Jewell, Cooper provide big support in Cats’ victory
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The No. 16 Kentucky volleyball team came out victorious, 3-1, over Texas State despite dropping the first set (22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21). The Wildcats posted their second-best hitting clip (.333) and kill total (66) of the season.
“I’m proud of the resilience,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “We have 15 people on this roster and at any point in time anyone can make a difference. The people that made the difference today were Caitlyn Cooper, Merideth Jewell, and Cameron Scheitzach coming off the bench to give us a lift. Whether it’s producing a kill or just changing energy on the floor, everyone can have an impact. Those three made a significant impact for us today.”
Junior outside hitter Leah Edmond led the match with 24 kills – one from her season-high mark and two from her career best – on 53 total attempts for a .321 hitting percentage. Saturday notched the second time the junior has eclipsed 20 kills in the last five matches. Edmond has now finished each match this season with at least 15 kills and posted double-digit kills in 27 straight matches.
Cooper came off the bench and made an immediate impact in the win, racking up 14 kills on 24 attempts for a staunch .500 hitting percentage in a career effort. The junior college transfer matched her season-high block total, rejecting three balls over the course of the match, and set a new season high in digs with three as well.
Senior Brooke Morgan led the team in blocks for the third match this season with four. It’s the fifth time she’s totaled at least four rejections this season and the third in as many matches. The senior middle blocker added eight kills and placed two aces on the floor – one from her season best (3) against Kansas.
Jewell stepped up and provided some big-time plays as she reached a new UK career high in kills with eight. The outside hitter/libero accumulated eight digs in her second-best total of 2018.
Sophomore setter Madison Lilley provided crucial support to the UK offense, totaling 53 assists – her second-best performance of the season. She added eight digs and three kills.
Senior McKenzie Watson and sophomore Gabby Curry both totaled 12 digs each, which led the Wildcats for the day. Watson’s scoops are her season best and the fourth time she’s posted double-digit digs in a match this season.
Freshman Cameron Scheitzach saw her first action of the season and entered as a serving sub in third and fourth sets to give an extra lift to the Wildcats. Scheitzach brought a different energy to the floor and match and finished with two digs.
The Wildcats improve to 4-4 on the season while Texas State falls to 5-5. UK will be back in action with a road trip to Louisville on Friday, at 7 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats took the first point on an error from the Bobcats that went wide left. Edmond was the first in the match to get on the board with a kill to the middle before a Bobcat service error got the score to 3-1. Texas State rebounded with a kill but surrendered another point on its second service error. UK followed with a wide serve of its own but still held a one-point advantage at 4-3 before a well-placed ball from the Bobcats found the right side of the floor to even things up. The Bobcats added another kill that Edmond responded to with her second of the match. The teams swapped points to 7-7. Two Bobcats teamed up for a block on the right side and Alli Stumler answered with a push to the back line to even the score again. The Bobcats went on a 3-0 run that was eventually halted by a ball from Edmond that was demolished on the left line, making the score 11-9. TXST answered with back-to-back terminations and Edmond followed with her fourth. UK then went on a 4-0 run. Two huge digs from Stumler and Curry kept the next extended rally alive to help set Edmond up for another kill. A Bobcat attack error drew things even at 13 before they went on a 4-0 run to send the Wildcats into a huddle at 17-13. Edmond got her sixth termination off a great set from Lilley and the Bobcats placed a ball to the back. A UK service error extended the Texas State lead to five, 20-15 and a Bobcat ace pushed it to six on the ensuing serve. Cooper got on the board with a termination to get to 21-16. Morgan answered a Bobcat kill with three-consecutive terminations to cut the deficit to three and force the Bobcats to call a timeout. Out of the huddle, Edmond extended UK’s run to 4-0 with her seventh kill of the set. The teams swapped points on an error and a kill, which gave the Bobcats set point at 24-21. Edmond pushed her eighth kill across the floor, but the Bobcats ultimately claimed the first set with a strike to the middle.
