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    SEC Volleyball Roundup: Sunday, November 10

    SUNDAY VOLEYBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS
    Georgia 3, South Carolina 0
    Missouri 3, Alabama 1
    Kentucky 3, LSU 2
    Auburn 3, Arkansas 1
    Texas A&M 3, Ole Miss 1

     

    Georgia Secures Season Sweep with 3-0 Win Over South Carolina

    ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia volleyball team secured a season-sweep of the South Carolina Gamecocks with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-19) win on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 18-8 on the year and 8-6 in Southeastern Conference action. South Carolina drops to 12-13 overall and 3-9 in league play. The win also marks the first time the Bulldogs have win 18 games in a season since 2004.

    “I am really proud of the girls for coming out ready to play today,” Head Coach Lizzy Stemke said. “We really cleaned up our discipline issues and our errors. We started off with some silly errors, but as the match went on we really managed ourselves in a much better fashion and this is a really good way to end the weekend.”

    Tirah Le’au led the Bulldogs with 10 kills and sported an impressive .769 hitting percentage. Her .769 efficiency matched the highest by a player with 13 attempts in Georgia’s rally-scoring era. Brittany Northcutt added nine kills, while Elena Perri and Lauren Teknipp recorded six kills each. As a team, the Bulldogs hit at a .436 clip, while holding the Gamecocks to an attack percentage of .057. Perri led the team with four blocks, followed by Teknipp with two. Allison Summer led the match with nine digs.

    The teams kept the opening set close over the first several possessions, until a Gamecock kill sparked a 5-0 run that put South Carolina up 10-6 and caused Georgia to use a timeout. Out of the break, Georgia answered with a 5-0 run of its own that allowed the Bulldogs to take an 11-10 lead. With the score tied at 13, Smith picked up back-to-back kills that helped the Bulldogs score four-straight points that helped them to a 17-13 lead. Following a South Carolina timeout at the 21-16 mark, the Bulldogs used the serve of Jasmine Eatmon to end the set on a 4-0 run that sealed the 25-16 set one win and gave Georgia a 1-0 lead in the match.

    Georgia controlled the second set from the beginning and hit at an impressive .609 efficiency. The Bulldogs eased out to an early 7-2 lead in the set before a Gamecock kill ended the run. The Bulldogs were able to hold on to the lead and put together a 4-0 that extended their lead 16-7. After a South Carolina kill, the Bulldogs scored four-straight that made it a 20-8 set. South Carolina scored back-to-back points that made it a 23-11 game, but the Bulldogs scored the final two points to take the set 25-11.

    The third and final set was close over the opening points, tying five times before Georgia scored four-straight to force the Gamecocks to use a timeout trailing 10-6. A pair of Le’au kills sparked a 4-0 run that extended Georgia’s lead to 20-12, putting the set nearly out of reach. South Carolina looked to make a run, scoring four-straight points to cut the Georgia lead to 21-18, but the Bulldogs settled in and allowed just one more point, taking the third set 25-19 and the match 3-0.

    Georgia gets back in action on Friday, Nov. 15 when it travels to Oxford, Miss., to take on the Ole Miss Rebels at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs will then make the short drive to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m.





    No. 7 Mizzou Escapes Alabama, 3-1

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The No. 7 Mizzou volleyball team used a season-high 19.0 blocks to escape a scrappy Alabama team, 3-1 (25- 22, 24-26, 25-20, 25-12), on Sunday afternoon at Foster Auditorium. Junior All-SEC middle blocker Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) posted a season-high 10 blocks in the win and the outside hitting duo of Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) combined for 26 kills in the win. Mizzou is now 29-0 overall and 13-0 in SEC play as the Tigers sit alone atop the league standings with a trip to No. 5 Florida (22-2, 11-1) looming next Friday.

    “That was a tough match this afternoon,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “After Alabama came back the way that they did to win the second game, I knew it was going to be a bear for us. But we did a nice job of settling down and playing our game. We came up with some huge plays and our blockers did a great job slowing down Alabama, which has a ton of great hitters. Proud of our effort today – it wasn’t pretty at times, but wins are wins and we’ll take any one we get on the road.”

