Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster

Wildcats Volleyball Upend Minnesota in Biggest Upset Since 93

UK volleyball 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/16/13) – Behind a dominating 15-8 fifth set victory the 19th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team upset No. 4 Minnesota 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-8) in front of 1,586 fans in Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. The win over the fourth-ranked Gophers is the biggest upset in head coach Craig Skinner’s nine seasons.
 
Kentucky (6-3) not only handed Minnesota (8-1) its first loss of the season, the Golden Gophers lost their first three sets of the 2013 campaign. Minnesota started the season with eight straight 3-0 sweeps. In each of their previous 24 sets, no opponent had scored more than 19 points against them. Saturday night, the Wildcats reached at least 22 points in all four possible sets.
 
“It was a heck of an effort,” Skinner said. “We were very aggressive tonight and followed the game plan to a ‘T’. Players just stepped up and made plays and you have to make individual plays against great teams and that’s what we did tonight.”
 
The win over the fourth-ranked Gophers bested UK’s win over No. 5 Florida during the 2009 season as the highest in the Skinner era. The victory is the biggest win over a ranked opponent since the Blue and White downed No. 3 Texas at home in 1993. The win tied the all-time series with Minnesota at three wins apiece and is the first time the two schools have met when UM is ranked.
 
“It’s just a great win,” Skinner added. “To me, the biggest thing is that it builds our confidence and allows our players to understand the level we can play at. I’m proud of these guys and the way they stepped up. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to get in the gym with these guys because they are fun to coach.”
 
UK’s next opportunity comes seven days from now in Nashville, Tenn., against Lipscomb. The Sept. 21 matchup will begin at 3 p.m. ET and air live on ESPN3. The road contest is followed by Kentucky’s final non-conference match of the season against Morehead State on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
 
Senior Whitney Billings led the way for UK with a match-high 25 kills and 12 digs to couple with a match best .467 hitting percentage. Junior Lauren O’Conner tossed down a career-high 18 kills, while classmate Jackie Napper accounted for a career-best 24 digs.
 
Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren passed out a career-high 55 assists and logged her second career double-double with 10 digs. Freshman Anni Thomasson had her fourth double-double, all within in the last five contests, with 10 kills and 14 digs. Senior Alexandra Morgan posted six kills and added a team-high eight blocks.
 
Kentucky claimed the first set, 25-18 before Minnesota answered back with a 25-22 victory in the second set. The third frame belonged to the Wildcats by a 25-19 margin and gave them a 2-1 lead. A close, 25-23 win in the fourth set that was tied at 23-23 went to UM, which forced a fifth and deciding set.
 
The Wildcats trailed the fifth set 2-1 when they took off and never looked back. Just like that, a 5-0 run gave UK a 6-2 lead they would never relinquish. The fast start was paced by Billings, who notched kills on three of the first five points. The 6-2 advantage quickly turned to 10-4 and 11-6, when a string of three straight points went Kentucky’s way to set up match point at 14-6. O’Conner and Bergren each contributed kills on the 3-0 run, and after Minnesota tallied two points to stave off match point, Bergren sent home a kill for the final, upset-clinching point.
 
Billings and Thomasson, with four kills, and Bergren with two, all hit .667 in the final frame with zero errors. Senior Jessi Greenberg had five of her season-high nine digs in the fifth set. Bergren dished out eight assists.
 
The opening set began when Minnesota won the match’s first point, but it would be the only time in the stanza Kentucky would not have the advantage. The 25-18 win was fueled by a 6-1 run by UK that brought the Wildcats to within three points of victory at 22-15. UM rallied with three of the next four points to make it 23-18, but kills from O’Conner and Billings resulted in the final two scores of the set. UK led by as many as seven late in the set, and the latest of three ties occurred at 11-11. The Wildcats out-hit the Golden Gophers .286 to .111 and posted a 17-11 advantage in kills. Eight kills from Billings was a match high, followed by O’Conner’s five. Both attackers hit .500 in the opening frame.
 
The third frame began much like the second set, with back-and-forth action. An 8-8 tie was the seventh of the set, but that’s when things changed in favor of the Wildcats in a big way. A 6-0 UK run made it 14-8, and that run was extended to 15-4, which put the score at 23-12. After a UK attack error made it 23-13, O’Conner put the Cats within one at 24-13 with a kill. It took seven points, but O’Conner put the set away with her set-leading fifth kill to stop a 6-0 Gopher run and give the Wildcats a 2-1 edge in the match. In addition to O’Conner’s five, Billings had four kills and hit .500 in the frame. UK hit .222 on the set, compared to UM’s .061. Kentucky out-blocked Minnesota 6-4 in the set.
 
The second set, which featured 14 ties, went to Minnesota by a 25-22 margin. The fourth set was won by the Gophers 25-23. UK tied the set as late as 21-21, but did not lead after an early 3-2 advantage was erased.
 
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Charles Healy (UK Athletics)

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Greenville Family Loses Home, Possessions in Fire

GREENVILLE, Ky. (7/23/14) — James family of Greenville lost all their possessions in a house fire at around 6:30 p.m.… Read More

Methodist Hospital Welcomes New OB/GYN Physician

HENDERSON, Ky. (7/23/14) — Methodist Hospital is excited to announce the addition of a new women’s healthcare provider… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 22, 2014 3228

Madisonville Woman Charged With…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 21, 2014 2291

Five Sent to Hospital After Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 1714

Business Spotlight - Painted Window Aims…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 21, 2014 1597

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - July…

in News by Madisonville Police Department
July 19, 2014 1520

Cash Mob Descends on Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 22, 2014 3228

Madisonville Woman Charged With…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 21, 2014 1091

Madisonville Fire Chief Announces…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 19, 2014 1057

Local Hip-Hop Artist, Marack, Talks About…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
July 21, 2014 1051

Three Injured in Three-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 19, 2014 832

Riddle Insurance Inaugural Flight

in Top Stories by Ron Sanders

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 21, 2014 1055

Portion of Southeastern Parkway Closed…

in News by Beth Cecil
July 22, 2014 707

Alliance for a Drug Free Owensboro and…

in News by Carla Shelton
July 22, 2014 631

Daviess County Traffic Advisory

in News by Keith Todd
July 21, 2014 448

Strahan Selected as Cravens Elementary…

in Top Stories by Julie Ellis
July 21, 2014 245

ODC 14-Year-Olds Win West State, Move on…

in Top Stories by Steve LeMaster

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 21, 2014 2291

Five Sent to Hospital After Two-Vehicle…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 21, 2014 1714

Business Spotlight - Painted Window Aims…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 19, 2014 1520

Cash Mob Descends on Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 23, 2014 829

Greenville Family Loses Home, Possessions…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03