Texas State opened with a 4-0 run with three kills on the right side and a block. Stumler got the Wildcats on the board with her third kill, but the Bobcats went on another 3-0 run to jump out to an early six-point lead at 7-1. UK responded out of the timeout with a kill from Edmond on the left side that bounced off a Bobcat. The Wildcats gave up the next three points off a service error, a kill, and an ace. Lilley emerged with a kill on the next rally after a battle at the net with the middle blocker to get to 10-3. The teams traded points to 11-4 before Jewell picked up a termination with a tip that dropped on the left side. That sparked what ended up being a 3-0 UK run off Bobcat attack errors. The two teams swapped points to 14-9, which was capped by Morgan’s fifth kill. The Wildcats claimed the next point on another attack error but gave it back with a service error. Edmond nabbed back-to-back kills on a tip and a power shot to the back – good to break into double figures for the match at 11. With the score 15-12 out of the timeout, the teams traded four-consecutive errors to 16-15. Edmond added another sequence of consecutive kills to draw the Wildcats even at 16 and increase her total to 13 terminations for the match. Cooper entered and scored the next two Wildcat points that were smashed off the right side, which knotted things up at 18 in the set. Texas State claimed the next two points before back-to-back terminations from Cooper and Jewell and an ace from Watson gave the Wildcats the lead at 21-20. Texas State called for time. Watson added another ace and Jewell picked up her third termination on the left side. The Bobcats answered with a kill and Stumler gave UK set point with her fourth kill at 24-21. An error and a Bobcat ace cut the UK lead to one. The Wildcats called timeout. Texas State posted a kill out of the timeout but Morgan immediately answered with her sixth on a smashed ball to the middle. A UK service error followed but the Wildcats claimed the next two points off terminations from Edmond, which gave them the set 27-25.
Texas State opened the set with a kill on the left side that was almost blocked and a service error. Morgan stepped back to serve and picked up an ace before a Bobcat kill found the left line. Lilley put up a nice set for Edmond’s 16th kill. Texas State notched a kill before Cooper reentered to grab her sixth kill of the match. The Bobcats took the next two points before another Cooper termination. Cooper got involved on the next play as well, teaming up for a block with Morgan to take a 6-5 lead. It was Cooper again with a rocket on the next play to push the UK lead to two. A Bobcat termination and consecutive kills from Jewell on the left side followed to get to 9-7. UK got to 10-7 on an attack error before the Bobcats claimed the next two points. The Wildcats went on a 3-0 run with Morgan’s second ace of the match and a termination from Kendyl Paris. Texas State took the next two points on errors. Another Edmond tip dropped on the left side for her 17th of the match. Lilley stepped back with an ace as the teams traded kills to 16-12. The Wildcats claimed the next two points on a Bobcat error and Cooper’s ninth kill, extending the lead to five, 18-13. The junior-transfer jumped into double-digit kills two rallies later at 19-14. The teams traded points to 20-15. Morgan notched her seventh kill of the match on the right side, increasing the Bobcat deficit to six, and then teamed up with Edmond for a block in the middle to get to 22-16. A Bobcat kill and service error made it 23-17. Texas State took the next two points prior to Edmond’s 18th kill to get to set point, 24-19. The Bobcats added a kill and another long ball to, giving the Cats the set 25-20.
Edmond started off the set with a ball on the left that came back over. UK gave the point back on a service error, but it was Edmond with another tip to get to 20 terminations for the match. Paris and Edmond teamed up for a block on the right side, giving the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage. Texas State owned the next two points. Edmond’s third kill of the set followed and Paris grabbed her fourth kill before Cooper powered a ball off a Bobcat, which pushed UK ahead by two, 6-4. After a Bobcat termination, UK went on a 4-1 run with kills from Jewell, Lilley and Cooper. The teams traded points to 11-8. A primed set from Lilley set up Morgan perfectly for a kill after the serve on the right side. Texas State went on a 3-0 run with two kills and a block, forcing UK to call its first timeout of the set. Lilley went to war again at the net and emerged victorious, smashing the ball in the middle of the floor for her third kill. Paris and Cooper teamed up again for a huge block again to counter the previous 3-0 run and take the lead back to three. Texas State notched a kill, but it was Cooper again, grabbing her 13th kill to get the Wildcats to 15-12. The teams swapped errors to a 17-15 UK advantage. Cooper’s 14th kill came to fruition on the left side and Jewell added her seventh kill, increasing the UK lead to three at 19-16. Errors were swapped again to 20-17 before Edmond smashed a ball into the floor that came back over the net on a dig. Paris and Edmond struck again with three-consecutive terminations. The Bobcats took the next two points. Paris added another kill and Texas State tried to get something going with two more points, but it was none other than Edmond to end the match with her 24th kill.