|Kentucky 3-0 South Carolina
|Auburn 3-1 Georgia
|Alabama 3-1 Mississippi State
|Texas A&M 3-1 Arkansas
|LSU 3-1 Ole Miss
|Tennessee 3-2 Florida
Kentucky Beats South Carolina in Straight Sets
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Despite a 12-kill performance from junior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, South Carolina dropped a three-set decision at Kentucky (17-8, 11-4 SEC), as the Wildcats claimed the sets 25-14, 25-18, 25-18, on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky's Lauren O'Conner posted 12 kills on a .455 hitting percentage to lead her squad, while Ashley Frazier added 10 kills. Stephanie Klefot led all players with 15 digs and two aces.
Thévenin hit .417 and added two blocks in the loss for South Carolina (15-12, 3-12 SEC). Sophomore setter Lexie Pawlik had 21 assists, two kills and six digs in the outing.
A strong Kentucky offensive set led to a 25-14 Wildcat win in the first. The Wildcats hit .560 in the set, led by Alexandra Morgan's five kills. The Gamecocks held tight early, down 9-11 after a Wildcat attacking error. Kentucky took control from there, getting two-point streaks to one South Carolina point three successive times before closing the set on an 8-2 run. Thévenin had four kills without an error in the frame for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks landed four blocks in the second set, but Kentucky still prevailed 25-18. The Wildcats ran out to a 13-5 lead before the Gamecocks drew within five at 16-11 after a three-point run that ended with a block assist and kill by Thévenin. Kentucky pushed the advantage to 22-13 after a four-point stand and ended it on
O'Conner's fifth kill of the frame at 25-18. Frazier also had five kills for Big Blue, while Klefot added nine digs. Freshman middle blocker Darian Dozier and Thévenin both had two blocks in the set for the Gamecocks.
Kentucky posted a 25-18 win in the third set, hitting .727 in the final frame. A 7-1 run cemented the Wildcats' win, with the stretch ending at 18-11 after two consecutive O'Conner kills. Shelby Workman put down the last two Kentucky kills to end the match. O'Conner had five kills in the frame for UK, while Thévenin posted seven without an error for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina hung close in blocks, only falling 5-4 there. Kentucky held advantages in the other stat categories.
South Carolina hosts Mississippi State and Tennessee next weekend at the Volleyball Competition Facility. Friday's match against the Bulldogs is slated for a 7 p.m. EST first serve.
Auburn Notches A Win Over Georgia
AUBURN, Ala. - Junior Katherine Culwell had a career-high 21 kills and a season-best 16 digs, and coach Rick Nold earned his 200th career victory as the Auburn volleyball team defeated Georgia 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-15, 25-16) Sunday afternoon at the Student Activities Center.
The Tigers (17-8, 8-7 SEC) won their fourth consecutive SEC match, the first time an Auburn team has accomplished that feat since the 1998 season. And for the second straight outing, the Tigers avenged an early-season loss to a league opponent; Georgia (13-11, 7-8 SEC) downed Auburn in straight sets back on Oct. 12 in Athens.
"It's important to get these wins," Nold said. "But it's as much important to see the style of play we're getting, too. We're playing with a lot more confidence. We've started taking care of the serve-and-pass game, and that just has a big impact on the way we're able to play. Hopefully we can keep building on this and improving as we go through the next few weeks."
Culwell put together one of the best offensive and defensive performance of her career with 21 kills and 16 digs. Her previous career high in kills came earlier this season with a 20-kill performance at Texas A&M, and she fell just two shy of her career-best dig total of 18 (vs. Cincinnati in 2010). She also posted a season-best .345 hitting percentage, earning her 21 kills on 41 attacks with just six errors. The junior from Dallas also contributed four blocks to the winning effort, totaling 24.0 points for the Tigers.
"The interesting thing was that, on Friday (against Arkansas), our offense was run through the middle," Nold said. "The outsides struggled a little bit. I think it says a lot that we're balanced enough that we can come back. Kat had a big game, not just offensively but defensively in terms of blocking and back-row defense. She had a great day, and it helped us a lot."
