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Wildcats fall at the service line in loss to Aggies
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Texas A&M used nine service aces, including four from Hollann Hans to hand the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats their sixth loss of the season, and second in Southeastern Conference play. The Aggies won sets one, two and four en route to a 3-1 (25-18, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20) win over the Wildcats.
“Texas A&M won the serving game tonight, and that was apparent to everyone in the building,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “That was solely the difference in the match. They went on serving runs and got free points on their serve tonight, and we didn’t.”
Kentucky falls to 15-6 overall on the season and drops out of a first-place tie with Florida for the first time all season in the SEC standings. Friday night marked the fourth loss of the season at home for UK, something that hasn’t happened under Craig Skinner in five years.
The Wildcats had three players with double-figure kills including senior Leah Edmond, who co-led all players in the match for UK with 14 alongside sophomore Alli Stumler. Leah Meyer had 10 kills on Friday night, her seventh 10-plus kill match of the season.
Kentucky will play Arkansas on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET at Memorial Coliseum.
Texas A&M dictated much of the set, jumping out to the first substantial lead of the frame via a 4-0 scoring run to lead 9-5. After the Aggies got back-to-back kills to make it 12-8 in favor of the Aggies, UK used its first timeout of the set. The Wildcats would win the next point, but a 3-0 run would push the Aggies back in front. Another big Aggie run forced UK into its second timeout down six points at 17-11. Texas A&M rallied to close out the set hitting a whopping .429 in the frame by a tally of 25-18. UK did not lead at any point in the set.
Kentucky led for the early points before the Aggies went on a 3-0 serving run to take a 16-15 lead, their first of the match. Texas A&M would then rally to score four points in a row at take a 22-18 lead and closed out the set, 25-21. UK crept as close as 23-21 in the late stages, but Texas A&M won the last two of three points to close out the frame and a 2-0 lead. The Aggies joined No. 17 Utah and Georgia as the only two teams to win both sets one and two this season against UK.
Kentucky got off to a better start in the third set than it had all match, leading for a majority of the opening points of the frame. UK stretched its lead on a Leah Edmond kill to make it 11-8 Wildcats and for the first time in the match, the Aggies called a timeout to stop the UK momentum. Kentucky grew its lead to 15-10 on a Caitlyn Cooper kill from the left side, but TAMU jabbed right back at the Wildcats with three in a row to close to within two points and maneuver UK into a halt of play. A critical service run by Lauren Tharp pushed the UK lead to 24-16 as she won seven points in a row for UK on her serve. A Madison Lilley dump off second contact ended the set and put one on the board for Kentucky.
Kentucky dug itself an early hole in the fourth set, as the Aggies served well to stretch out to a 9-4 lead to begin the frame. UK called a timeout after the Aggies won seven points in a row and responded with two in a row for them. The Aggies went on another extended run in the middle of the set to take an 18-12 lead and ran away with the match from there. Texas A&M closed out the fourth set, 25-20.