    The Tigers did a great job of slowing down Alabama freshman middle Krystal Rivers, who hit an uncharacteristic .176, her second-lowest clip of the season. Kan, another of the top freshman in the conference, outshined Rivers on Sunday with 14 kills on .242 hitting with 11 digs and four blocks for her seventh of the season and second of the weekend. She added three service aces as well. Henning had 12 kills and 11 digs for her second double-double of the season. Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) added nine kills on .273 hitting and Little pitched in seven kills on .462 hitting to go along with her 10 blocks. Freshman Julia Towler (Blue Springs, Mo.) came off the bench and gave Mizzou a huge boost with five kills on .833 hitting with four blocks. Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) spread 48 assists and pulled in eight digs while tallying eight blocks. Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) had 19 digs as well.

    Mizzou threw a block party in the first set as it tallied seven in the early stages of the frame to take a 19-15 lead after a solo stuff by Kan on Rivers. That forced a timeout from Alabama and the Tide scored the next two points before Henning ended the rally with a kill. Alabama pulled as close at 22-21, but Mizzou scored three of the last four points, including a set-clinching ace from Henning. The seven blocks went along with 13 Tiger kills as they hit .360. Freshman Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) led the way with four kills on four attempts and both Henning and Kan had three.

    The Tigers were sloppy to open the second set, falling behind 9-11 after an Alabama kill. But Wayne Kreklow used a timeout and rallied his troops to a 5-0 run to take a 14-11 lead. Mizzou then jumped out to a 22-18 lead in the second, but a kill from Rivers and an attack error from Kreklow kept Alabama alive. The Kreklow attack error appeared to be a kill, but she just clipped the net and the call was reversed. Mizzou’s passing broke down a bit from there as Alabama went on a 6-0 run to take a 24-22 lead. Mizzou fended off two set points, but River tallied a kill for point 25 and then an ace as Alabama completed the set two comeback.

    Out of the intermission, Mizzou raced out to a 5-1 lead and led 8-5 before a service error from Kreklow and an Alabama ace pulled the Tide back into the frame. The Tide then took a three-point lead at 14-11, but Mizzou went on a 9-1 run to pull away late and escaped with a 25-20 set win after a kill from Henning. Kan led Mizzou with 12 kills through three sets.

    Mizzou carried that momentum into the fourth set and opened a 9-2 lead in the frame as Alabama used both of its timeouts in the first 11 points. In all, Mizzou hit .393 in the fourth set and blocked Alabama away to a 25-12 set win as it escaped with the win.

    Mizzou will hit the road again next weekend as it faces No. 5 Florida Friday and South Carolina Sunday. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter MizzouVB.





    Thomasson’s Career Day Leads UK to 3-2, Comeback Win over LSU

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In a career-best performance, freshman Anni Thomasson exploded for 30 kills and 22 digs and three Wildcats posted double-doubles as the University of Kentucky volleyball team came back in the final set to beat LSU, 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-27, 15-13) in a five-set thriller Sunday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum.

    The Wildcats (18-6, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) scored 12 of the final 18 points in the fifth and deciding set to put away a Tiger (15-8, 5-6 SEC) team that continued to fight back throughout the match.

    UK was just as tough, however, and despite suffering comeback defeats in the first and fourth sets, never let go. Thomasson, in addition to double-double efforts from senior Whitney Billings and sophomore setter Morgan Bergren, led the charge.

    “I thought we were extremely tough when we needed to be,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “We had a chance to break, and refused to allow ourselves to go down that path. We created opportunities for us to score at the end and it was a great win. It was a great team effort today, there were a lot of people involved in a lot of different ways.”

    After LSU came back to steal the fourth set and force a fifth, UK found itself trailing, 7-3. That’s when the tide shifted in favor of the Blue and White. Kentucky clawed back to tie it at eight, and after LSU regained the lead, the Wildcats once again came back to tie it at nine and again at 10. An 11-10 lead turned into an 11-11 tie and then a 12-11 deficit. That wasn’t the end for the Wildcats though, who scored three of the last four to win the match. Fittingly, it was a kill from Thomasson that gave UK the 15-13 victory. Kentucky hit just .111 in the set, but with 10 kills, three from sophomore Shelby Workman, it was enough to earn the hard-fought win.

