For the third straight season, the Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
On Saturday, Kentucky defeated the Michigan Wolverines by a score of 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) and will continue their 10-game win streak in the Sweet 16.
Next up for the Cats will be either the eighth-seeded Washington Huskies or the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Regional Semifinal. The game will be played at Baylor University, the host team and the overall number one seed in the tournament.
Set 1: Kentucky 25, Michigan 19
Kentucky coach Craig Skinner told his team to play aggressive and play quick, which is exactly what they did. Alli Stumler and Leah Edmond were the offensive duo for the second night in a row, with a combined 11 kills in the first set.
Kentucky took the lead right out of the gate and used strong passing to create more opportunities for the offense. The Kentucky defense of Gabby Curry, Lauren Tharp, and Alli Stumler were huge, with many highlight-worthy digs.
Set 2: Kentucky 25, Michigan 19
The Kentucky block had arguably its best performance of the season, especially in the second set. Leah Meyer and Caitlyn Cooper had a combined eleven blocks in the match and were an unstoppable force. Michigan is known for its middle blockers and big blocks but was outplayed by Kentucky.
Leah Edmond and the rest of the UK offense continued to excel, giving the Cats a comfortable lead throughout the set. Kentucky never flinched when Michigan went on a run and always focused on the next play. Kentucky closed and went into intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Set 3: Kentucky 25, Michigan 20
By the third set, both teams had settled in. Michigan finally began to find a rhythm offensively, but could never scrape together a substantial run. The Kentucky defense kept a very good serving team in Michigan at bay, which shows how consistent the Cats are.
Michigan praised Kentucky setter Madison Lilley for her distribution of the ball tonight, helping keep the UM defense on their feet. Kentucky put together their third-consecutive complete set, with great flow offensively. Kentucky always had a response to Michigan’s runs and closed out the set when it counted the most.
Final: Kentucky 3, Michigan 0