UK to play Illinois at 5 p.m. ET Saturday night
LEXINGTON – December 3, 2021
Sophomore Madi Skinner and senior outside hitter Alli Stumler both had double-digit kills as the No. 7 seeded Kentucky Volleyball team hit .446 and advanced into the second round of the 2021 NCAA Volleyball Championship with a 3-0 win (25-15, 25-14, 25-19) win over Southeast Missouri State on Friday night inside Memorial Coliseum.
With the win, Kentucky advances to the round of 32 where it plays Illinois at 5 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. Tickets are available for Saturday’s match here. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Dick Gabriel and Kathy DeBoer on the call.
Skinner had 13 kills Friday night to lead all participants in the match, followed closely by Stumler’s 11 as the only two players to reach double-figures. Skinner hit .524 with 13 kills on 21 swings, followed closely by Stumler’s 11 kills on 25 swings, to hit .400.
Kentucky as a team hit .446 in the match, marking yet another match above .400 on the season for the Wildcats paced by 45 assists from Emma Grome off of the 50 UK kills. The 45 assists for Grome is the most in program history for a Wildcat in her first-career NCAA Tournament match.
The win marked 100 wins for the 2021 graduating senior class of Alli Stumler, Lauren Tharp and Cameron Scheitzach.
Eleanor Beavin led the Kentucky defensive effort with 16 digs, helping hold SEMO to a .163 hitting percentage in the match. Bella Bell had seven blocks to lead all players in the match.
2,878 fans watched Friday night’s match.
Azhani Tealer and Bella Bell in the middle was the difference early in the match as Kentucky created the first degree of separation with a 15-10 lead at the media timeout of the first set, hitting .529 as a team to that point. Madi Skinner then got to five kills within her first seven swings to put Kentucky up by six, its largest lead at 20-14 and SEMO elected to call its first timeout. Kentucky closed the set on a 4-0 run guided by five kills each from Skinner and Tealer to hit .571 in the opener and take the first set, 25-15. Alli Stumler had four kills and Reagan Rutherford teamed with Bella Bell to each record a pair.
Elise Goetzinger made her presence in the match known in the second set, coming in for four kills on her first four swings to make it 16-8 in the second and give UK its largest lead of the match. Madi Skinner’s seventh kill of the match ballooned Kentucky’s lead to 22-11 and SEMO called a timeout to try and stop the momentum. Skinner continued to battle the Redhawks on offense, putting up nine kills in the opening two sets to push Kentucky out to a 24-14 lead and a block by Bella Bell and Reagan Rutherford sealed a 2-0 lead for UK with a 25-14 second set win.
Set three was by far the closest of the match, with SEMO and UK alternating leads five times before the media timeout as a front-row hammer from setter Emma Grome put Kentucky up 14-11 followed by a back-row kill from Madi Skinner to advance the UK lead to 15-12 at the media timeout of the third set. UK was hitting .506 in the match at that point with both Skinner (11) and Stumler (10) in double-figure kills. The Kentucky push carried to 17-12 and SEMO called its final timeout trailing by a set-high five points. SEMO ran off its largest string of points with five in a row cutting the Kentucky lead of 18-12 to 18-16 and UK called its first timeout of the match only leading by a pair in the third. Bella Bell recorded a pair of huge blocks out of the timeout to push Kentucky’s lead back out to five at 22-17 to give her six for the match and SEMO called its final timeout, trialing by five.