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UK’s 13 Aces Overpower Texas A&M in Saturday Sweep

UK Athletics

Eleanor Beavin records five aces as part of the afternoon

LEXINGTON – November 13, 2021

The No. 7 Kentucky Volleyball team used a season-high 13 aces to overpower Texas A&M 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-15) on Saturday night in Memorial Coliseum in front of a raucous crowd of over 2,900 fans.

Eleanor Beavin, a freshman libero set a new career high with five aces in the contest to go along with her 12 digs and a pair of assists in the match. For Beavin, she now has logged double-digit digs in all but one SEC match and all but one match overall since taking over the libero jersey on Sept. 10.

Offensively, paced by freshman setter Emma Grome, Kentucky recorded a .391 hitting percentage and had 35 assists to go alongside a pair of kills, matching her career-SEC high. The leading terminator was Alli Stumler, who logged 13 kills on 36 swings, hitting above .300 on the night. Stumler had just two errors on the night, as did outside hitter Madi Skinner, who also eclipsed double-figure scoring with 11 kills on 20 swings to hit .450.

At the service line, Kentucky had five aces from Beavin, three from sophomore DS Riah Walker and Stumler and a pair from Azhani Tealer. Walker had six digs in the match to go with her three aces.

Kentucky with Saturday’s result retains a one-match lead in the Southeastern Conference standings, sitting at 12-1 in league play. UK improves to 19-4 overall on the year. Texas A&M falls to 12-11 and 5-8 in the SEC.

UK and Texas A&M will close out the series Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on the SEC Network, ESPN3 and the ESPN app. Paul Sunderland and Missy Whittemore will have the call for ESPN.

Set One

The first set started out in favor of the Wildcats as Alli Stumler was on fire with two powerful kills. Texas A&M was able to quickly fight back with a its own pair of kills to close the UK gap and make it 4-2. Azhani Tealer slammed down an over pass to completely kill any Texas A&M momentum, and UK took the lead 7-3. After an Aggie serve, Madi Skinner drilled the ball to the floor which gave Tealer an opportunity to serve, in which she capitalized on with an ace. Skinner and the Kentucky offense was able to continue to dig away at the Aggies, as Stumler’s fourth kill of the set forced A&M into its first timeout at 13-6. Out of the timeout, the Aggies got a point, and in return Bella Bell hammered the ball into the Aggies’ 10-foot line to respond. Everybody on the UK offense was taking a turn when Reagan Rutherford killed the ball to put Kentucky up 15-9. Stumler continued to push the Aggies as a kill and an ace led them to take a second timeout at 18-11. Texas A&M got one point out of the timeout, but Skinner ended any chance of a streak with a termination from the right pin at 19-12. A monster block by Bell and Skinner followed by an Aggie error pushed Kentucky to 20 points. Riah Walker put pressure on Texas A&M with a pair of impressive serves to keep the Aggies first-set hitting percentage at .148.  Rutherford drove the ball down to get the Wildcats to set point and an ace by Eleanor Beavin won the set for Kentucky.

Set Two

RS-Junior Bella Bell started the second set strong for the Cats with a monster block, and Texas A&M responded well with two kills. The second set was much more of a back-and-forth and the Aggies got their first lead of the match at 4-3. Stumler quickly tied it back up for the Cats adding to her list of kills, and re-gained the lead for UK with an ace to follow. It was Emma Grome who slammed home an over pass as the Kentucky lead increased on a four-point streak to make it 7-4 UK. After a long rally Coach Craig Skinner successfully challenged a net violation to put another point in UK’s column to make it 9-5.  After the challenge, Madi Skinner capitalized on the momentum and got her sixth kill of the match to double up the Aggies, 10-5. Coach Skinner got his second correct challenge within three points, which got the serve back for the Cats and Kentucky took a 12-6 lead. The Aggies continued to fight to stay in the set, but Bell and Stumler kept sending balls straight to the ground.  Beavin punctuated the Kentucky lead with a pair of aces. Rutherford was able to end a three-point Texas A&M streak with a powerful kill. Stumler’s relentless pressure forced Texas A&M into its third timeout following one of the Floyds Knobs, Indiana native’s kills. Madi Skinner terminated for Kentucky on the right pin to arrive at set point and a service error ended the set for Kentucky, 25-18.

Set Three

Texas A&M came out strong in the third set, as they earned the first two points. Stumler got the first Kentucky point of the set to cut into the TAMU lead at 2-1. Similar to the second set, it was a back-and-forth fight for the momentum until midway through when UK seized control of play.  A kill by Skinner and another ace from Tealer got Kentucky some separation for the first time in the set at 8-5. Skinner’s kills went to double digits as she and Bell worked to build the lead from the Aggies which proved to be a challenge. Kills from Stumler and Tealer pushed the momentum in Kentucky’s favor as the lead grew to six. For the third time, Stumler went to serve off of a kill and got Kentucky a pair of points. Long rallies ended with an impressive play by Skinner that sent the Aggies into their first timeout of the set, trailing 15-9. Walker got the Cats’ 10th ace of the night as UK got to 20-14, five point away from sealing the set.  A huge kill by Elise Goetzinger sent Texas A&M into a second timeout, as UK’s advantage ballooned to 23-15. Another Beavin ace set the Wildcats up for match point, and her second service ace in a row won the third set 25-15 and the match for the Wildcats.

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