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    SEC Volleyball Today: Friday, November 8

    Volleyball RESULTS
    Kentucky 3, South Carolina 0
    Ole Miss 3, Tennessee 1
    Missouri 3, Auburn 0
    Alabama 3, Arkansas 1
    LSU 3, Georgia 2
    Texas A&M 3, Mississippi State 0

     

    No. 20 UK Posts Season’s Largest Kill-Margin in Sweep of USC

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – In one of its most dominating outings of the season, the University of Kentucky volleyball team made quick work of South Carolina with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-19) sweep Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.

    The Wildcats (17-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) held their opponents to under 20 points in each set for the third time this season and limited the Gamecocks (12-12, 3-8 SEC) to just .061 hitting with 23 kills in the match. UK posted 47 kills on the night with a .269 hitting clip for its largest kill margin of the season.

    “I liked our aggressive serving,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “I thought we did a good job from the serving line. We picked up our defense after the first set. In the first set, we had only five digs, it was nice to pick that up and get some people involved offensively like Kayla Tronick and Anni Thomasson. It was good to see that the people that went in were able to maintain the same level of play for us.

    “One of the nice things about this group is when they go in, they know exactly where to be, they know exactly how to line up. We were very organized positionally, and that speaks to our experience and training in the gym.”

    Kentucky never led by less than 2 points after opening each frame with 4-0, 3-0 and 3-0 runs. The Wildcats held their opponent to under 20 points in every set for the third time this season, and the 23 kills and .061 hitting clip by USC is the lowest for a UK foe.

    UK out-blocked the Gamecocks 6-5, while the Wildcats posted four service aces to USC’s one. Four Kentucky players had at least seven kills, while no South Carolina player had more than six.

    The offensive attack was led by freshman Anni Thommason’s match-high 12 kills. Senior Whitney Billings added nine in addition to six digs, two blocks and one of UK’s four service aces. Fellow senior Alexandra Morgan contributed seven kills for a .357 hitting clip along with a match-high-tying three blocks.
     
    Sophomore Kayla Tronick, making her first start of the season, posted nine kills and hit .353 with three blocks. Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren dished out 38 assists in addition to having two kills and two service aces, and redshirt freshman Kelsey Wolf recorded a career-best nine digs. Sophomore Shelby Workman and junior Lauren O’Conner each registered four kills. Junior libero Jackie Napper notched 10 digs on the night.

    “Kayla has been playing well in practice and she deserves the opportunity to play,” Skinner said. “Morgan is comfortable setting to her and it adds some diversity to the offense. Jessi Greenberg did a great job serving for us during our scoring runs as well.”

    The Wildcats close out the weekend Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against LSU at Memorial Coliseum. The contest, which will be broadcast by the UK/IMG Network will air on Fox Sports South in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. The match will also be available on the radio on 1580 AM and online at UKathletics.com.

    Thanks to a 16-9 advantage in kills, including a set-high five from Thomasson, the Wildcats opened the match with a 25-17 win. Billings notched four kills, while Wolf had three of UK’s five digs. Kentucky had three blocks in the frame, including two assists from Morgan. It didn’t take long for UK to gain the advantage, which it did by opening up a 4-0 lead. The Gamecocks wouldn’t let the Wildcats extend their lead past five points until the Blue and White scored three straight to take a 15-8 lead. UK’s lead was cut to five at 20-15, but the Wildcats scored five of the final seven points to secure the opening-frame victory.

    For the second straight set, the Wildcats opened with a lead, this time a 3-0 margin before USC’s first point. The Blue and White used a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 13-5, and another 3-0 stretch to make it a 19-10 contest. For the second straight set, UK only allowed USC to score three consecutive points once, and the Gamecocks only managed two 2-0 runs. Kentucky closed the frame with three of the final four points for a 25-15 win. The Wildcats hit .159 in the set with 15 kills, but held South Carolina to -.065 hitting with just three kills. Thomasson notched another five kills to put her into double digits, while Tronick posted four with two blocks. Wolf had four digs and Bergren notched two service aces on consecutive serves.

    Kentucky once again jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third frame, an advantage it would not give up in a 25-19 victory. The Wildcats extended their lead to 5-1 and 11-4. USC mustered a 3-0 run to get within four at 13-9 and a 2-0 run to cut the deficit at 16-12, but the Gamecocks could get no closer. South Carolina staved off three straight set points, but Whitney Billings prevented a fourth-consecutive USC tally with a kill to end the match at 25-19. Morgan and Workman each posted four kills in the frame, while Billings added three as UK hit .395 with 16 kills. The Kentucky defense held USC to nine kills on a .107 hitting clip.

