LEXINGTON, Ky. — No. 8 Kentucky Volleyball took down No. 16 and nine-time national champion powerhouse Stanford in five sets of a hard fought match Sunday.
Sophomore Madi Skinner had six fifth-set kills and a new career-high 24 kills. Freshman setter Emma Grome had a new career-high 58 assists for the match. With Grome's efforts, UK's offense flourished to the tune of a .304 hitting percentage.
Junior Azhani Tealer also had a career-high with 18 kills. She hit .412 with two critical aces and five blocks, including one solo stuff.
"The first thing we wanted to do was attack all night. We knew Stanford was very capable, very physical, great blocking team and they were going to go on runs. We had to continue to attack," head coach Craig Skinner said after the game.
"You can't back down from teams like that because it's going to happen. You've got to fight, you've got to battle. Again, you don't know what a fifth game feels like against a top-ten team until you're there. We got an idea last Wednesday and improved today."
The victory secured the Wildcats first game in which they beat a ranked opponent. After falling to top-five competition in Wisconsin and rival Louisville in the weeks prior to Sunday's victory, Kentucky used those losses as learning lessons.
"We're really young, so we kinda have to learn what it takes to win and it's hard and it's gritty," junior middle blocker Azhani Tealer told LEX 18. "Being in those matches and those environments like we have been in the preseason, it's showing us we're going to have to dig our feet in and that's good for us to learn."
UK improves to 7-3 on the season and now turn their attention to conference play. Kentucky begin their 18-match SEC schedule Friday, hosting Missouri at 8 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum. The game is set to air on the SEC Network.