The Kentucky volleyball team concluded their final match inside Rupp Arena with a resounding victory against the 23rd ranked Baylor, securing a spot in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats hit an impressive .500 as a team, showcasing their offensive prowess and determination on the court.
Emma Grome played a pivotal role in guiding the team’s offense with 45 assists, contributing to the Wildcats’ blistering .500 clip. Senior Reagan Rutherford led the team with 14 kills, followed by Brooklyn DeLeye with 13 kills and Azhani Tealer with 11 kills. Elise Goetzinger and Erin Lamb also made significant contributions with seven and five kills, respectively.
After the match, UK head coach Craig Skinner expressed his delight with the team’s offensive performance and praised the seniors for leading the team to victory against a tough opponent. The Wildcats’ defensive strength was evident as well, with Eleanor Beavin picking up a match-high 13 digs and DeLeye adding ten. Molly Tuozzo and Rutherford also made valuable defensive contributions.
The victory improved Kentucky’s season record to 21-7, extending their winning streak to 18 games, the best in the nation. The team’s next destination in the tournament is yet to be determined, with a potential matchup in Lincoln, Nebraska on the horizon. The players have a strong sense of determination and are motivated to prove themselves in the upcoming matches, regardless of the seed or location.
Looking ahead, the Wildcats are preparing to face the winner of the Arkansas/TCU match. The game is scheduled for Thursday, December 7th, with the first serve time and location to be announced later as the teams advance into the Sweet Sixteen. In a post-match interview, senior Reagan Rutherford emphasized the team’s motivated mindset, stating that they are “playing with a chip on [their] shoulder, like [they] have something to prove.”
Following the game, Hunter Mitchell and Leah Edmond provided a breakdown of the match and a preview of Kentucky’s potential future opponents live from Rupp Arena on Point Kentucky. This victory and the team’s unwavering determination have set the stage for an exciting and competitive journey through the NCAA Tournament.