LEXINGTON, Ky. — The No. 11 Kentucky volleyball team got 12 kills from center tackle Elise Goetzinger and 11 kills from Reagan Rutherford on Sunday afternoon as they earned their first win of the season 2022 thanks to a 3-0 (25-20, 25-161, 25-20) sweep of Ohio inside the Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats hit .386 as a team and held the Bobcats at .099 on the night with five Wildcats players recording at least five kills in a balanced offensive effort. On defense, Kentucky shone with five blocks from Rutherford and four from senior center blocker Azhani Tealer to lead the defensive charge.
Kentucky is now 1-1 on the season and will turn its attention to the 2022 Bluejay Invitational hosted by Creighton in Omaha next weekend where the UK will face Northern Iowa, Southern California and Creighton. All three tournament matches will be broadcast live on FLOsports.
On Sunday afternoon, the Wildcats also got 31 assists from sophomore setter Emma Grome who had an ace and six digs in the game. Eleanor Beavin had 12 digs to lead all Wildcats players on Sunday as the primary force in keeping the Bobcats offense at a negative hit percentage in the second set.
Ohio with the loss drops to 0-2 on the year.
Kentucky and Ohio were close in the early points of the frame until the Wildcats began to pull away through Adanna Rollins and Reagan Rutherford to take a three-point lead at 17-14, forcing the Bobcats to their first time out of the set. The 3-0 run continued out of time out on an extended serve from Emma Grome to push the United Kingdom lead to 18-14, the game’s biggest lead at this stage for the young Wildcats. Consecutive errors from the British offense extended Kentucky’s lead to 18-16 as the Bobcats closed in, but a winning streak from Adanna Rollins closed the first set as Kentucky took the frame, 25- 20. Erin Lamb and Elise Goetzinger led the attack for the UK with Lamb with a team record six dismissals and Goetzinger putting his name on four.
Kentucky dominated the second set with Reagan Rutherford stepping up and making big plays for the Wildcats, finishing the set with six kills just behind Goetzinger’s eight. The Wildcats offense was steady, leading by nine before a net breach challenge ended in favor of the Wildcats. After a successful challenge in Kentucky, the United Kingdom’s lead jumped to 13 points, the highest in the series to that point. The Bobcats tried to slow Kentucky’s offense with a three-point streak, but Rutherford responded with a kill and three straight serves, including a crucial ace. Senior transfer Kelly Franxman ended the set with his own kill on his Kentucky debut, giving the UK the second-set victory, 25-11.
Adanna Rollins came into form early in the third set, as the Wildcats got their first split at 15-10 and prompted Ohio to call their first timeout at five in the frame. Franxman had his own impact, with five kills and a solo block in the single set, finishing with six kills from 10 swings and just one error in his Kentucky opener. Redshirt rookie Jordyn Williams made his first as a Wildcat with two kills to push the Cats ahead 23-15 late in the game. Williams missed the entire 2021 season due to a torn Achilles in pre-season and is now ready to go for the season. An Elise Goetzinger kill gave Kentucky the game 25-20, sweeping the Bobcats, 3-0.
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