OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team battled No. 17 Kentucky to the end in every set Sunday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Center, but could not top the Wildcats and fell 3-0 (23-25, 22-25, 21-25).
“I was proud of the way the team battled, and if we make a play here or there down the stretch the score reverses itself,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “From where we’ve been, we battled pretty consistently throughout the day.”
Freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow tallied a match-high 12 kills on a .348 hitting percentage. Freshman setter Aubrey Edie passed out 26 assists to go with six digs, five kills and two total blocks. Also of note, senior Kara Morgan recorded the 85th service ace of her career Sunday, putting her in a tie for second all-time at Ole Miss during the rally scoring era.
The Rebels (13-15, 3-12 Southeastern Conference) found themselves tight with Kentucky (20-6, 12-3 SEC) in every set of the match in a performance Getzin said the team can build off and take positives from.
“We forced Kentucky into doing some things and they had to make some adjustments against us,” Getzin said. “Today was a solid, consistent performance that we need to see more of.”
In the first set, trailing 12-20, Ole Miss regrouped and chipped away at the Wildcats’ lead. The Rebels used a 5-1 run to pull to within four, and then facing set point at 19-24, went on a 4-0 run to pull within one point at 23-24. Kentucky was forced to use its second timeout of the set but claimed the elusive final point to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-23 victory. Ole Miss had a balanced attack in the opening set with Nakeyta Clair, Crow, Edie and Ty Laporte each providing three kills.
Ole Miss again rallied late in the second set. Down 18-22, the Rebels used a 4-1 run to pull within one at 22-23 and cause the Wildcats to use their final timeout. Kentucky scored the final two points of the set out of the break and won 25-22 to claim a 2-0 lead in the match. Crow found her groove in the second set, leading the Rebels with five kills.
Finally, in the third set, Ole Miss went on a 3-1 run late to pull within a single point at 20-21, and cause Kentucky again to use its second timeout of the set. The Wildcats then scored four of the final five points in the set to win 25-21 and take the match.
Ole Miss will begin its final road trip of the regular season Friday when it heads to Alabama for a tilt with the Crimson Tide at 7:00 p.m. CT. Ole Miss will then face Auburn on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. It is the Rebels’ first matchup against Alabama this season and their second against the Tigers.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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