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    SEC Volleyball Today: Friday, October 4

    Friday Volleyball RESULTS
    Kentucky 3, Ole Miss 0
    Arkansas 3, South Carolina 2
    Georgia 3, Tennessee 0
    Missouri 3, Auburn 0
    Florida 3, Texas A&M 0


    Wildcats Roll to 3-0 in SEC with Sweep of Ole Miss

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-16, 25-8) of Ole Miss to secure its best start to Southeastern Conference play since 2009 in front of a raucous, season-best crowd at Memorial Coliseum Friday night.

    The Wildcats (11-3, 3-0 SEC) dominated the front line to secure a 7-2 advantage in blocks over the Rebels (10-6, 0-3) before 2,400 fans. UK was just as good on the offensive side of things, with a 41-24 kills advantage and a hitting percentage of .439 that was over .350 above Mississippi’s .078.

    “Pretty much everything,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said about what he liked from his team’s offensive attack. “Whitney (Billings) behind (the setter) was working, the middles were getting involved and I wish we could get Zan (Morgan) more kills. She’s such a valuable side attacker. But our defense was good again, holding an SEC team under .100 is pretty good.

    As for the crowd, the electric atmosphere gave the Wildcats an added boost from the start. The fans which made up the season high crowd had plenty to cheer for, even though the noise level was high before the first ball was even served.

    “Right at the beginning, the Blue and White cheer going across the gym, if that doesn’t get you pumped to play, I don’t know what does,” Skinner said. “I have to give a lot of credit to our fans for showing up in big numbers tonight and making it one heck of a Division-I environment.”

    The fans witnessed senior Whitney Billings notch a match-high 12 kills for a career best .600 hitting clip. Junior Lauren O’Conner added 10 kills for a .429 hitting percentage, also a career high. Junior Jackie Napper’s 18 digs led the match, while sophomore Morgan Bergren dished out 30 assists. Freshman Anni Thomasson contributed 10 digs and eight kills. Bergren and Napper each had two of UK’s seven service aces.

    The Wildcats earned a 25-13 win in the first set, thanks to a blistering .484 hitting clip. Five kills came off the arm of Billings, while O’Conner contributed four. UK had a 3-0 advantage in blocks, with two from Morgan. The frame started with a 2-0 Kentucky lead, and after it was tied at three, the Wildcats started to pull away with a 5-0 run. Ole Miss scored three of the next four, but UK answered with five straight again to make it a 14-6 game. The two continued to trade points until, at 18-12, Kentucky scored seven of the last eight points to secure the victory and a 1-0 lead.

    Kentucky used a 7-0 run to cap the second frame for a 25-16 win. UK found itself down 1-0 to start the stanza, but it quickly fought back to take a 7-4 lead. Ole Miss rallied to tie the set at seven, but Kentucky answered with a 7-1 run to take a 14-8 lead. The Rebels got within three points three times, and within two at 18-16, but that was the last tally they would score before the Wildcats tallied the final seven points. Billings had five kills and hit .714 for the second straight frame, while Napper had five digs to put her into double digits in the scoop column.

    The third set saw UK turn it up an extra notch and win 25-8. The Wildcats hit .481, with a 14-5 advantage in kills. Kentucky opened with a 5-0 lead, which it extended to 7-1 and 9-2. In the stanza, UK did not allow Ole Miss to record more than one consecutive point, and the Wildcats’ lowest point streak was two in a row. Junior Alyssa Gergins and redshirt freshman Kelsey Wolf made their Wildcat debuts in the third. Wolf knotted her first dig, while Gergins posted her first assist with the Blue and White.

    Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

    Razorbacks Rally In Fifth Set For Program’s 400th Win

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied from a four-point deficit in the fifth set Friday to defeat South Carolina (25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-12) and register the program’s 400th win. The Razorbacks were paced by a career-high performance from senior libero Emily Helm who tallied 31 digs. Offensively, three players had double-digit kill totals including a team-high 14 kills from junior Meredith Hays.

    Friday’s result pushes Arkansas to 10-5 this season with a 3-1 record in Southeastern Conference play and gives South Carolina (9-6, 1-2 SEC) its first home loss of the season. With the win, the Razorbacks also improve to 3-1 this season in five-set matches.

    Helm’s match marks the first 31-dig effort by a Razorback since 2007. Freshmen Barbara Dapic and Breana Jones each had 11 kills against the Gamecocks. Hays—14 kills and 11 digs—and senior Raymariely Santos—28 assists and 12 digs—posted double-doubles for the second-consecutive match.

