|Georgia 3, Ole Miss 2
|Kentucky 3, Texas A&M 0
|Missouri 3, Mississippi State 0
|Florida 3, Auburn 0
|Tennessee 3, Arkansas 0
|LSU 3, Alabama 1
Georgia Earns 3-2 Win Over Ole Miss
ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Georgia volleyball team completed a weekend, Southeastern Conference sweep with a 3-2 (20-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-9, 15-10) win over the Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday afternoon at theRamsey Student Center. With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 11-7 on the season, including a 5-4 mark in the SEC. The Rebels drop to 8-9 overall 2-6 in league play.
Five Bulldogs were in double figure kills, with Briana Bahr leading the way with 14 kills. Jasmine Eatmon finished with 11 kills on 11-for-24 hitting. Elena Perri, Tirah Le’au and Brittany Northcutt each added 10 kills in the win. Kaylee Kehoe paced the offense with a season-best 37 assists. Defensively, Bahr led the way with six blocks, including one solo stop. Eatmon added five blocks, while Perri finished with three. Northcutt added 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season, while Allison Summers led the match with a career-high 33 digs.
“I thought our team today came out a little bit slow, but as we got more into the match, we started executing our game plan,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said. “Serving became a huge factor for us to gain momentum, and anytime you win a fifth set in the SEC, it’s a hard fight. We did a really nice job today, and that’s a big win for us at this point in the season to fight back like that. We’re really excited as a team. We’ll celebrate for a second but then start getting ready for our mid-week matchup against Georgia Tech.”
After dropping the first set 25-20, the Bulldogs raced out to an 8-3 lead in the second set. Ole Miss scored five straight to tie the set at 11. The teams tied at 12 and 13 before the Rebels scored consecutive points to take a 15-13 lead and force Georgia to use a timeout. Following the break, a pair of Bahr kills sparked a 4-0 run that put Georgia on top 17-15. Ole Miss tied the set at 17 with a kill by Ty Laporte, but the Bulldogs answered with three-straight points to retake the lead at 20-17. Ole Miss fought back with three unanswered points to tie the set at 22. A Northcutt kill sparked a 3-0 run that ended the set with Georgia on top 25-22.
The teams kept it close in the third set, but Rebels ultimately came away with the 25-23 win. Trailing the match 2-1, the Bulldogs came out firing in the fourth setting, racing out to a 14-3 lead behind theserve of Summers. During the run, Le’au and Eatmon each tallied two kills and Summers picked up a service ace. Leading 15-6, a Le’au kill ignited a 4-0 run that extended Georgia’s lead to 19-6. Georgia ended the set on a 5-0 run that included kills by Stacey Smith, Kehoe and Northcutt and a block by Perri and Bahr.
The Bulldogs carried the momentum into the fifth and final set, hitting at a .375 clip in the final set. Georgia used strong serves byKehoe and Summers to jump out to a 9-4 lead. Ole Miss cut the lead to four at 10-6, but a Smith kill ended the Rebel rally. A Northcutt kill made it a 13-8 set and forced the Rebels to use their final timeout of the set. Bahr scored two of the final four points to seal the set 15-10 and give Georgia its third win in four matches.
Wildcats Roll to an Impressive Sweep of Aggies
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Led by the ninth double-double of the season for junior Whitney Billings the Kentucky volleyball team rolled to a 3-0 (25-11, 25-22, 25-19) sweep of visiting Texas A&M on Sunday in UK’s “Dig Pink” match in front of 1,312 fans in Memorial Coliseum. Billings led the Wildcats with 11 kills and a match-high 14 digs to lead the way.
With the win, Kentucky pushes its record to 12-7 overall and 6-3 in Southeastern Conference. The Aggies fall to 15-3 and 7-2 in league play with their only two losses in SEC action coming at the hands of the Blue and White. UK returns to action on Friday at 7 p.m. ET as the Wildcats play host to Arkansas.
“I didn’t really see a change in how we played from point one to the last point of set three, and I definitely saw that on Friday night,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “We were up and down with our focus and intensity. Today was a team on mission and it was impressive to be on the sidelines for.”
The Wildcats were dominating in all phases of the game including a .351 attacking clip as a team. Billings was joined by sophomore Lauren O’Conner in double-figures with 12 kills. Senior Ashley Frazier added nine, and junior Alexandra Morgan totaled eight kills on .444 hitting. Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder pitched in with seven kills on a.667 attacking percentage.
