Wildcats get 3-0 win over Tigers in Memorial Coliseum
LEXINGTON – September 24, 2021
Alli Stumler had a stand-out performance on both side of the ball Friday night in Memorial Coliseum as she recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs as the No. 7 Kentucky Volleyball team swept Missouri to open up Southeastern Conference play.
All three sets were tight, with UK trailing after the halfway mark in all three, but managing to win the big points late in the frames to pick up the 3-0 (27-25, 25-23, 25-22) win over the Tigers.
In addition to Stumler’s double-double, junior middle blocker Azhani Tealer had 14 kills and three blocks, while hitting a robust .571 on the night to lead or co-lead the Wildcats in all three of those categories. Tealer now has three-consecutive matches with double-figure kills dating back to Sept. 15.
Freshman Emma Grome had 41 assists on the night, marking her fourth match in a row with 40-plus assists. She ran Kentucky’s offense to the tune of a .306 hitting percentage, marking the second-straight match UK has hit over .300.
Madi Skinner had 12 kills on the night on 33 swings with a .182 hitting percentage and five digs. She ended the match with a stuff solo block on the left side in the third set, her only block of the night.
Kentucky will take the rest of the weekend off before turning its attention to Ole Miss on the road. The match against the undefeated Rebels will be Wednesday night, Sept. 29 in Oxford at 7 p.m. ET. The SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app will have coverage of the SEC match.
Kentucky found itself down 19-11 in the opening set, and even as late as 24-22, faced a pair of set points as the Wildcats struggled to get out of their own way via errors and serving and passing difficulties. After rallying to tie the score at 24-24 on a kill by Elise Goetzinger, the Wildcats took the lead for the first time on Goetzinger’s second kill in a short timeframe. Mizzou called timeout, but still couldn’t find a way to stop Goetzinger as a kill from the right side ended the set to give UK four of the final five points and a 14-6 extended run to close the set.
The Wildcats again in the second trailed late, finding themselves down after Missouri went on a 7-0 run and tie the set up at 18-18 following two kills, a blocking error and two UK hitting errors. Kentucky was again able to buckle down late and play the important points down the stretch of the set well, as a 3-0 service run by Lauren Tharp took a 20-21 Mizzou lead and turned it around to a 23-21 UK lead. Azhani Tealer ended the set with a thunderous kill from the right pin to close the frame, 25-23 in Kentucky’s favor.
A 4-0 Missouri run took a tight third set and created some separation for the first time all frame as the Tigers jetted out to a 15-11 lead and UK burned a timeout. Out of the break, Kentucky responded with two points of its own off a Madi Skinner kill and a Reagan Rutherford/Elise Goetzinger block. After Missouri extended its lead to 19-15, but Kentucky responded well, winning seven points in a row, again off the serve of Lauren Tharp as the Wildcats forced themselves into the lead at 22-19. The final point to close the match was a block solo by Madi Skinner to give UK the 1-0 start in SEC play.