LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team fell to 19th-ranked Kentucky, 3-1 (21-25, 28-26, 20-25, 23-25) in a back-and-forth battle that saw 39 ties and 17 lead changes on Saturday evening during the final match of the Bluegrass Battle in Lexington, Kentucky.
Kathryn Caine led the Hokies (1-2) with 15 kills, hitting .400 on the attack. Amanda McKinzie added 12 kills while LaTasha Samson-Akpan posted 11 kills while hitting .714. Jordan Fish and Kyra Coundourides combined for 27 and 22 assists, respectively.
Owens was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Hokies took an early lead in the opening set, going on top 9-3 as McKinizie knocked down a kill. Tech maintained the lead and was up 14-10 just past the mid-point of the set, but the Wildcats rallied with a 7-3 run to tie it up at 17-17. UK continued its run and took its largest lead at 24-18. The Hokies looked to make a late surge behind a pair of aces from Beckwith, cutting the lead to 24-21, but the Wildcats got a kill from Lauren O’Conner to secure the point needed for the win.
In the second set the two teams kept it close early and were tied at 10-10 before UK went on a little run to break open the scoring to go on top 13-10. The Wildcats held on to their lead over the next several rallies and were up 17-14. Tech went to work, rattling off a 7-1 run to take the 21-18 lead late in the set. Kentucky answered, tying it up at 23-23. The two teams tied at 24, 25 and 26, but a kill from Caine and a Kentucky error gave the Hokies the points to win the set 28-26.
Virginia Tech and Kentucky again played a close set in the third and were knotted at 15-15. UK went on a 7-2 run to take the 22-17 lead late in the set. The Hokies got no closer than four in the final rallies as the Wildcats claimed the 25-20 win.
In the final set, Virginia Tech and Kentucky battled with 14 ties and eight lead changes. After trading points throughout the set, the two teams were tied as late as 20-20 before Kentucky scored four of the next five points to go up 24-21. The Hokies scored a pair on the next two rallies to cut it down to 24-22, but a kill from Shelby Workman secured the point for the Wildcats to claim the win 25-23.
Kentucky was led by four attackers in double-digit kils. Workman and O’Connor tallied 12 kills each while Sara Schwarzwalder and Anni Thomasson had 11 a piece.
The Hokies will return to the court on Friday, Sept. 5 when they face VCU as part of the Ohio University Invitational in Athens, Ohio.
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