UK Defense Stymies Alabama Attack in Sweep
Kentucky limits Alabama to 16 kills on -.012 hitting for the match
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The
Kentucky defense enjoyed a terrific outing limiting Alabama to a -.012
hitting clip and a mere 16 kills for the match in a 3-0 (25-12, 25-8,
25-17) sweep Sunday afternoon in front of another packed house at
“It was another really good win, and we
were focused today,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “That was a theme of
ours in the match to be focused. I thought we were very efficient, and
I’m really proud of the way we executed on the court today.”
the win, Kentucky improves to 16-3 overall on the season and 7-1 in
Southeastern Conference action. Alabama drops to 9-10 overall and 2-6
in league play.
Kentucky remains at home this week with a
mid-week against Tennessee. UK and the Lady Vols will meet for the
third consecutive season on ESPNU. This year’s matchup begins at 8 p.m.
ET Wednesday, Oct. 12.
Kentucky’s defensive effort held an
opponent to a negative hitting percentage for the sixth time under
Skinner’s tutelage. UK last held a team to a negative clip was in a 3-0
victory over Georgia in 2010. The last opponent to registered 20 or
fewer kills was Tennessee State in 2008.
UK charted six
blocks, but the defensive front was a constant factor for Alabama’s
attackers. Freshman Lauren O’Conner and senior Becky Pavan both
recorded three rejections. Junior libero Stephanie Klefot led the back
row defensive effort with a match-high 12 digs. Freshman Jackie Napper
totaled eight scoops and sophomore Jessi Greenberg posted six to lead
the way. Seven different Wildcats recorded four or more digs in the win.
the offensive front, the Blue and White posted a .368 hitting
percentage with 45 kills. Sophomore Whitney Billings reached
double-figures for the second consecutive match to lead the way with 11
hammers today. Junior Ashley Frazier notched nine kills and O’Conner
chipped in with eight. Senior Ann Armes added six, and Pavan knocked
down five. Kentucky’s offense also added a season-high 10 aces with
O’Conner and Klefot both recording a trio.
Christine Hartmann continues to direct a balanced attack with nine
players recording at least one kill in today’s match. Hartmann totaled
39 dimes in the win. The junior from St. Charles, Ill., has led the
Wildcats to an above .300 hitting percentage in three consecutive
The Blue and White earned a 25-12 opening
set victory to set the tone early. Three players recorded three kills
and Klefot led the defense with five scoops to begin the match.
scored the opening two points, but UK would then go on a 5-0 run to
claim a 5-2 advantage following a kill from Billings. UK then strung
together a 6-0 scoring rally to earn a 19-7 advantage midway through
the set. Billings and O’Conner capped the set with consecutive kills
from the opening win.
Kentucky’s offense exploded for 19
kills on a blazing .598 hitting clip in the second frame. Billings led
the charge with six kills on a marvelous .714 hitting clip. Hartmann
passed out 17 assists in the 25-8 win.
The home team
earned a quick 6-0 start with Pavan contributing a pair of kills and
teaming up with O’Conner for a block. Billings led a run with three
four kills in a five-point stretch to push the lead to 22-6, before an
attacking error from the Tide lifted UK to the 25-8 win a 2-0 lead into
the locker room.
The Wildcats finished the match with a
25-17 final set victory. Frazier led the attack with four kills, while
Klefot paced the defensive effort with a trio of digs. The junior from
Louisville also added all three of her aces in the frame.
offense began with seven aces in the set. Three players tallied two or
more in the set to jump-start the finish. Napper began the set with
back-to-back service aces and UK never looked back. Billings capped the
match with a final kill that sliced the defense.
Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 9-10. UK is one of
four sites selected for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team
advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, from the Lexington
Region. Opening night matches are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s finals is set for a 4:30 p.m. ET first serve.