Wildcats blow past South Carolina in three-set sweep
LEXINGTON, Ky. – It took just under 90 minutes for the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats to impose their will, as UK earned its second-straight Southeastern Conference sweep of the season and became the first team to reach 3-0 in league play with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-19) performance over South Carolina on Friday night in Memorial Coliseum.
With the win, Kentucky sets up a showdown with No. 12 Florida on Sunday in Lexington for first place in the SEC. The 1 p.m. ET match will be shown live on the SEC Network, ESPN3 and the ESPN app. Sam Ravech and Missy Whittemore will have the call for the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Edmond’s 14 kills paced the way for the Kentucky offense, which hit .303 in the match and sided out at an impressive 81 percent ratio in the match. Edmond was one of two Wildcats in double-figure kills, joining Alli Stumler who backed up her National Player of the Week performances vs. MSU and Mizzou with 10 kills vs. the Gamecocks.
Even with all the offensive prowess offensively, it was the defense that won the match for Kentucky. The Wildcats held the Gamecocks to just .099 offensively and only 31 kills in the match compared to UK’s 44. Six players for Kentucky had four or more digs in the match, including 12 by Madison Lilley to lead all players and 10 by Edmond.
Lilley controlled the offense masterfully all night, assisting on 35 of Kentucky’s 44 kills. The junior from Overland Park, Kansas, also recorded a kill and two blocks.
Kentucky had great play at the net, especially in the first set, with Leah Meyer pacing the way for UK with a solo block and five block assists.
To open the match, the Wildcats got off to a hot 11-3 start after two huge kills by Kendyl Paris. Kentucky continued to run away with the set after Leah Edmond got going to carry the Wildcats to a 17-5 lead. Kentucky defensively had an impressive lead in the block category continuing the first set with 3 blocks to South Carolina’s none. Kentucky closed the set out by a score of 25-14 after an Alli Stumler kill. UK won the set with a .353 hit percentage over USC .053%.
After a tight set for a majority of the start, Kentucky ran away and pulled away late for a 25-19 win in stage two. Going into the first timeout, Kentucky and South Carolina were neck and neck with a 15-12 UK lead over USC. After an almost even second set, Kentucky scraped out the win after some ferocious kills by Leah Edmond.
Kentucky continued to dominate the hitting percentage stats with the set tied at 10, UK led .300 to USC’s .114 at the media timeout of the frame, setting up the closest stanza of the match. South Carolina kept the set close, but with a costly error by USC, Kentucky began to pull away towards the middle of the set. The Wildcats won the third set 25-19, improving to 10-4 on the season and 3-0 in SEC play.