    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.






    Rebels Defeat Tennessee 3-1

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Ole Miss volleyball team continued its strong offensive play of late, and paired that with another impressive defensive performance to notch its second-straight road victory. Led by four double-digit kill performances and another double-double from freshman setter Aubrey Edie, the Rebels defeated Tennessee 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-18) Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the Lady Vols.

    The Rebels’ victory gave Ole Miss its first season sweep of Tennessee since 2007. Ole Miss topped Tennessee 3-1 on Oct. 18 in Oxford.

    “Being on this long road stretch, I was really pleased with how the team responded tonight,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We’ve talked all season about clicking on all cylinders, and we’re starting to do that. We’re hitting well and we’re digging well.”

    Edie’s double-double was her team-high sixth of the season, and her second in as many matches. The Fayetteville, Ark., native finished the match with 47 assists, one shy of her season high, and 10 digs. Freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow led Ole Miss offensively with a career-high 16 kills and five block assists. Sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair, who had a career-high 19 kills Wednesday night in a 3-1 victory at Mississippi State, hammered down 15 kills Friday at Tennessee. Fellow sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte had 11 kills, two solo blocks and five block assists, while senior outside hitter Kara Morgan had 10 kills on a season-best .526 clip, and eight digs.

    Defensively, Ole Miss held Tennessee to a .142 attacking percentage, had 11.0 total blocks and out-dug the Lady Vols 50-40. Junior libero Cara Fisher, who had a career-high 17 digs Wednesday at Mississippi State, tallied a team-high 11 digs Friday against the Lady Vols.

    Ole Miss (13-12, 3-9 Southeastern Conference) trailed for the majority of the first set, but stayed within striking distance throughout. That tenacity paid dividends as the Rebels went on a 3-0 run to take their first lead of the set at 20-19. Following a Tennessee timeout, Ole Miss scored two of the next three points and forced the Lady Vols (9-17, 1-11 SEC) into their second timeout of the set. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, the Lady Vols got hot from there, closing out the set on a 5-1 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-23 first-set victory. Clair had six kills in the opening sets, and Edie passed out 11 assists.

    Similar to the first set, Ole Miss stayed close to the Lady Vols after Tennessee jumped out to an early lead, and again used a 3-0 run to take its first lead of the set at 13-12. After the Rebels extended their lead to three at 18-15, Tennessee called its first timeout of the set. The Rebels continued their strong play after the timeout break, and evened the match at one set apiece with a 25-18 win in the second set. Edie shined in the second set for Ole Miss, accumulating 13 assists, three digs, one kill and one block assist. As a team, Ole Miss hit at a .312 clip in the set.

    Ole Miss got off to a strong start in the third set, and never trailed en route to taking a 2-1 lead in the match with a convincing 25-14 victory. Ole Miss hit at a fantastic .632 clip in the third set, highlighted by four kills each from Clair and Crow, and 10 assists from Edie. The Rebels’ .632 hitting percentage, in which they notched 14 kills on 19 attempts with just two errors, was their highest clip in a set this season.

    Ole Miss continued its impressive play in the fourth set by hitting at a .317 clip and cruised to a 25-18 victory to seal the match. Crow had a set-high six kills in the final game, and Edie passed out another 13 assists to go with her six digs.

    The Rebels return home Sunday for their first home match since Oct. 20. It will be the first and only matchup of the season between Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The Aggies, as a team, entered the weekend ranked in the top-five in the league in hitting percentage (.244), assists (13.32 per set), kills (14.29 per set) and digs (15.70 per set). At the net, redshirt-freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers is second in the league in blocks, averaging 1.23 blocks per set.

    Sunday is also Military Appreciation Day at the Gillom Sports Center. Retired and currently active military members will receive two free football tickets to the Ole Miss football game against Troy scheduled for Nov. 16.






    No. 7 Mizzou Sweeps Auburn to Move to 28-0

    AUBURN, Ala. – The seventh-ranked Mizzou volleyball team rode the production of its pin hitters to sweep Auburn, 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-22), on Friday night (Nov. 8) to improve to a national-best 28-0 and 12-0 in SEC play. Mizzou remains atop the SEC standings and is one of just two unbeaten teams in the nation. The Tiger pin hitting trio of All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) and junior Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) combined for 40 kills on .407 hitting as Henning led Mizzou with 17 on .382 hitting. Kan added 12 kills on .400 hitting while Wilson pitched in 11 on .455 hitting, seven of which came in the clinching third set.