Senior setter Christine Hartmann passed out 39 assists and added a pair of kills. Senior Stephanie Klefot logged 10 digs with junior Jessi Greenberg and sophomore Jackie Napper both contributing six. Morgan led the way at the net with a match-high five blocks. O’Conner had four and Hartmann added three rejections including a pair of solo roofs.
Kentucky opened to a 3-0 advantage in the first set and never looked back. Schwarzwalder and O’Conner teamed up for back-to-back kills in the run. UK stretched its lead to 10 at 18-8 as O’Conner and Morgan combined for a block which was the fourth of the set. The Wildcats closed out the frame with a dominating 25-11 victory which was capped off by a kill from Frazier.
UK posted 14 kills on .419 hitting as both O’Conner and Morgan logged four kills apiece in the opening stanza. The Aggies managed just nine kills on a .000 clip.
The second set featured a back-and-forth battle between the two squads as neither team held more than a three-point edge throughout the frame. UK broke a 20-20 tie with a kill from Billings and earned set point with a Hartmann kill. UK’s stifling defense forced the Aggies into a set-clinching hitting error for the 25-22 set victory.
UK posted a match-high 18 kills in the set on a .239 hitting percentage. Frazier and Billings led the way with four each and Billings also added six digs in the set. The Aggies logged 11 kills on .150 hitting.
Kentucky scored the first two points of the third set benefiting from a pair of Texas A&M errors to grab a lead it would never relinquish. The Wildcats earned their largest lead of the set at 16-10 with a 3-0 run highlighted by a Billings’ kill to notch the double-double effort. The teams traded points from there, but UK’s lead was too large for the Aggies’ to overcome and the Wildcats secured the sweep on a kill from Morgan for the 25-19 win.
The Wildcats notched 17 kills on a match-best .441 blazing hitting percentage. It marked the second time in the match the home team logged a .400 or better hitting clip. O’Conner struck for six kills in the set and Billings chipped in with five. The Aggies managed just 11 kills on a mere .167 percentage.
Mizzou Sweeps Mississippi State
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou volleyball team improved to 14-5 on the season and 6-3 in SEC play after sweeping Mississippi State, 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-19), on Sunday afternoon at the Hearnes Center (Oct. 14). Junior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) led a balanced Tiger attack as she tallied a match-high 14 kills on .306 hitting while pulling in eight digs with five blocks.
“I was very pleased with our effort and the way that we played in the first set, but I thought we got a little sloppy and lackadaisical from there,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “Any time you can get a win over a conference opponent, we’ll take them, but I thought we weren’t quite focused and ready to play after the first set.”
Aside from Henning, sophomore Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) also had a huge match on Sunday, posting 10 kills on .391 hitting with four blocks. Freshman Regan Peltier (Nixa, Mo.) supplied a bit of the Tiger offense as well, posting five kills on 17 swings while pulling in 10 digs, marking her third straight match with at least 10 digs. Peltier also added a solo block and two block assists in the win.
Staying on the topic of blocking, the Tigers again went over the 10-block plateau on Sunday, posting 12 in the three sets. Mizzou has now eclipsed the 10-block mark in seven straight matches and eight of nine SEC matches as the Tigers continue to lead the SEC on blocking this season. Sophomore middle hitter Melissa Hartsel (Concordia, Kan.) did most of the damage for the Tigers as she tallied a season-best and match-high six blocks (one solo, five assists). Henning added five, Wilson finished with four and junior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Peltier each added three blocks.
Kreklow as always was impressive on Sunday, spreading 29 assists while pitching in three kills, a team-best 12 digs and three blocks. The back row was anchored by sophomore libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) who finished with 12 digs in the match, her third straight 10-dig match and her eighth in nine SEC matches.
Middles Mann and Smith Have Career Days as No. 11 Florida Volleyball Sweeps Auburn, 3-0
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida middle blockers Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) and Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) put together some of the best volleyball of their careers on Sunday afternoon, as the No. 11 Gator volleyball team swept Auburn, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-15), to remain unbeaten in SEC action (9-0).
The Gators move to 15-2 on the year, as the Orange and Blue haven’t dropped a match since a four-set defeat to then-No. 9 Stanford at the Nike Big Four Classic on September 1.
