The third-ranked Kentucky Women’s Volleyball team played their second game of the weekend on Sunday vs. the Georgia Bulldogs. Like yesterday’s smackdown, Kentucky handled the Dawgs, sweeping them in straight sets, 3-0, and advancing to 12-0 on the season, dropping UGA to 4-8. Here’s how it went down:
Kentucky got out to their usual strong start, moving ahead to a 13-6 lead early on, but let their foot off the gas as the set progressed and found themselves in a somewhat dicey situation, leading just 22-20 near the end of the set. Luckily, a pair of botched serves by Georgia allowed Kentucky to take care of business in the first, 25-21.
Alli Stumler was the biggest bright spot of the inaugural set, finishing with EIGHT kills. When Avery Skinner went down in the middle of the fall slate and was sidelined until this spring, there were several benefactors, notably her rising-star sister, Madi; but perhaps none benefitted more than Stumler, who’s really become a wrecking force at the net.
Craig Skinner had his girls playing a lot more aggressively in the second set. Errant spikes, blocks out of bounds, and intensity at the net were not up to par for this third-ranked squad in the first; but in the second, Kentucky did not mess around one bit, completely dismantling an encouraged group of Bulldogs. They hit nearly .500, held the Dawgs to just 10 total points and Madison Lilley captained an impressive offensive set.
She doesn’t go for it often, but when she fools defenses by pushing the ball over the net on the second hit, she’s money. It’s guaranteed.
The third set looked like the average UK Volleyball set this year. Not total destruction but definitely never in question. Kentucky breezed to victory 25-15 and will leave Athens with a pair of 3-0 beatings against a below-average Georgia team.
Following the first set, Stumler added 10 more kills, leading the Cats with 18, with Avery Skinner second at 10. Aside from them, it was a fairly balanced attack at the net for Kentucky.
Ahzani Tealer led again with four blocks and Lilley added three of her own in addition to her astounding 36 assists. She’s the program leader in that statistic, by the way, and it will be a nearly unapproachable number by the time she leaves.
In the back row, defensive specialists Lauren Tharp and Gabby Curry dug 12 balls each, upholding Kentucky’s remarkable defensive effort all weekend.
Kentucky has won all 12 games in its all-SEC schedule, now having won 27 consecutive sets, going 6-0 this weekend. They’ll be back in action next Saturday and Sunday against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Both games are at 4 p.m. on the SEC Network and will be covered by KSR.