    Thomasson totaled 30 kills and 22 digs, both career bests. It is the first time in the Craig Skinner era that a player has eclipsed 30 kills and 20 digs, and is the most kills in UK history in the 25-point rally scoring era. Thomasson’s outing is the first time a player in the SEC has recorded at least 30 kills and 20 digs since Alabama’s Kayla Fitterer did so on Nov. 7, 2010 against UK.”

    Not to be outdone, Billings added 13 kills, a season-high-tying 19 digs and four blocks for her 40th career double-double. Bergren dished out a career-high 66 assists to go along with a career-best 11 digs. Bergren’s 66 marks the most helpers by a UK player since Elizabeth Koberstein’s 70 in 2011.

    Workman also recorded double-digit kills, with 11 in addition to a dig and one block. Coming off the bench, all of Workman’s totals came in the final three sets.

    “I don’t ever recall 30 kills and 22 digs, so that’s as big, regardless of class, that a player can play in a five-set match,” Skinner added. “She was fearless today and Morgan was able to find her when she needed too. She hit the right shots at the right time. For Anni, Shelby and Whitney to produce the points for us, and Morgan was able to spread the offense around to get a lot of people involved, it created a great team win.”

    UK tallied 79 kills as a team, a record in the 25-point rally scoring era. The Wildcats hit .280 on the match and limited LSU to a .220 hitting clip with 66 kills. Kentucky had five service aces, two from senior Jessi Greenberg, and 10 blocks.

    Senior Alexandra Morgan had seven kills in addition to a team-high six blocks, while sophomore Kayla Tronick added seven kills and a career-best four blocks. Junior Lauren O’Conner notched nine kills and redshirt freshman Kelsey Wolf had eight scoops. Junior libero Jackie Napper had a team-high-tying 22 digs.

    The 25-16 win in the second frame, a nine-point spread, is tied for the second-largest victory margin following a set in which UK lost. Thomasson once again led the way for the Wildcats in the second, with eight kills and seven digs. Billings and O’Conner each had three of UK’s 16 kills, while Bergren, Billings and Napper all notched four digs. Kentucky jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, which they would never give up. UK’s lead was extended to five at 11-6 and seven at 19-12. The frame featured three 3-0 runs by the Blue and White.

    Looking to take a 2-1 lead in the match, Kentucky found itself down 14-12 in the third set before it scored seven of the next eight to go up 19-15. The lead was enough, but it did not come easily. With a 24-22 advantage, the Wildcats were unable to close out the set and the Tigers tied it at 24. That’s when Workman notched two of her four kills to close it out the set, 26-24, and give the Blue and White a 2-1 advantage. Thomasson knotted five of UK’s 18 kills in the set, while Napper recorded seven scoops. The Wildcats hit .310 in the set.

    The Tigers came back to score seven of the final nine points to take a 25-23 win in the first set. It was just the fourth opening-frame loss for UK in a winning match this season. LSU’s late charge marked the fourth lead change in the frame, after UK scored four of five to take a 15-14 lead. The Wildcats lost the first point in the opening set, but quickly responded to take a 2-1 lead. The two teams traded tallies until LSU took a 6-5 lead, which it would not give up until Kentucky took its 15-14 edge. The Wildcats extended their lead to 21-18 and led 22-20 when the Tigers scored four straight to go ahead, 24-22. Thomasson had seven kills in the frame, while UK hit .310 with 18 kills. LSU had 19 kills and hit .294 in the frame.

    LSU claimed a fourth-set win thanks to a late comeback. The Wildcats were leading by three at 21-18, but the Tigers scored three straight to tie it at 21, and eventually took a 25-24 lead. UK tied the set at 25, but gave up two straight points to fall, 27-25 and force the fifth and deciding set. Thomasson registered eight kills to lead UK to .300 hitting and 17 kills, while Tronick posted two solo blocks.

    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.

    Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.





    Season-Best Blocking Effort Leads Auburn Past Arkansas, 3-1

    AUBURN, Ala. -- A season-high 14.5 blocks and double-doubles from three players led the Auburn volleyball team past Arkansas 3-1 (20-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-14) on Sunday afternoon at Auburn Arena.

    The Tigers (16-9, 7-6 SEC) secured a winning overall record for the second-straight season and third time in the last four years, and they avenged a four-set loss earlier in the season at Arkansas (14-12, 7-8 SEC). They did it by playing tough defense at the net and bouncing back from a sub-par first set to hit .325 over the final three games.