“I thought early on, Auburn made so few unforced errors and they served the ball very aggressively,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “As we controlled the first contact better, the game plan became pretty evident and that was get the ball to the middle. 31 kills out of our middles in three sets is pretty impressive. It’s impressive by our hitters, by our setter and by our passers.”
Mann crushed 20 kills, tying her career high from just a few weeks ago when the Gators defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks in four sets. Mann’s 20 kills marks just the second time a Gator has tallied 20+ kills in a 3-set match since the move to 25-point sets in 2008 (22, Živa Recek vs. Texas – 8/31/12). Mann also roofed seven blocks, tying her career high and setting a new season high. Her .679 hitting percentage is a new season high.
Smith was virtually unstoppable against the Tigers, hitting a career-high .917 with 11 errorless kills on 12 swings. Smith has hit above .500 five times in 2012 and has been errorless nine times since taking a starting role in 2011 (min. nine attacks).
“The thing that makes Betsy so special, besides the fact I see her as the face of Florida Volleyball, is she really exemplifies what this team is about in terms of working hard, grinding, getting better, as she has throughout her five years,” Wise said. “The other day, she had more digs than she did kills, and she took great pride in her digs. She works hard every day in all aspects of the game.
“She’s not the fastest and she’s not the biggest jumper that we’ve had come through here, but we’ve had few that worked harder,” Wise continued. “Those numbers are a reflection of her work ethic.”
Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 41 assists to set the Gators to their 12th match of 2012 with a hitting percentage of .300 or better. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) scooped a match-high 11 digs and served up a match-high two aces, while sophomore defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) and SEC Offensive Player of the Week Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) turned in nine digs apiece on the afternoon. Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) stuffed a season-high-tying five blocks against the Tigers.
The teams battled to open the match with a Mann-Wiggs stuff block tying the set at 4-4. A Smith kill gave Florida the advantage at 8-7 and the Gators continued to lead throughout much of the opening stanza. An Auburn hitting error gave the Gators their largest lead of the set thus far at 14-11. Unroe served up an ace out of the TV timeout to put Florida ahead, 16-13. A Recek-Smith stuff block continued the three-point Gator lead and a triple block by Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.), Mann and Wiggs put Florida within two of the set victory, 23-18. Back-to-back Mann kills tilted the opening frame in Florida’s favor, 25-19.
Florida came out strong out of the gate in set two, as Mallette slammed three straight kills to put the Gators ahead, 4-1. Back-to-back Gator blocks continued the momentum on Florida’s side, 6-4. Monserez served up an ace out of the Auburn timeout to go ahead, 19-15. Smith began to get into a rhythm towards the middle of the set, putting away three kills in four attempts to get the Gators ahead, 22-15. The Orange and Blue continued to go to their bread and butter, as Mann put away her 12th kill of the afternoon to give the Gators the second set, 25-19.
Out of intermission, the Gators went on a tear, leading 6-1 behind the serves of Smith and Brauneis to force a Tiger timeout. Mann and Smith continued to dominate at the net, as six of Florida’s 12 points were won off kills by Gator middles with the Orange and Blue leading 14-7. Out of Auburn’s second timeout of the set, the Gators continued to surge, as a triple block by Mallette, Mann and Wiggs put Florida ahead 16-9. Sophomore defensive specialist Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) stepped behind the line to serve up four points for Florida to extend its lead to double-digits at 21-10. Unroe served up her second ace of the night to get the Gators within two of the match, 23-11. Recek tooled the block to end the match, 25-15.
TENNESSEE BLANKS ARKANSAS ON THE ROAD, 3-0
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After winning three consecutive five-set matches, the Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team did things a bit quicker on Sunday afternoon, shutting out Arkansas in straight sets, 25-22, 25-22, 25-16, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., to extend its winning streak to four matches.
The Lady Vols improved to 13-5 overall and 6-3 in Southeastern Conference action with the win, while the Razorbacks fall to 14-6 and 5-4 in league play.
“First of all, I was really surprised we were able to come out of here in only three sets,” said head coach Rob Patrick. “We thought this would be the type of match that went back and forth and two of the sets were very tight. We were very fortunate to play cleaner at the end make some plays at the end of sets one and two. I was very happy with the total effort and the way our team carried out the game plan.”
Junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson posted her 40th career and SEC-leading 13th double-double with a match-high 15 kills and 10 digs. Robinson, who played the majority of the match on the right side, committed just three errors on 39 attempts to hit .308 for the Big Orange. Redshirt senior DeeDee Harrison tied a season high with 11 kills, hit .292 and added a match-best seven blocks.
“She’s (Robinson) a talented young lady that we can use all over the court,” said Patrick. “She has so many talented aspects of her game that we can use so we wanted to move her around a little bit to work some different matchups and give the opposing team some problems. She did a fantastic job of playing a very low-error match.”
Defensively, the Lady Vols were once again led by junior libero Ellen Mullins, who followed up her 32-dig night at LSU with 17 against the Hogs. UT had three notch double-digit digs in the match as setter Mary Pollmiller finished with 13 scoops and 27 assists for her ninth double-double of the season. Mullins also added a career-high four aces.
“I couldn’t be happier for Ellen Mullins,” Patrick said. “I’ve said it before, but she’s turning into one of the elite defensive players in our conference and it’s because she works on it. Everything that she has accomplished is because of her hard work. She’s been very coachable doing everything the staff has asked of her and it’s really paying off in her junior year.”
In the middle, sophomore Olivia Okoro – who made her first career start – sent back four Razorback attacks and had three kills. Robinson and redshirt senior Kayla Jeter combined for seven blocks, while Pollmiller and Tiffany Baker added three each. The Lady Vols outblocked the Razorbacks by a 12.5-6 margin.
“Our blocking is getting better. DeeDee had seven blocks today and she did an excellent job of closing the block and making it a little bit easier for our back row players to defend,” said Patrick. “Olivia had four blocks and everyone is our starting front row had three or more blocks. That just goes to show you we’re really playing more consistently on defense and that is allowing us to be more successful.”
Neither team could find their rhythm in the opening set at The Barn as both squads hit below .200, but the Lady Vols got an ace out of Mullins and a block from Okoro and Baker to close out the set on a 3-0 run and take a 1-0 lead with a 25-22 victory. Mullins had two aces in the opening frame, while Robinson added five kills and five digs. The Big Orange had four team blocks, including three assisted from Harrison and got a pair of kills from Okoro and Baker. The set consisted of 10 ties and four lead changes.
The Hogs quickly changed the momentum with the start of the second, opening the frame on a 4-0 run. On the serve of Mullins, the Lady Vols responded with a 4-1 run to level the set at five. Mullins had two aces during the stretch to set her new career high at four. A Nikki Brice ace gave the Lady Vols a 19-17 lead later in the game and forced a Hogs’ timeout. Brice aced the Razorbacks with her first serve out of the timeout and kept the 7-2 Big Orange run going to force set point at 24-18. Arkansas cut the deficit to 24-22, but a Robinson kill gave UT a 25-22 second set win and sent the match to the break.
The third set belonged to Tennessee from the start. The Lady Vols never surrendered the lead and used a blazing 9-1 run, which included two kills and two blocks from Harrison, to cruise past the Razorbacks, 25-16 in the deciding set. It was the fourth sweep of the season for the Orange & White.
Mannari Eclipses 1,000 Digs in Volleyball’s Four-Set Win over Alabama
BATON ROUGE – Meghan Mannari registered a match-high 27 digs and became the latest member of the program’s 1,000 career dig club as the LSU volleyball team wrapped up its season’s long four-match homestand with a 3-1 victory over Alabama [25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23] Sunday at Maravich Center.
“Meghan is the next in line and has certainly carried the banner of our back row proudly and strongly,” head coach Fran Flory said. “She’ll go down in my book as one of the best. It’s sad she missed the matches that she did earlier this season with that ankle injury. She’s such a stabilizing force in our program on-and-off the court. Certainly, she’s the core of our back row defense. Our back row isn’t close to what it is without Meghan on the court.”
For the second consecutive Sunday, LSU (8-11, 4-6 SEC) avenged a road loss from earlier in the season. The Tigers have won 12 of their last 13 meetings with Alabama (14-7, 3-6 SEC) since 2006.
Mannari reached the milestone halfway through the second set, and the 27 scoops is her second-highest output of the 2012 season. She also surpassed former All-American Daniela Romero (2003-06) for 11th place on LSU’s all-time list and sits with 1,013 career digs. The 12th member of LSU’s 1,000 digs club equaled a career-best with six assists.