    “I was really pleased with our effort tonight,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “Auburn is a very good team and had won six of seven coming into tonight but I thought we did really well in the serve-and-pass game today and we did a good job of keeping them out of system. We were in system most of the night and our outsides did a nice job of ending rallies.”

    Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was great as usual in the sweep, spreading 42 assists on 52 Tiger kills, guiding Mizzou to .357 hitting. She also picked up 10 digs to go along with her 42 assists for her 10th double-double of the season. Kan also had a double-double with 10 digs with her 12 kills. Junior All-SEC middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) had six kills on .400 hitting with seven total blocks, two of which were solo as she is now tied for second place in Mizzou history with 37 solo blocks this season. Junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) led the way with 11 digs in the sweep.

    Known for its high-octane offense, Mizzou came out firing in the first set and posted 18 kills on .459 hitting as it blitzed the home Tigers to a 25-17 set win. Kan, after posing just six kills in the first meeting between the two teams, matched that total in the first set alone, doing so on just eight swings. Henning matched her with six kill on nine swings and Little added three kills. In all, Kreklow spread 14 assists in the opening frame as Mizzou got kills from five different players.

    Mizzou carried that momentum into the second set and immediately opened a six-point cushion at 12-6. But Auburn ran off five of the next six to pull within two at 13-11, forcing a Mizzou timeout. Mizzou responded and reopened a three-point cushion until Auburn rallied with two consecutive points to pull within one at 21-20 after a Mizzou error. It stayed close and the longest rally of the match came with Mizzou up 22-21. After a long rally, the Tigers got a huge kill from Henning to end the rally, putting them on top, 23-21. Mizzou then ended the set with a pair of blocks to escape with a 25-21 set win. Henning had six kills on 10 swings in the second and Kan added four on nine attempts. Through two sets, the Tiger pin hitting combination of Henning and Kan had 22 kills on .528 hitting with nine digs.

    Wilson started to assert herself in the third set as she tallied four kills early in the frame as Mizzou ran out to a 11-10 lead. But Auburn used its block to open a 16-13 lead on three consecutive attack errors, forcing a timeout from Wayne Kreklow. That rallied the team as Mizzou scored the next four points in the match to reopen a 17-16 lead, using the block to do so. Although Auburn kept things close, Wilson tallied her seventh kill of the set to open a 21-18 lead, forcing an Auburn stoppage. After Auburn made it close, Henning took over as Mizzou escaped the third set with a 25-22 win. Wilson had seven kills on nine attempts with just one error in the third set.

    Mizzou will play at Alabama on Sunday in a crucial SEC showdown at 1:30 p.m. at Foster Auditorium. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter MizzouVB.
     




    Alabama Volleyball Defeats Arkansas in Four Sets

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama completed the season sweep of the Arkansas Razorbacks with a 3-1 (25-11, 26-24, 19-25, 25-21) Southeastern Conference victory on Friday night from Foster Auditorium.

    The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 3-1 when the teams met in Fayetteville back on Oct. 11.With the victory, Alabama has won its lead three matches and improves to 20-6 overall and 7-4 in SEC play. Arkansas drops to 14-11 overall and 7-7 in SEC play.

    The 20th win marks the first 20-win season for Alabama since the 2005 season, when that team posted 23 victories. It is just the seventh time that a Tide volleyball team reached the 20-win mark since reestablishing the program in 1989.

    The Crimson Tide got a match-high 16 kills from Krystal Rivers, as the redshirt freshman posted a .357 hitting percentage. River also added four total blocks with one solo and three assisted. Mattie Weldy dropped 14 kills on the Razorbacks, notching her seventh double-digit kills match of the season.

    Alabama closed the match with 11 total blocks, as Katherine White led the way with six total blocks, including two solo and four assisted blocks. Arkansas finished the night with 11.5 total blocks, as the Tide finished the evening with a .179 hitting percentage. The Tide limited the Razorbacks to a .082 hitting percentage, holding Arkansas to a .071 mark in the first set, and .000 in the second and fourth sets.

    Sierra Wilson dished out a match-high 43 assists to go along with eight digs, two aces and two assisted blocks. Brittany Thomas had eight kills and nine digs and Andrea McQuaid had five kills with three aces, three digs and three assisted blocks. Kryssi Daniels led the Tide with 14 digs and Bria Green had a career-high 12 digs to go along with three kills.

    For the Razorbacks, Meredith Hays and Barbara Dapic had 10 kills each to lead the way. Ana Sofia Josino had five kills and a team-high five assisted blocks. Emily Helm had a match-high 22 digs.

