LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 20th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team benefited from quality play in all phases of the game en route to a commanding 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-14) sweep at Louisville on Friday. The win marked the sixth in a row for UK and the eighth out of the last nine in the series.
“I was impressed with our intensity, concentration, and focus throughout the match from point one,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “All the way through, the team was dialed into the scouting report and what was happening on the other side of the net – just a very workman-like performance tonight. It’s really important for us to maintain the level of practice we’ve had and the execution moving forward.”
Kentucky improves to 5-4 on the young season, while Louisville falls to 6-4. The Cats will be back in action with their final nonconference matchup of the season on Sunday. Kentucky will welcome Chattanooga to Memorial Coliseum at 1:30 p.m. ET. The match is set to air live on the SEC Network+ with Dick Gabriel and Kathy DeBoer courtside to call the action.
UK was paced offensively by junior Leah Edmond who registered 14 kills on a career-high .600 hitting percentage. The Wildcats turned in a dominating offensive effort with 39 kills on a .434 attacking clip which is its second-best effort of the season. Freshman Alli Stumler chipped in with eight hammers on a .364 percentage and senior Brooke Morgan added seven terminations on at a .538 rate. She also served up a trio of aces.
Sophomore setter Madison Lilley directed the offense to the tune of 25 assists. She added eight digs, a pair of blocks and three aces. Classmate Kendyl Paris contributed four kills and a block, while junior Caitlyn Cooper added four kills of her own to the winning effort.
Sophomore libero Gabby Curry led the floor defense with 11 digs, while Louisville native and senior McKenzie Watson chipped in with six.
Louisville opened the scoring, but UK pushed right back with a kill from Stumler. The teams exchanged points from there until the Cards were able to string together three straight, benefiting from a pair of UK miscues for a 5-2 edge. Kentucky clawed back and knotted things up at seven apiece after some gritty defense forced the Cards into an erroneous attack. Stumler’s third kill in the early going gave the Wildcats their first lead at 8-7. A monstrous Edmond kill from the back row, a U of L setting error and another kill from the right hand of Stumler pushed Kentucky’s lead to four at 12-8. The home team opted for a timeout. Following the break, Louisville rallied for a pair before Morgan capitalized off the slide and then teamed up with Lilley for a block. UK’s lead increased to six at 17-11 following a solo rejection from Lilley and a Paris kill. Louisville opted to take its final timeout of the frame to spell the spurt. Play seesawed following the break until consecutive miscues from the home team lifted the Cats to a seven-point advantage at 21-14. Louisville would get no closer than six the rest of the way. UK clinched the stanza on a Cardinals’ service error, winning 25-18. Stumler and Edmond combined for seven of UK’s 12 kills in the set. Lilley directed the offense to a .310 hitting clip and Curry led the way defensively with seven digs.
Louisville generated a kill to open the set, but gave the point right back on a service error. The teams traded points until UK shook loose for three straight and a 7-4 edge. After a Louisville erroneous attack, Edmond tooled the block and then Lilley served up an ace. The lead increased to five at 10-5 after Stumler scored back-to-back points off kills from the left side. Louisville chose to take an early timeout, but could not stymie the Cats. UK maintained its advantage until eventually pushing the lead to 10 at 17-7 after back-to-back kills from Lilley and Stumler, consecutive Louisville hitting errors and an Edmond smash from the back row. Following a Cardinals’ timeout, the home team snapped the run with a kill. Louisville would not go away and strung together three in a row to pull to within seven at 18-11. Kentucky answered with a 4-0 run highlighted by back-to-back aces from Morgan. Paris converted off the slide for the set-clinching point at 25-13 and a 2-0 edge in the match. UK boasted 13 kills on a sizzling .600 hitting clip in the second set. Edmond paced the attack with five kills in the stanza.
Tremendous floor defense prompted an Edmond kill, a miscue from the Cards and a Stumler kill gave the Cats a multi-point lead to begin the set at 3-0. Louisville eventually halted the run, but kills on consecutive plays from Edmond and Lilley followed by another Cardinal error enabled the Wildcats to take a comfortable 6-1 lead. Following a timeout Kentucky kept the pressure on with spectacular defense. Morgan’s third ace of the match pushed the lead to 8-1. From there the teams swapped points until Curry’s ace lifted the Wildcats to their biggest lead of the set at 13-4. The home team responded with a 4-0 spurt of its own, but Morgan dispersed of the threat with her sixth kill of the night making the score 14-8 in favor of UK. Play would seesaw until Edmond and Morgan combined for consecutive kills and a 16-9 edge. Edmond’s second kill in three points moved the score to 20-11 in favor of Kentucky. Lilly served up a pair of aces which sandwiched an Edmond-Paris block to give UK a 23-11 advantage. Stumler tooled the block to secure a 25-14 set win and a 3-0 sweep.