ByJordan Colquitt, UK Communications
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 15 Kentucky Volleyball team began the Bluegrass Battle with a 3-0 win against the Cleveland State Vikings, using their offensive firepower led by Leah Edmond, Alli Stumler and Leah Meyer to pull away, sweeping the Vikings 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-9) on Friday afternoon.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 5-2 to open the 2019 season and is now 1-0 inside of Memorial Coliseum.
Edmond stole the show, hitting double-digit kills for the fifth-straight match with 14 kills and 11 digs. Friday’s match marked her first double-double of the season and her 14 kills were just four off her season high of 18. Meyer also had a great offensive morning, recording eight kills in the match to go along with a block. Stumler was one kill and one dig away from her third double-double of the season, with nine kills and nine digs.
Madison Lilley paced the Kentucky offense with 38 assists on the morning and seven digs. She also had a critical solo block in the first set which forced the Vikings into a timeout to cap a 3-0 UK run
Defensively, junior libero Gabby Curry led all players with 15 digs for UK. Kentucky was able to hold the Vikings to a .085 hitting percentage, while the Cats soared hitting .350 as a team. The .085 hitting percentage for Cleveland State was the second-lowest hitting percentage of any UK opponent this season.
To continue the Bluegrass Battle, Kentucky will take on (6-1) Florida Gulf Coast at 8:30 p.m. ET on Friday night at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. The four-team tournament features Cleveland State, Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana. All of Kentucky’s matches in the tournament will be streamed on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app. Tickets are available at the UK Ticket Office or can be purchased upon entry to the Coliseum.
The Cats and Cleveland State went at it, back-and-forth early stage to the set, however Kentucky created separation late in the frame to take a 19-14 lead. Off of three kills by Edmond, UK was able to continue their attacking offense late in the set gaining a 22-15 lead. Kentucky closed out the set with a 25-17 win, on an attack error by Cleveland St. and a block by Alli Stumler and Leah Meyer. Edmond had ten kills and Curry had 9 digs to lead all players in the first set alone.
Kentucky got out of the gate slow, seeing the Vikings take an early 9-5 lead before the Wildcats called a timeout to talk things over. After the timeout, UK won 10 of the next 14 points to pull ahead, including coming out of the timeout getting four quick points headed by an ace and kill from Alli Stumler. Kentucky continued this run to take the set, 25-19.
Edmond’s two early kills pushed the Wildcats into a quick 4-0 lead over the Vikings. The Cats were able to continue their hot streak, going on a 5-0 run causing Cleveland St. to call a timeout when the Vikings found themselves trailing, 14-8. UK ended the match with a Gabby Curry ace to complete the sweep of the Vikings, allowing CSU just nine points in the set. In the third frame, UK held CSU to just -.167 offensively and only a 33 percent sideout percentage.