LEXINGTON, Ky. –The Virginia Tech volleyball team battled with the Kentucky Wildcats, but came up just short as it fell, 3-0 (22-25, 22-25, 27-29) in the final match of the Kentucky Classic. Tech now sits at 3-3 on the year, while Kentucky moves to 5-2 this season
Both teams teetered with an early edge, but the Hokies took off after breaking a 6-6 tie. With the momentum seemingly in Tech’s hands, the Wildcats rallied to tie things at 14 apiece and ran away from there. The Hokies would not see the lead again in the set and Kentucky eventually earned the win in the opening set, 25-22.
The Wildcats carried their momentum into the second set, as they again broke away from an early tie and never looked back. Turning things around after a 4-4 tie, Kentucky extended its lead to as much as five in the set and would not let the Hokies get within less than two. Despite a late effort by Tech, the Wildcats kept the edge and captured another 25-22 victory.
The Hokies won the first point on a Kentucky error to begin the third set, but the Wildcats would not let Tech get anything started as they stole the next eight points. Kentucky kept the distance as play continued, but Tech battled back and eventually took a 23-21 lead after breaking a 21-all tie. With the lead shifting back-and-forth neither team could extend its total to two for the victory until the Wildcats put down a kill after a big block to seal the sweep and 29-17-set win.
Senior Justine Record led the Hokies with 13 kills, while junior Cara Baarendse set a new career high with 11 digs, also tallying nine kills. Senior Kelsey Maloney also assisted on six blocks on the day.
Three players recorded double-digit kills for the Wildcats, but Lauren O’Conner led the way with 13 in the match. Ann Ames paced the defense with six blocks.
Baarendse was named to the All-Tournament team for the second time this season. She was joined by Ohio’s Katie Post, Western Kentucky’s Ashley Potts and Jordyn Skinner, and Kentucky’s Chirstine Hartmann and O’Conner. The Wildcats’ Stephanie Klefot was named the tournament’s MVP.
Tech will return to action next weekend as it hosts the Hokie Invite at Cassell Coliseum. Play will begin on Friday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. with Tennessee versus Seton Hall, and the Hokies will take on American later that evening at 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_VBall).