“As much as everyone does say it, four years really does fly by,” Mannari said. “I think I had a great mentor coming in with Lauren Waclawczyk (also a member of the 1,000 career digs club). She really helped lead the way my first couple of years. Playing alongside of Sam Delahoussaye, it’s just been great. My blockers set up every play for me to help me get this honor. My coaches, I couldn’t thank them anymore. They’ve given me a great four years.”
LSU’s back row was superb en route to an 87-72 digs advantage. Sam Delahoussaye registered 15 scoops, her 11th straight match with double figure digs. She also cut her total in half and moved to within 15 digs of joining Mannari at 1,000 career digs.
LSU tallied 70 kills and a .311 hitting percentage for the match. It marked the third time on the season that the Tigers have attacked at over a .300 rate. Malorie Pardo notched her seventh double-double and handed out a match-best 57 assists to go along with 15 digs.
Madie Jones powered home 25 kills, her second-highest career total, on a scorching .431 hitting clip. She ripped at least six spikes during three of the four frames and pulled within 22 kills of being the 19th player in program history to collect 1,000 career kills.
Desiree Elliott slapped 16 kills, while Helen Boyle compiled another double dip with 14 kills and 10 digs. For Boyle, she cranked seven of her 14 spikes during the fourth stanza. The Boyle-Elliott-Jones trio extended its streak to nine consecutive matches with 10 or more kills.
Khourtni Fears chipped in seven kills and six blocks whereas Cati Leak turned in six kills, 14 digs and three blocks. Leak has corralled 10 or more digs in six of her last eight outings.
Alabama was led by Laura Steiner’s 19 kills, Sierra Wilson’s 50 assists and Cristina Arenas’ 22 digs. Wilson [50 assists, 11 digs] along with Kayla Fitterer [16 kills, 12 digs] compiled double-doubles for the Crimson Tide. Kanesha Burch came away with 10 kills and four blocks.
“We earned every set that we won,” Jones said. “They didn’t give us a whole lot of points. They didn’t have a lot of errors, and they made us earn our points. That’s a high level of success for us and a great step forward.”
After splitting the first 12 points of the opening stanza, LSU pieced together 12 of the next 16 points to surge ahead to an 18-10 lead. Jones sparked the run with five kills. Alabama crept back to within 18-16 as Fitterer smacked two aces. The Tigers regained their bearings and rode Jones to the finish line en route to the 25-20 win. She finished the frame with nine kills on 13 errorless swings.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair that featured 19 ties and six lead changes. Neither team could string together momentum until Alabama ripped off three straight points to go up by a 22-19 margin. The Crimson Tide surge was led by Steiner and Burch kills sandwiched between a Steiner-Burch block on Elliott. LSU fired back with a 6-1 finishing kick to snatch the 25-23 triumph and a two-set advantage. Jones and Elliott combined for five kills, while a Fears-Pardo stuff on Steiner was the clincher. The Tigers racked up an impressive 23 kills and executed a 70 percent sideout rate during the set.
“I actually think the second set was the best set that we played all year because we stayed the course, and we didn’t panic,” Flory said. “This was the first time that another team has made a run, and we didn’t panic. We just stayed within ourselves, stayed true to the game plan and continued to execute at a high level. To have 23 kills, that’s a lot for us. I thought we did a great job at balancing what we needed to do cause Alabama made us earn every point.”
Alabama came out of the locker room and led wire-to-wire during a 25-14 third set victory. The Crimson Tide pounded down 18 kills on 29 flawless swings for a .621 hitting percentage and converted at an 86 percent sideout level. Fitterer, Steiner and Andre McQuad teamed up for 13 of Alabama’s 18 kills.
The two teams traded the first 14 points to start the fourth set. LSU used three consecutive Jones kills and a Fears spike to build an early 11-7 edge. Alabama turned the tables with eight of the next 10 points capped by back-to-back Arenas aces to claim a 15-13 advantage. The Tigers turned to Boyle, who ripped two straight kills to knot the tally at 15-15. Down 20-19, Jones ended a long rally with a cross-court spike which was followed by a Fears-Leak block on Steiner to give LSU a 21-20 lead. All square at 23-23, Boyle banged home her sixth and seventh kills of the set to lift the Tigers to the winner’s circle.