Senior Sarah Bullock recorded her 11th double-double of the season and her second-straight 20-dig performance, putting down 13 kills along with 20 digs. She also led the Auburn blocking game with five stuffs (two solo, three assist). Junior Chelsea Wintzinger had her team-leading 12th double-double, recorded a match-high 33 assists along with 11 digs, and Sarah Wroblicky also added 11 digs. Camila Jersonsky and Courtney McDonald added three blocks apiece.
Auburn had 58 kills to Georgia's 40 and held the Bulldogs to a .121 hitting percentage. The Tigers also out-dug Georgia, 74-63, but the Bulldogs had more blocks (12-10) and aces (6-4) than Auburn.
Georgia was led by Brittany Northcutt, who had 12 kills, 13 digs and five blocks. Libero Allison Summers had a match-high 27 digs, and Jasmine Eatmon also contributed five blocks.
Nold, in his 11th season as a Division I head coach, now has a career record of 200-125 (.615) with 28 of those wins coming in less than two full seasons at Auburn.
"Those things are important as you look back later on," Nold said of his 200th win, "For us, though, we're trying to get better every week. And obviously the kids are a big part of every win we're trying to get."
Auburn jumped out to a big lead in the first set, 10-3, before the Bulldogs went on a 10-3 run of their own to knot the match at 13-13. However, the Tigers would maintain a slight lead throughout most of the remainder of the set, hitting .279 while holding the Bulldogs to a .190 percentage via five blocks. Culwell had six kills and three blocks in the opening set alone, accounting for nine of the Tigers' 25 points in a 25-23 first-set win. She had the kill to send it to set point at 24-22, then stuffed her third block of the set to end it.
The serve-and-pass game was a nightmare for the Tigers in set two as Georgia ran away with a 25-15 win. The Bulldogs had four aces and took advantage of shaky passing by the Tigers in building an 8-2 lead. Auburn would cut the margin to as few as three points at 17-14, but the Bulldogs would go on a 6-0 run from there, mostly thanks to four straight Auburn errors. The Tigers hit just .040 in the second with eight kills and seven errors while Georgia swung at a .304 clip.
But the final two sets were all Auburn. The Tigers never trailed in set three, building an 11-5 lead and never allowing Georgia closer than four points the rest of the way en route to a 25-15 win. Auburn turned the tables on the Bulldogs in the third with four service errors of their own, two each from Wintzinger and MacKenzy Harper, and got 10 combined kills from Culwell and Bullock.
Set four was close through the first 20 or so rallies, but a 7-0 run midway through the set gave Auburn an 18-12 lead that led to a 25-16 win. Auburn trailed 12-11 before four straight kills by Culwell, followed by a Culwell-McDonald block and another Georgia error, made it 18-12. In all, the Tigers would end the set on a 14-4 run, getting two kills and a block from Bullock in the last four points. Georgia had only four kills against eight errors in the fourth set for a negative-.098 average.
Auburn will wrap up a three-match homestand Friday, Nov. 9, as new SEC member Texas A&M makes its first visit to the Student Activities Center. The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start, and admission is free.
Alabama Downs Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Alabama volleyball team wrapped up their weekend road trip with a 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-23) Southeastern Conference win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs from the Newell-Grissom Building on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 15-12 overall, 4-11 in SEC play, while MSU falls to 4-20 overall and 0-15 in conference play.
Alabama had a balanced attack that saw four players record double-digits in kills. Of the 60 kills recorded by the Tide, Pricilla Duke-Ezeji led the way with a match-high 19. Kayla Fitterer added 15 kills, Laura Steiner added 11 and Kanesha Burch had 10 kills with a match-high .529 hitting percentage. Fitterer added 15 digs to post her 30th career double-double.
Alabama finished the day with a .255 hitting percentage, but started off slow. After opening the match with a .200 hitting mark in the first set, the Tide hit just .118 in a 26-24 second set win. UA’s best offensive numbers came in the third set with a .485 percentage, as the Tide had 17 kills and just one error. Bama closed out the match with a .283 hitting mark in the fourth set.
Defensively, Alabama posted a season-high 14 blocks as four players either set or tied their career-high in total and assisted blocks. Leigh Moyer came off the bench to lead the Tide with six assisted blocks to set a new career-high for assisted and total blocks. Burch also had a career-high with six total blocks, collecting one solo and five assisted blocks. Duke-Ezeji had five total blocks (1 solo, 4 assisted), Steiner added four assisted blocks and Fitterer added three.
