LEXINGTON, Ky. –Whitney Craven and Kara Morgan tallied double-digit kills, but the Rebels couldn’t overcome a surging Wildcat team as Ole Miss (5-10, 1-6 SEC) fell to Kentucky (15-3, 6-1 SEC) on Friday by a score of 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 14-25, 19-25).
Craven put down 11 kills and Morgan put down 10 kills to lead the Rebels in the category, while senior middle blocker Regina Thomas hit .357 and added seven kills and a pair of blocks to help the Ole Miss offense in the match.
“It’s tough to play on the road in the SEC,” said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. “We did some things better than we have been doing, but on the road in this league you have to be flawless to win. We just have to get back to work to face Tennessee on Sunday.”
Kentucky pulled out to a quick lead, but the Rebels fought back and cut the advantage to one at 7-6 on a kill from Regina Thomas. For the second time, the Wildcats would put together a run to move out ahead by five, but again Ole Miss fought back with a rally to take the lead for the first time at 15-14 on a block from Whitney Craven and Courtney Cunningham.
The lead didn’t hold, however, as Kentucky answered with a third run that put the Wildcats in front for good as Ole Miss dropped the first set 25-19.
The Rebels jumped out of the gates in set two, staking a claim to a 7-3 lead with a solid presence at the net and a couple of quick kills from Craven and Thomas. Ole Miss kept the pressure on the Wildcats and fought off a couple of runs, including answering a late run with a five-point run that was highlighted by three Kara Morgan kills to push out to a 25-19 win in set two.
After a back-and-forth struggle to open the third set, Kentucky broke a 6-6 stalemate with a four-point run that put the Wildcats up for good. The Rebels couldn’t overcome an onslaught of points from the home-standing Kentucky team as Ole Miss dropped the third set 25-14.
The offensive press continued in set four as Kentucky opened up a 6-1 lead on the Rebels to start things off. The Rebels continued to fight, cutting the lead to as close as two points twice down the stretch, but the Wildcats answered each push by Ole Miss with a corresponding run to extend the lead.
Ole Miss will continue conference play on the road on Sunday, facing the No. 19 Tennessee Lady Vols at 12:30 p.m. CT at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game can be followed live via Gametracker at www.OleMissSports.com.
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