    "I'm really happy with the win," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "We started off a little rough in game one, but we've talked a lot lately about just trusting what we do. They worked at it, and we got better each game. That's what you want to see in that situation, just fighting back."

    After the Tigers struggled to make good passes in the serve-receive game in the opening set, the Tigers allowed just one service ace to Arkansas in the final three sets and were able to stay in system more frequently, leading to easy opportunities on the offensive end. Auburn also stepped up their service game, posting six aces on the day and keeping Arkansas off-balance.

    "I think we started passing better," Nold said of the difference from the first set to the rest of the match. "We were just more disciplined and took care of the things we needed to. Serving is always going to be a big impact thing for us, and I thought we were able to take them out of system."

    Nold said the Tigers' service game was also a key in contributing to a season-high 14.5 blocks, including seven from senior Camila Jersonsky and six each from Stephanie Campbell and Courtney McDonald.

    "A big part of when we're serving well is that it gives us the opportunity to set up our block and take some areas away from them," he said. "They're an aggressive swinging team, and if you get in the right position, you're probably going to earn a few blocks. But another part of that was being disciplined within our system and making them earn points themselves."

    Three players earned double-doubles for the Tigers. Senior Katherine Culwell led the way offensively and defensively for Auburn with 13 kills and 15 digs for her team-leading 10th double-double of the year. She also had a pair of service aces on the day, plus three blocks.

    Freshman Stephanie Campbell matched Culwell's offensive output, matching a season-high with 13 kills of her own and was Auburn's leading scorer with six blocks and a service ace. She also hit a team-high .440 on the day. Kathia Rud had her seventh double-double this year with 11 kills and 14 digs, and Chelsea Wintzinger got her ninth with 25 assists and 12 digs.

    Jersonsky added 11 kills to go with her seven blocks and hit .400 for the match. McDonald and freshman Emily Klitzke were also double-digit scorers for Auburn as both had eight kills; McDonald had a season-high six blocks while Klitzke had four. Sarah Wroblicky had 15 digs on the day, inching closer to the all-time top five at Auburn.

    Arkansas was led by Meredith Hays with 18 kills and 14 digs, and Breana Jones added seven kills on the day. Ana Sofia Jusino had a team-high six blocks.

    The Tigers hit .289 on the day, their fifth-straight match and eight out of the last nine over .200 in the hitting efficiency department, and held Arkansas to .169 hitting. Auburn also had 64 kills to Arkansas' 48, out-dug the Razorbacks 67-51, and recorded 14.5 blocks to Arkansas' eight.

    Although the first set was a struggle for Auburn, particularly in the serve-receive game, things turned around quickly in set two as the Tigers hit .412 in the set and coasted to a 25-16 win to knot the match at a set apiece.

    Set three was a battle that saw 10 ties and three lead changes, but a late push from Auburn after Arkansas had taken a 22-20 lead saw Jersonsky come up with three big kills to give Auburn the lead back, and a swing from Rud put the Hogs away, 26-24.

    The fourth set was a close affair early, and Arkansas moved out to a 12-9 lead. But from that point, the Tigers closed out the set on a 16-2 run as Culwell was serving tough and taking the Razorbacks out of system, leading to a pair of aces for Culwell and three hitting errors by Arkansas. Wroblicky continued the tough serving, forcing four more Arkansas errors on her term of service and setting up the Tigers with a chance to put the match away.

    Auburn will hit the homestretch of the 2013 season next weekend with a pair of critical road matches. The Tigers will travel to Baton Rouge, La., to take on LSU at 7 p.m. Friday, then head to College Station, Texas for a 1 p.m. Sunday match against Texas A&M.

    For the latest on Auburn volleyball, follow @AUVolleyball on Twitter or "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/AuburnVolleyball.





    Sawatzky Tallies Triple-Double as Texas A&M Defeats Ole Miss, 3-1

    OXFORD, Miss -- Texas A&M completed a successful weekend, posting its second consecutive road victory with a 25-10, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21 win against Ole Miss today at Gillom Sports Center.

    Senior setter Allie Sawatzky tallied her sixth triple double of the season as she dished out 31 assists, scooped up 11 digs and was part of a trio of Aggies to post double-figure kills with 10 while hitting .450. Sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak took team-high honors in kills with 11, and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan also posted double-digit kills with 10 as A&M led the Rebels in kills, 52-44.