The Tide finished the match with 75 digs as Cristina Arenas led the way with 23. Kelsey Melito set a new career- high 16 digs and Sierra Wilson, who had 50 assists, added eight. After allowing Mississippi State to post a .324 hitting percentage in the first set, Alabama held MSU to a .205 mark for the match after limiting the Bulldogs to an .062 mark in the second, a .294 mark in the third and a .200 mark in the fourth.
With the win, Alabama snapped a six-match losing skid and ended a two match losing streak against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State had three players reach double figures in kills with Taylor Scott leading the way with 15. Dani McCree added 14, Chanelle Baker had 11 and Lainey Wyman added 10. Libero Roxanne McVey had a match-high 37 digs, while Scott had 17 to record a double-double for the Bulldogs.
Alabama returns to Southeastern Conference action on Friday, Nov. 9, with a home match against the Kentucky Wildcats. First serve for the match between Alabama and Kentucky is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT, from Foster Auditorium.
Texas A&M Takes Care Of Business Against Arkansas
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M extended its SEC Western Division lead with a 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17 win over second-place Arkansas Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena.
It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Aggies, who improve to 19-5 overall and 11-4 in the SEC to take a two-game lead over the Razorbacks (18-8, 9-6 SEC) in the West.
Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo had 15 kills to lead a contingent of four Aggie players with double-figure kills. Senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller and freshman outside hitter Sierra Patrick added 12 kills apiece -- a career-high for Patrick -- and senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger contributed 10 kills as A&M led Arkansas in kills, 64-51, and also outhit the Razorbacks, .265 to .162.
A&M also had four players with double-figure digs, including senior libero Megan Pendergast, who had a career-high 32 digs, the most by an A&M player since 2010. Junior setter Allie Sawatzky tied her career high with 15 digs while also dishing out 46 assists and posting eight kills, and Kastmo and Mellinger had 14 and 13 digs, respectively, to register double doubles.
The first set was nip-and-tuck from start to finish with 17 ties, three lead changes and nearly identical statistics. A&M opened by scoring the first three points, but that would be its biggest lead as the Razorbacks countered with three points to even the set. The Aggies later held a 10-9 lead when Arkansas used a 4-0 run to take its first lead of the frame. A kill by Kastmo ended the rally, and Arkansas hit long on the next play to put A&M within 13-12. Sawatzky, like she did several times throughout the match, pushed the ball over to a wide-open back corner for a kill to tie the score. The teams then traded sideouts until Mellinger put down an Arkansas overpass to return the lead to A&M, 18-17.
The Aggies held a narrow 21-20 lead when Arkansas posted back-to-back kills and also got an ace following a serve that hit the top of the net and narrowly rolled over and fell on the Aggies' side, putting the Razorbacks up 23-21. Patrick got a kill through the block, and an Arkansas attack sailed long to tie the score for the final time.
On the next play, Sawatzky was whistled for attacking a ball that had been set by the libero in front of the 10-foot, putting the Razorbacks at set point. Roslandy Acosta then closed out the set for the Razorbacks by tooling the A&M block for a kill.
Arkansas had built a 3-1 lead in the second set when a block by senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly and Kastmo marked the start of a 4-0 run that put the Aggies ahead, 5-3. The Razorbacks managed to tie the score at 5-5, but it would be the last tie of the set as Miller and Sawatzky's play at the net led the Aggies on a 5-0 run for a 10-5 lead. A&M later used a 6-1 rally to double up the Razorbacks once again, 18-9. Arkansas got within 23-19 after outscoring the Aggies, 4-1, but the Razorbacks then hit long to put A&M at set point. Mellinger then closed out the set with a kill to even the match at a set apiece.