    With the Gamecocks taking the fourth set, Friday’s match came down to a decisive fifth game. South Carolina led 8-5 when the teams switched sides but the Razorback won seven of the next eight point to take an 12-9 lead after back-to-back kills by Jones and a Carolina attack error. On match point, Hays powered through the Gamecocks’ block for a kill to complete the fifth-set rally.

    Arkansas used an early three-point surge to go ahead 5-2 in the opener and never trailed again in the set. The Razorbacks led by as many as five in the game with South Carolina pulling to within one late but Dapic found the floor to give Arkansas set point. On the team’s second set point, Hays tallied her fifth kill of the match to clinch game one.

    In a set that featured nine ties, the Gamecocks evened the match score with a win in game two. The Razorbacks responded with a win in set three to take a 2-1 match lead. Arkansas turned a one-point lead into a 12-6 advantage to grab control of the game. The lead grew to as much as 10 before senior Hayley Koop went deep for a kill to clinch the set win. Arkansas posted a .387 hitting percentage in the third frame.

    The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville to close out their week with a Sunday matchup with Auburn. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. (CT) at Barnhill Arena. Sunday’s match will represent the 40th meeting between the two programs with Arkansas holding a 32-7 advantage in the series. The teams split a pair of meetings last year with each winning on its home floor.

    Georgia Shuts Out Tennessee 3-0

    ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia volleyball team shut out the Tennessee Lady Vols  3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-23) on Friday, Oct. 4 in front of a crowd of 1,041 in the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga. The win was the first time since Nov. 1, 2002 that Georgia defeated the Lady Vols in straight sets. With the win, Georgia improves to 12-3 on the year and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Tennessee falls to 8-8 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. The match was Georgia’s annual Dig for a Cure match, as fans donated $1,766 to the Athens Regional Breast Health Center.

    “This is the first time we’ve been back at home in a really long time,” Head Coach Lizzy Stemke said. “Tennessee came out and did a nice job exposing a couple things but we were able to start working through some of that. I thought game two was pretty solid but we’ll need to sharpen up for the match against Ole Miss on Sunday. The thing that I am most excited about is that we were able to come from behind and maintain composure and get the win.”

    Brittany Northcutt led the team with 11 kills, followed by Stacey Smith and Jasmine Eatmon with nine kills each. Lauren Teknipp added eight kills, while Tirah Le’au finished with six. As a team, the Bulldogs recorded seven service aces, including two each by Le’au, Northcutt and Kaylee Kehoe. Kehoe led the team with 22 assists. Defensively, Le’au led the Bulldogs with three blocks, including two solo stops. Eatmon tallied two blocks. Allison Summers paced Georgia’s defense with 10 kills.

    Tennessee took an early 9-5 lead in the first set, causing Georgia to use an early timeout. Georgia matched Tennessee point-for-point until a kill by Eatmon sparked a 3-0 run that tied the set at 15. The score tied twice before Eatmon found the court for a kill that gave the Bulldogs a 17-16 lead and forced a Tennessee timeout. The Bulldogs kept the lead for the remainder of the set and scored the final three points, including the set winner on a solo block by Le’au, to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-21 set one win.

    The teams kept the second set close in the opening possessions, tying three times before the Bulldogs scored three straight points, including one on a service ace by Le’au that gave Georgia an 8-5 lead. Back-to-back kills by Teknipp put Georgia up by four at 10-6. Two more kills made it a 12-7 set and caused the Lady Vols to use their first timeout of the set. The Bulldogs took the first two points out of the break that extended their lead to 14-7. Tennessee cut the lead to three at 19-16, but using the service of Kehoe, the Bulldogs scored the final five points, including the final three on Smith kills, to take a 25-16 set two win.

    Georgia and Tennessee kept the third set close, tying 12 times before consecutive Georgia points gave the Bulldogs a 14-12 lead. Following a Tennessee timeout, the score knotted twice, but a Northcutt kill ignited a 4-0 Georgia run that resulted in a 20-16 Bulldog lead. The Lady Vols scored five-straight points to take a 22-21 lead, but Georgia fought back and registered consecutive kills that gave it a 23-22 advantage. After a Tennessee kill, the Bulldogs sealed the match with back-to-back points that gave them a 25-23 set three win.

    Georgia gets back in action on Sunday, Oct. 6 when it faces the Ole Miss Rebels at 1:30 p.m.