    Defensively, senior libero Heather Reynolds paced the Aggies with a team-high 13 digs, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers led all players with six blocks as A&M outhit Ole Miss, .193 to .097, and outblocked the Rebels, 11-9.

    A&M easily took command of the first set as Ole Miss struggled offensively. A&M scored the first three points of the match and doubled up the Rebels at 10-5 following another 3-0 run. The Aggies later forged to a 17-7 lead with Sullivan leading the charge with two blocks and a kill during a 7-1 run.

    A&M, which committed only one attack error in the set and outhit the Rebels .391 to -.032, held an 18-10 lead before the Aggies closed out the set on 7-0 surge, including three consecutive Rebel errors to end the frame.

    There were five lead changes and five ties in the first half of the second set before the Aggies erupted for nine unanswered points. Babers had three blocks and a kill during the run, which gave A&M a 23-16 lead. Ole Miss, which was outhit .143 to .000 in the set, then rallied for four points to get within 23-20, forcing A&M to call a timeout. Freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty came out of the timeout and registered a kill to put the Aggies at set point, and sophomore opposite hitter Sierra Patrick sealed the win with a kill, giving A&M a 2-0 lead in the match.

    A&M built its largest lead of the third set at 10-6 before Ole Miss began a comeback and eventually took its first lead at 14-13 following consecutive attack miscues by the Aggies. A dump kill by Sawatzky tied the score, and the setter attacked the second ball for a kill on the ensuing play to retake the lead, 15-14. It was a back-and-forth affair during the final stretch, with Ole Miss regaining a 16-15 lead on a kill by Nakeyta Clair.

    Trailing 17-16, Babers registered consecutive kills during a 3-0 run that put the Aggies back on top, 19-17. After an Ole Miss timeout, the Rebels quickly regained the advantage as A&M hit out of bounds on consecutive plays and Ole Miss got a kill off the block to take a 20-19 lead.

    A&M, which was outhit .294 to .184, tied the score for the ninth time as Babers and Patrick teamed for a block, but the Aggies were unable to retake the lead. The Rebels got a kill and a block to build a 22-20 cushion but then served into the net to put A&M within 22-21. Ole Miss was good on its next two attacks, putting the Rebels at set point, 24-21. A block by Sawatzky and Sullivan kept the Aggies alive before Marie-Pierre Bakima put down her fourth kill of the set to close out the set for Ole Miss, forcing a fourth set.

    There were also numerous momentum shifts early in the fourth set, with a Lowak kill tying the score for the eighth time and the lead changing hands for the sixth time as Ole Miss followed with an attack into the antenna that put the Aggies ahead, 14-13. Lowak’s kill marked the start of a four-point run by the Aggies, who also benefitted from a Rebel attack that failed to clear the net and an ace by Sullivan that put A&M up, 16-13.

    The Rebels began to chip away at the lead and eventually tied the score at 18-18 as an A&M attack attempt sailed long. Ole Miss however, was unable to retake the lead, botching its next serve and then following with an attack attempt that landed beyond the end line. Patrick then finished off a 3-0 run with her eighth kill of the match, putting A&M ahead, 21-18. The Rebels quickly caught the Aggies once again, putting down a kill and taking advantage of A&M attack errors to tie the score for the 10th time, 21-21. It would be the finals points for the Rebels as Sullivan tipped in a kill from the right-side pin and senior defensive specialist Mariah Agre followed with an ace. Ole Miss setter Aubrey Edie was whistled for a back row attack violation on the next play, putting the Aggies at match point. Sullivan then put down an errant Ole Miss overpass for the match-winning kill.

    The Aggies, who recorded a sweep at Mississippi State on Friday for their first SEC road victory of the season, improve to 13-10 overall and 5-7 in conference play. Ole Miss, which was led by Clair’s 13 kills, had its two-match win streak snapped and falls to 13-13, including 3-10 in SEC matches.

    The Aggies, in the midst of stretch that includes five matches in 10 days, return to the court Wednesday to face rival LSU at the Pete Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La. First serve is at 6 p.m., and the match will be televised by COX Sports TV. A&M will be aiming to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Tigers earlier this season in College Station.

    Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.