    Alabama rolled the Razorbacks in the first set, posting a 25-11 victory to get the match started. The Tide posted a .632 hitting percentage in the opening set, recording 13 kills with one error on 19 total attempts.

    In the second set, Arkansas held set-point at 24-22, but the Crimson Tide rallied late and scored the final four points of the set for a 26-24 win, taking a 2-0 lead in the match. After a Thomas hitting error gave the Razorback set-point, UA got a kills from Rivers and three hitting errors by Arkansas to win the set. Bama took a 25-24 lead following a solo block by Rivers.

    Arkansas controlled the flow of the third set, leading by as many as eight points at 20-12 before Bama cut the deficit to four (21-17) following back-to-back aces by Wilson. That was as close as the Tide got in the set, as the Razorbacks scored three of the final four points to win the third set, 25-19.

    In the fourth set, the Tide trailed 15-9 before going on an 8-0 run to take a 17-15 lead. After a kill by Weldy made the score 15-10, Kelsey Melito served seven straight points for the Tide, before Arkansas ended the run with a kill by Hayley Koop. Bama stretched its lead to 22-19 following a kill by Rivers, before a block by Rivers and Weldy gave the Tide set-point at 24-20. After an Alabama service error, the final point of the night came on a serving error by the Razorbacks’ Meredith Hays.  

    The Tide closes the weekend with a Sunday afternoon match against the No. 7 ranked Missouri Tigers. First serve is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. CT from Foster Auditorium.
     




    LSU Volleyball Uses Balanced Effort to Outlast Georgia

    ATHENS, Ga. – The LSU volleyball team used double-doubles from Helen Boyle, Cati Leak, Katie Lindelow and Malorie Pardo to secure a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Georgia [27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11] Friday at the Ramsey Center.

    With the victory, LSU (15-7, 5-5 SEC) moved into a sixth-place tie with Arkansas and Auburn in the SEC standings. The Tigers have notched wins in 14 of the last 17 meetings with UGA (17-8, 7-6 SEC) since 2005 but five of the last seven decisions have gone five sets. It was only the Bulldogs second home loss in 12 matches this season.

    Pardo handed out 56 assists to go along with 16 digs en route to her team-leading 14th double dip of the season. She fueled a quartet of hitters to double digit spikes as the Tigers connected for 66 kills and a .265 hitting percentage.

    “As a coaching staff, we’ve kept saying that when we get everyone playing well and consistent at the same time we’re going to be awfully good,” head coach Fran Flory said. “Tonight was a huge step in that direction. Our pin hitters (Boyle, Leak and Lindelow) all did a great job of being creative offensively. They hit great shots and didn’t swing just to put the ball on the floor. They were shot makers and kill producers rather than being just physical players. Their volleyball mentality during this match is what you get when you learn to do those things. It’s a huge step in their maturation, and it goes back to Malorie creating the right swing for them.”    

    Briana Holman cranked a match-leading 17 kills, two shy of a career-high and tacked on seven blocks. She saved her best effort for the winner-take-all fifth set and powered home five kills on seven errorless swings during the frame.

    LSU’s pin hitters of Boyle, Leak and Lindelow accounted for 40 kills, 40 digs and 12 blocks. All three players also garnered double-doubles for the Tigers.

    Boyle slapped 14 kills and registered 12 digs to claim her first double dip since LSU’s SEC opener which also came against Georgia. Leak belted 14 kills on a .333 hitting ratio, reeled in 17 digs and matched a season’s best with five blocks whereas Lindelow picked up 12 kills, 11 digs, equaled a career-best five stuffs and converted on 36-of-37 of her reception attempts.

    LSU also received eight kills and five blocks from Desiree Elliott. On the back row, Haley Smith tucked away 14 digs.    

    The Bulldogs were paced by Stacey Smith (13 kills), Brittany Northcutt (12 kills, 16 digs), Jasmine Eatmon (10 kills) and Lauren Teknipp (10 kills). UGA’s back row was sparked by Allison Summers’ 18 scoops.

    “This win was very crucial for our team,” Pardo said. “We knew it was a big match, and I’m glad we were able to pull it off. This type of win is really going to help us get to where we want to be at the end of the season.”

    LSU raced out to a 5-0 edge to open the fifth set. Holman provided two kills and was involved in two blocks to ignite the flurry. The Bulldogs answered back with five straight points of their own capped by a Northcutt ace. After trading the next six points, the Tigers broke the 8-8 deadlock with five of the next seven points to regain a 13-10 advantage aided by two kills each from Boyle and Holman. UGA sided out, but LSU closed out the 15-11 victory after a Bulldog service error coupled with a Smith ace.  