A&M never trailed in the third set and the only tie was at 2-2. Patrick broke the tie with one of her four kills in the set, sparking a 4-0 run by the Aggies. A&M twice built a seven-point lead, the last coming at 17-10 before Arkansas rallied to get within 19-16. An attack error and a blocking error ended the Razorbacks' run, but Jasmine Norton would put down her seventh kill of the set to keep the Hogs within 21-17. An errant pass by the Razorbacks set up Minnerly for the kill, and Mellinger put A&M up 23-17 with another kill following a long rally that included diving saves by both teams. Sawatzky then got a kill with another one of her strategically placed attacks to the open back corner, putting A&M at set point. Arkansas stayed alive with a block on the ensuing play but then served long to give the Aggies the 25-18 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Aggies, who defeated the Razorbacks, 3-2, in the first-ever meeting between the two teams earlier this season in Fayetteville, jumped out to a 5-0 advantage in the fourth set but didn't take command until, with the score tied at 12-12, A&M outscored the Razorbacks 9-1 to build a 21-13 lead. Arkansas, which was outhit, .333 to .119 in the frame, managed to twice get within five points and was trailing 22-17 when Kastmo got a kill and junior Heather Reynolds registered an ace to put A&M at match point. Miller then capped the victory, executing the slide to perfection and pounding a kill down the line for the winner.
Norton led the Razorbacks with 18 kills and 21 digs in the match.
The Aggies hit the road next weekend, playing at Auburn Friday at 7 p.m. and then facing Georgia for the first time as SEC foes on Sunday in Athens. The match against the Bulldogs begins at 1 p.m. (CT) and will be televised by Comcast/Cox.
LSU Beats Ole Miss In Four Sets
BATON ROUGE, La. - Kara Morgan and Amanda Philpot each recorded double-doubles, but the Ole Miss volleyball team fell 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 22-25, 24-26) on the road to LSU on Sunday afternoon.
The Rebels (10-13, 4-10 Southeastern Conference) got 14 kills and 15 digs out of junior outside hitter Kara Morgan, and a season-high 52 assists and 12 digs from senior setter Amanda Philpot, but couldn't overcome the dynamic LSU attacking duo of Madie Jones and Desiree Elliott.
"I thought we played fairly well," Ole Miss head volleyball coach Joe Getzin said. "We're continuing to improve and I thought we built on Friday night. We just didn't make a couple plays at the end to take it to a fifth set."
Ole Miss freshman middle blocker Ty Laporte led the Rebels offensively with a team-high 16 kills, as four Rebels reached double figures in kills. Freshman middle blocker Nakeyta Clair was one of those four Rebels, as she finished with 14 kills and a season-high six block assists. Senior right side hitter Allegra Wells finished with 12 kills and four block assists. Senior libero Ashley Veach was a defensive stalwart for the Rebels, recording a team-high 21 digs.
The Rebels jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in the opening set, but couldn't hold off the home-standing Tigers. Trailing by three points at 18-21, Ole Miss went on a 3-1 run to cut the deficit to one, but would get no closer as LSU scored the final four points of the set.
Ole Miss got off to a fast start again in the second set, jumping out to a 6-3 lead. After giving up the lead for the first time in the set at 10-11, the Rebels responded with a 5-1 run to take a 15-12 lead and prompt an LSU timeout. Ole Miss held on for the remainder of the set to tie the match at 1 set apiece with a 25-21 victory in set two.
It was LSU's turn to get the fast start in set three, as the Tigers came out of the gates on a 6-2 run that forced the Rebels into a timeout. Ole Miss found themselves down 10-15 midway through the third set, but fought back valiantly to tie the set at 22-22, but LSU would score the final three points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Junior outside hitter Kiley Sherman came in to start the fourth set and provided the Rebels with a spark, tallying five kills on 10 attempts. After coming out on a 9-4 run to start the fourth set, Ole Miss couldn't keep the momentum going, as LSU fought back to take the match's final frame 26-24 in a hard-fought set and match.
Ole Miss will return home this week with matches against Tennessee and Florida at the Gillom Sports Center. The rebels will face Tennessee on Friday at 7 p.m. CT, and the Gators on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
Tennessee Hands No. 13 Florida A Loss
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team won an epic five-set battle over No. 13 Florida on Sunday, topping the Gators 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 27-29, 25-23, 19-17) in front of 2,475 fans at the O'Connell Center. It was Florida's first conference loss of the campaign.
The win, which marks UT's first three-match win streak over UF since 1989, improves Tennessee to 17-6 overall and 10-4 in Southeastern Conference play. Florida drops to 19-4 overall and 13-1 in the SEC.