Senior Leah Edmond becomes the all-time kills leader at Kentucky
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Kentucky Volleyball senior outside hitter Leah Edmond became Kentucky’s all-time kills leader on Sunday afternoon as the Wildcats swept the Alabama Crimson Tide, 3-0 (25-7, 25-17, 25-7) at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa.
Edmond broke the record just five points into the match, as a 4-1 lead turned into a 5-1 lead off the arm of the Lexington, Kentucky native. She entered the match with 1,737 kills to her name, tied with Molly Dresibach, who held the record from 1995 through Sunday, a span of 24 years.
“We had a really impressive offensive and defensive performance today,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “This was probably our most complete match of the season.”
UK held Alabama to -.022 hitting in the match and negative hitting for two of the three sets. Meanwhile, Kentucky hit .506 on Sunday, its best offensive output of the season percentage wise.
Edmond led the way with 14 kills in the match and Stumler was just one behind with 13. Gabby Curry had 14 digs in the match to lead all players and it was another impressive performance by Madison Lilley at the setter slot, as she tallied 37 assists.
Kentucky will next take the court in Lexington on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET against the LSU Tigers. The match will be nationally televised on the SEC Network and the ESPN app with Sam Ravech and Missy Whittemore on the call from Memorial Coliseum.
“It’s a special feat to become the all-time kills leader at Kentucky,” Skinner said. “It’s a record that stood for 20-plus years and it’s amazing for all of us to be a part of.”
UK improves to 13-5 on the season and now sits at 6-1 in Southeastern Conference play. Alabama falls to 11-6 overall and evens its league record to 3-3 in SEC action.
With Kentucky leading 4-1 and on a 4-0 run in the opening set, Leah Edmond hammered home her 1,738th-career kill from the left side and put herself on top of the UK record books. The Wildcats would win six points in a row to take a 6-1 lead and force the Tide into a timeout. Kentucky’s run on Stumler’s serve extended and a 14-4 lead was discovered by the Wildcats to push Alabama into its second halt of play. Kentucky closed the set on a 7-0 run and won the opening set, 25-7. UK hit .480 in the first set and held Alabama to under zero at -.188 in the frame. Leah Edmond had a set-high six kills with Stumler adding in five. Madison Lilley had 11 assists and Gabby Curry paced the defense with five digs.
It was a tight back-and-forth struggle in the early stages of the second set before Kentucky reeled off three points in a row to take a 15-11 lead into the media timeout. Alli Stumler hammered over an over pass to give the Wildcats a 16-11 lead and UK was off and running from there. Alabama closed the gap to 18-16, but that was as close as the Tide would get as a kill from Edmond and then a Stumler termination got UK back in front by four at 20-16 and pushed Alabama into a timeout. Stumler ended the set with a kill from the left side off the Alabama block at 24-16. UK hit .518 in the second frame and was hitting .500 after two sets, its highest hitting percentage through two sets all season.
As was the case in set one, Kentucky raced out to an early lead on the Tide, with a 5-1 deficit forcing Alabama to use a timeout early in the third stanza. A lethal kill from the right side by freshman Azhani Tealer extended the Kentucky lead to 14-3 and put UK into overdrive to the finish line. At 15-4, after a kill from Stumler, her 11th of the set, Bama called its second and final timeout.