback. The Razorbacks scored six unanswered points to get within 15-11, but that would be as close as they would get. Leading 19-14, Aggie freshman Shelbi Vaughan had two kills during a 5-0 rally that put the Aggies at set point. Arkansas had a kill before Miller put down a kill on the slide attack to even the match at a set apiece.

    A&M scored three straight points early in the third set to go up 5-3 and build a lead it would not lose. The Aggies continued to widen the gap and were leading 22-15 when Tori Mellinger had a kill and setter Allie Sawatzky followed with an ace to put A&M up, 24-15. Arkansas posted a kill, but on the ensuing play was whistled for a blocking error on a Minnerly attack that had sailed long.

    Arkansas used a 6-0 run to build a 15-8 lead in the fourth set. The Razorbacks would go on to build their largest lead at 21-13 before A&M mounted a comeback. Trailing 23-16, A&M reeled off six unanswered points to get within a point. Arkansas ended the run with a kill, but Kastmo answered with a straight-down kill out of the middle. Jasmine Norton then put down her seventh kill of the set to clinch the winning point for the Razorbacks and force the fifth set.

    Kastmo tied her career high with 21 kills while hitting .341, and Minnerly had a career-high eight blocks as A&M had a season-high 15 for the match, while Arkansas had only six. Mellinger had 11 kills and 11 digs for her sixth double-double of the season, and Sawatzky had 48 assists and 10 digs for her sixth double-double. Megan Pendergast led all players with 19 digs, and Kelsey Kinley pitched in 12 digs.

    "There were a lot of people who did some great things," Corbelli said. "Stephanie Minnerly carried through her responsibilities so beautifully and I couldn't be more proud of her. She's just a joy to have on the court, and I always trust that she is going to do her best to get the specifics of her job done.

    "Allie Sawatzky did a beautiful job distributing the ball, and Kastmo, no one could stop her. She had some pretty incredible runs there other than a little bit of a lull in set four, but she turned it around and came back and got hot again and was unstoppable."

    Vaughan, who came off the bench in four sets, sparked the Aggies with career highs of eight kills and three blocks. Corbelli also got key off-the-bench contributions from freshmen Shelby Sullivan and Angela Lowak.

    "It was really fun to have Sullivan, Lowak and Vaughan go in," Corbelli said. "They are very confident. They are phenomenal players, and it is so nice to be able to have that depth that is young and spirited and really doesn't know any better. They just go out and play hard, and they are so good at what they do. They are kind of my secret weapons in a way. I know what they have to offer, but I don't use them unless I feel like it is a good time to put them out there, and I can always count on them and it is wonderful."

    A&M now faces a rematch against Kentucky on Sunday in Lexington. The Wildcats have won the last two meetings against the Aggies, a 3-0 victory in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Championship, and a 3-2 win at A&M earlier this season, marking A&M's only SEC loss this season.

    "Kentucky is so strong and for them to be at home, wow, it is just going to be an awesome match," Corbelli said. "We've played them twice. They beat us twice. Eventually it is going to go our way, and I just trust that my team is going to work its hardest to get it done. It certainly won't be easy, but if we can get that one, it will be an absolutely a huge win for us."

    First serve is at 12:30 p.m. (CT) and live audio of the match will be available free at 12thMan.TV.