Volleyball Cats ace to 1st place, beat Bama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Kentucky had eight aces and eight blocked shots, and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Mendoza had 18 kills to lead the Wildcats (20-3, 11-1) to a 3-0 sweep over the homestanding Alabama Crimson Tide. Combined with the upset victory by Georgia over previously undefeated in conference Florida, the # 19/22 Wildcats soared into a first place tie in the Southeastern Conference.

Kentucky swept Alabama 3-0 by scores of 25-23, 25-22 and 25-21, with each set hotly contested. The match was televised live on "Dig Pink" day in Tuscaloosa, with free T-shirts and Alabama volleyballs invigorating the enthusiastic crowd, and motivating the Crimson Tide. Even though the Crimson Tide outhit the Wildcats, .315-.289, UK played more consistent volleyball and swept Alabama for the second time this season.

UK senior Queen Nzenwa warming up with Breast Cancer awareness shirt

The first set was an indication of how the match would go, with neither team holding more than a two-point advantage. The set featured 17 ties and seven lead changes, and the Tide held an 18-16 lead before the Cats scored nine of the remaining 14 points for the 25-23 win.

The win makes the second consecutive season the Wildcats have won 20 or more games under head Coach Craig Skinner. Skinner was pleased with Kentucky's performance. "Alabama played an extremely good match," Skinner said. "I thought we really responded offensively and defensively with the eight aces and eight blocks and that was the difference in the match."

Head Coach Craig Skinner watching UK sweep Bama

Kentucky Sports Report was present to take these photos.

Television timeouts and inflatable "Big Al" mascots did not bother UK junior Sarah Rumely

Sophomore Sarah Mendoza scores one of UK's eight aces. Mendoza led UK with 18 kills on the day and a .586 hitting percentage

Sophomore Laura Stokowski with a successful dig against Alabama

The UK starting lineup

UK senior Queen Nzenwa and sophomore Sarah Mendoza

UK sophomores Sarah Mendoza and Blaire Hiler as the Wildcats get ready to wrap up set # 3 against the Tide

Queen Nzenwa puts away the match-winning kill as Tide spectators (and a couple of Wildcat supporters) look on

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