The No. 13 Kentucky volleyball team wrapped up its long-grueling road trip on Monday, falling to No. 7 Kansas, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-20), inside the Horejsi Family Athletic Center on Monday afternoon. With the loss, the Cats fall to 5-2 on the year while Kansas improves to 7-0.
“I’m just disappoint defensively that we allowed Kansas to hit for such a high percentage,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “Give them credit, they didn’t make a ton of errors and put pressure on us. We have to do a better job with our serve, blocking and defense to neutralize an opponent like that. In saying that, we gave ourselves chances in the first set and had opportunities. It was a great match to help us prepare for the season.”
Kentucky will finish the road trip 2-2 which featured matchups against three ranked opponents, two top-10 foes and all four teams either ranked or receiving votes. It was the longest such streak of highly rated opponents in program history. UK earned wins over Northern Iowa and Southern California in the Bluejay Invitational. Kentucky will compete in its last non-conference tournament next weekend in Milwaukee when it faces Loyola (Chicago) and Marquette in the Marquette Invitational.
Freshman Avery Skinner concluded her impressive weekend with 14 kills on 25 attempts for a .400 attacking percentage. Both the kills and the percentage were team highs and the match was her third straight double-digit kill total. Sophomore Leah Edmond had nine kills for the Cats, while junior Brooke Morgan recorded eight on 15 attempts. Senior Emily Franklin had five terminations to aid the Wildcat cause.
Freshman Madison Lilley posted 33 assists and two digs. Classmate Gabby Curry had eight scoops and two helpers, while juniors Olivia Dailey and Merideth Jewell also recorded helpers. Jewell had her fourth match with five or more digs with seven, while junior McKenzie Watson posted five of her own.
At the net, Franklin recorded two assists. Kaz Brown had a solo stuff, while Lilley and Darian Mack each recorded one block assist.
Kentucky grabbed the first two points of the set with a Morgan kill and Jewell ace. Both teams traded points until 9-5, until KU rattled off three straight to cut the UK lead to 9-8. Play seesawed once again until Kansas tied the set at 15 all thanks to an attacking error. The Jawhawks grabbed the lead after another attacking error and UK called timeout. Skinner earned a kill out of the timeout to even the score at 16-16. After swapping points, UK was forced to use its second timeout after another 3-0 KU run. Out of the timeout, Morgan earned a termination to stop the run. KU extended the advantage to 24-20 but back-to-back Skinner kills and a Franklin and Lilley stuff forced a Kansas timeout. KU won the set 25-23. Kentucky hit .257 in the first frame while Lilley had 14 assists.
Edmond had the first kill of the set and UK jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. KU tied the set, then UK pushed out four straight points with the help of a Brown kill and Edmond ace to give the Cats a 7-3 lead. Kansas went on a six-point run triggered by a service error to go up 9-7 and force a UK timeout. The Jayhawks extended its lead to five at 16-11, causing UK to use another timeout. Each team traded points until UK cut the lead to 22-19 after an Edmond kill, but UK could manage just one more point and Kansas won the set, 25-20. Edmond paced the Cats with five kills in the second set while Morgan and Skinner had four.
While Kansas picked up the first point of the set, UK jumped out to a 2-1 lead thanks to a Skinner kill and bad set. Kansas’ three-point run gave them a 6-4 advantage, but was ended with a service error. Kentucky hung around and tied the set at 9-9 after a Curry ace. Kansas edged back out to a 14-11 advantage before a Wildcat timeout. Out of the timeout, UK stopped the Kansas run with a termination from Skinner. Played went back-and-forth with Kansas up three until another three-point run put KU up 20-14. Kentucky was able to cut the lead to 23-20 after a Skinner kill, but Kansas won the set 25-20.
BY THE NUMBERS
.400 – Attacking percentages from Skinner and Morgan, both team highs
3 – Three-straight double-digit kill matches from Avery Skinner
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