Posted: Sep 1, 2012 10:52 PM
Senior Ashley Frazier continued her impressive play with 12 kills on .458 hitting and adding a career-best seven digs en route to leading No. 10 Kentucky to a 3-0 (25-8, 25-15, 25-23) win over Western Carolina to close out the Baymont Invitational on Saturday evening.
With the win the Wildcats improve to 5-2 on the year. UK is next in action at the Ameritas Players Challenge on the campus of Nebraska. UK will take on Duquesne in the opening match on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. ET.
"It was a really great offensive performance tonight," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "I thought our focus and energy was where it needed to be. We did a good job staying disciplined and executing the game plan."
Kentucky's offense dominated the match to the tune of 51 kills on a blazing .423 attacking percentage. Six players hit at an above .500 clip in the match. Sophomore Lauren O'Conner led the attack with 14 kills on .542 hitting. Junior Alexandra Morgan posted nine hammers on .500 hitting with junior Whitney Billings totaling six kills on a .545 clip.
Senior setter Christine Hartmann passed out 38 assists and found seven players for two more kills in the match. Senior libero Stephanie Klefot led the back line defensive effort with 10 digs.
"It was great to be able to get some new people into the match," Skinner said. "We were able to get Shelby (Workman) and Desiree (Wilkerson) playing in the front row and giving them an opportunity to help us win."
The Wildcat offense started the match clicking on cylinders as the Blue and White tallied eight kills in its first 11 points to surge to a comfortable 11-3 advantage in the opening frame. After Western Carolina opted to use its first timeout the Wildcats did not slow down churning out an 8-1 run and taking a commanding 20-4 lead following five more kills and a block from Hartmann and freshman Sara Schwarzwalder. UK closed the frame on a 5-3 run and earned the opening frame by a 25-8 score.
Kentucky blasted 17 kills on a searing .552 hitting clip. O'Conner notched six kills with Frazier posting four. UK committed just one error in the frame, while stifling the Catamounts to just three kills on a negative .077 hitting percentage.
Western Carolina battled the Wildcats in a back-and-forth battle in the early stages of the second set before Kentucky turned a 5-0 run into a 15-7 lead. The run was highlighted by a pair of kills from Frazier and an ace from Klefot. UK closed out the frame on a 10-8 run to secure a 2-0 lead into the locker room with a 25-15 win.
UK posted its second-straight set with 17 kills, this time on an improved .567 hitting clip. O'Conner again led the attack with five kills, while Frazier totaled four hammers and added a pair of spectacular digs to the Wildcat cause. Western Carolina managed 10 kills on .233 hitting.
The squads exchanged points back and forth for the entire set until Western Carolina managed to score two straight points and attain an 18-16 lead in the third. Kentucky climbed back into things and tied it at 18 with a kill from junior Desiree Wilkerson. A slicing kill down the line by Frazier gave the Blue and White a two-point edge at 23-21 and Western Carolina took a timeout to quell the threat. Kentucky finished the set with Morgan totaling a kill and the final point coming from the hand of O'Conner.
UK again matched the 17-kill total in the third frame. Western Carolina had 11 on .176 hitting.