    “I’m really proud of how hard we fought especially in the fifth set,” Flory said. “We got up 5-0 and then they put a little pressure on us. We were trying to win the match with one or two touches. Typically when we haven’t got into that type of attitude, we haven’t been able to stop and self-destructed. I’m amazing proud of how our players regained their composure and regrouped. Briana did a great job down the stretch, and you have to credit Malorie. They weren’t connecting, and it was a huge point of frustration during the middle of the match. Malorie was a great leader on the court for us and was able to create for Briana when we needed it the most.”  

    LSU continues its stretch of five matches over a 10-day span and wraps up its weekend road swing with a Sunday matinee at No. 20 Kentucky. First serve is slated for 12 p.m. CT, and the match will be televised regionally by FSN South. Free live audio and live stats will be available inside the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net/live.

    Desiree Elliott will continue LSU’s legacy of serving the community. She is teaming up with St. Vincent de Paul and Bishop Ott Shelter Program for her season-long senior class philanthropy project. The Tigers will be collecting items ranging from children’s clothes and shoes along with baby supplies and toys at every home match as part of the “Geaux Kids” initiative. Fans will be able to donate items inside the “Geaux Kids” boxes located at the Tiger Fan Zone.
     




    Texas A&M Sweeps Mississippi State

    STARKVILLE, Miss – Texas A&M made its first-ever match at Mississippi State a quick one, taking less than an hour and a half to defeat the Bulldogs, 25-17, 25-21, 25-15, tonight at the Newell-Grissom Building.

    A&M hit a season-high .439, posting 50 kills in 98 attempts while committing a season-low seven errors. Aggie sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak led all players with 17 kills -- the most kills by an A&M player in a three-set match this season -- while hitting .517. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky orchestrated a balanced offense as six A&M players posted four or more kills each. Sawatzky tallied 37 assists and also pitched in eight kills while hitting .636.

    Senior libero Heather Reynolds anchored A&M’s back row play with a team-high 16 digs, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers spearheaded the front-row defense with five blocks as A&M held the Bulldogs to a .214 hitting efficiency.

    Mississippi State held a 15-14 lead in the tightly contested first half of the opening set before the Aggies got kills from freshman outside hitter Emily Hardest, Sawatzky and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan to return the lead to A&M. Mississippi State got a kill to end the run, but Sullivan came right back with a kill and two blocks, and the Aggies went on to build a 22-16 lead. Mississippi State posted a kill following a timeout, but Lowak then erupted with three consecutive kills to close out the set.

    Lowak finished the set with seven kills and no errors for a .700 hitting percentage, leading the Aggies to a .483 clip.

    Mississippi State spotted the Aggies a 4-0 lead to begin the second and A&M went on to build a 6-1 lead before the Bulldogs fought back to take an 8-7 lead following a 5-0 run. Lowak evened the score with a kill, and sophomore opposite hitter Sierra Patrick returned the lead to the Aggies with a kill. The Bulldogs, who were outhit .425 to .289 in the frame, would tie the score at 10 and 11 but were unable to regain the lead.

    Sophomore outside hitter Shelbi Vaughan, making her first appearance of the season, had a kill during a 4-0 run that put the Aggies up, 15-11. Mississippi State continued to fight back and twice got within a point, the last at 19-18, forcing A&M to call a timeout. Lowak got a kill coming out of the timeout, and Babers and Patrick followed with a block before Vaughan blasted a kill down the line, giving the Aggies a 22-18 lead.

    Mississippi State chipped away and got within two points at 22-20 and again at 23-21 before Vaughan put A&M at set point with her third kill of the stanza. Sawatzky then clinched the win, attacking the second ball and registering the kill.

    A&M led the entire third set, outhitting the Bulldogs .414 to .125 to close out the sweep. The Aggies held a 23-14 lead when Babers and Patrick recorded a monster block against Bulldog freshman standout Kimmy Gardiner, putting A&M at match point. Gardiner came back with her team-leading 14th kill on the next play before Lowak appropriately capped the set and the match with a kill.

    A&M completes the season sweep against Mississippi State with the victory and improves to 12-10 overall and 4-7 in SEC matches. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Bulldogs, who fall to 11-15 overall and 2-10 in SEC play.  

    The Aggies continue their road swing, facing Ole Miss Sunday in Oxford with a 1:30 p.m. first serve at the Gillom Sports Center. A&M then has a quick turnaround as the Aggies meet LSU Wednesday, Nov. 13 in Baton Rouge.