    Mizzou Volleyball Moves to 18-0 with Sweep of Auburn

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou volleyball team rode a balanced offensive attack to a 3-0 (27-25, 25-11, 25-21) sweep of Auburn on Friday night (Oct. 4) at the Hearnes Center. The win improved the Tigers to 18-0 on the season as they remain as one of four unbeaten teams in the nation. The Tigers are also now 3-0 in the SEC, marking the first time since 2005 that Mizzou has opened conference play 3-0. The Tigers got 10 kills from both senior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and junior Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.). Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) added a career-high eight kills in the win while spreading 32 assists and guiding Mizzou to .351 hitting.

    “I am very pleased with our effort tonight – that is a very good Auburn team that we beat and this was a very difficult week for us,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “Having to play at Arkansas Wednesday and getting home late that night and then having just one day to prepare for Auburn, we knew it was going to be difficult. The first set was tough, but we did a good job battling and I am really glad to come out of here with a win tonight.”

    Mizzou was led by a balanced offensive attack Friday night as Henning and Wilson did most of the damage with 10 kills each, but Kreklow added eight kills and Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) added seven on .333 hitting. Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) pitched in six kills on .333 hitting and classmate Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) also pitched in four kills on eight errorless attacks from the middle. Little led the Tigers with four blocks (two solo, two assists) as she did a good job of slowing down Preseason All-SEC honoree Camila Jersonsky, who had seven kills and four errors in the match.

    In the back row, Kan led the way with 10 digs in the match while Henning pulled in eight. Freshman Loxley Keala (Honolulu, Hawaii) added seven as did junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.). In all, Mizzou hit .351 in the match, marking the 16th time in 18 matches that Mizzou has hit .333 or better this season. Also worth nothing was the Tigers’ performance in the serving game on Friday as they kept Auburn out of system for much of the night, tallying eight total aces. Henning led the way with a career-high five in the win.

    Auburn came out firing on all cylinders in the first set and wound up taking a 20-17 lead, forcing a Mizzou stoppage as the Tigers were in danger of dropping the first set for the first time this season. But the Tigers rallied out of the timeout as Kan tallied a pair of kills and teamed with Thater for a big block as Mizzou wound up tying the set at 21-all. It was back and forth from there as Mizzou fended off a pair of set points and took a lead at 26-25 after a big transition kill from Little. Kan then ended it on the next point with a kill, clinching the set at 27-25.

    The Tigers then used a great serving effort to run away with the second set, 25-11, its largest set win of the season. The Tigers used four aces in the set, all from Henning, as they went on a 9-0 run with her on the serve to put the set away. Auburn was again very competitive in the third set, shoring up its passing issues and gave Mizzou a battle. With the set tied at 18-18, Kreklow, as she did all night, dumped on two to give the Tigers a 19-18 lead and that sparked a 3-0 run for Mizzou as it closed it out from there with a 25-21 set win.

    Mizzou will look to match its school-record start to a season as it looks for win No. 19 against Austin Peay on Tuesday (Oct. 8) at the Hearnes Center.

    Wise Earns 700th Gator Victory as No. 3 Florida Volleyball Sweeps Texas A&M

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Behind a flawless night for Florida's middles and double-digit kills for two Gator underclassmen, the No. 3 Florida volleyball team swept Texas A&M, 3-0 (25-9, 25-23, 25-17), in front of a season-high 3,533 Gator faithful Friday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The victory gave Florida head coach Mary Wise her 700th win at the helm of the Gator program.

    Sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi tallied a match-high 12 kills on 19 swings for a .632 hitting percentage, adding two blocks to lead all players with a match-high 13.5 points. Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann was also errorless on the night, hitting a match-high .643 with nine kills on 14 swings for her seventh error-free performance of 2013.

    Quick Hits:

    *         Freshman Alex Holston turned in her eighth match of the season hitting at .400 and above. The Gator rookie hit .474 with 10 kills on 19 swings.

    *         Mann is hitting .468 for her career, as she is the NCAA active leader in the category and sits even with the NCAA record holder in career hitting percentage, Penn State's Arielle Wilson (.468). Mann needs 250 more attempts to be eligible for the NCAA record (approx. 17 attacks/reg. season match).

    *         Senior setter Taylor Brauneis dished out 32 assists for the Orange and Blue while narrowly missing a double-double with eight digs. Brauneis set Florida to a .369 hitting percentage, the 12th time the Gators have hit above .300 in 2013.

    *         Junior defensive specialist Madison Monserez scooped a match-high 11 digs Friday night, her second double-digit dig output of the season.

    *         Junior libero Taylor Unroe has not registered a reception error in 10 straight matches and tallied nine digs against the Aggies.

    *         Against Texas A&M, Florida is now 8-0 all-time, including 6-0 under head coach Mary Wise.