Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Rebels Hang Tough with No. 15 Kentucky

Aubrey Edie Photo by Amelia Camurati
Aubrey Edie Photo by Amelia Camurati
Playing without junior middle blocker Nakeyta Clair, who is second in the SEC in hitting percentage, the Ole Miss volleyball team hung tough with No. 15 Kentucky here Friday night at the Gillom Sports Center, before falling 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 15-25, 23-25).
The Rebels face a quick turnaround, as they head to Columbia, Missouri to face Missouri Sunday at 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.
With Clair out, the Rebels relied on their outsides, freshman Lexi Thompson, who finished the night with 21 kills, and sophomore Melanie Crow, who posted 13. Aubrey Edie tallied 42 assists and Cara Fisher had 13 digs.
Ole Miss got off to a great start in the match winning the first set 25-20, helped out by eight Kentucky errors.
Kentucky rebounded and played their usual low-error game to take the second set 25-18 and even the match at 1. The Wildcats broke open a 12-12 tie and closed out the set on a 13-6 run. They would carry momentum into the third set winning it 25-15, including a 14-4 run to end it.
The Rebels were not done however, getting off to a 9-4 lead early in the fourth set and staying with the Wildcats on some big swings from Thompson. Kentucky gained its first lead since the opening point at 17-16 and later enjoyed a 22-20 advantage. A service error and then a huge kill by Rebel freshman Taylor Alexander tied it at 22-22, but the Wildcats won three of the next four points to clinch the set 25-23 and the match.
“I am pleased with the overall effort, especially since we found out three hours before the match, that Nakeyta (Clair) would not be available,” head coach Steven McRoberts said. “Early in the first set, we executed well. Kentucky also helped us out with a lot of errors. They are a very good team, who typically plays low-error, so we knew after the first set that they would probably cut out a lot of those, which they did. We knew we would have to play a cleaner game, which in the second and third sets, we didn’t. We had a shot there at the end in the fourth set to push it to a fifth.”
Sunday will be the second meeting between Ole Miss and Missouri. The Rebels downed the Tigers 3-0 in Oxford on Oct. 1. It will also be the team’s sixth match on the SEC Network.
For more information on Ole Miss Volleyball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB, on Facebook at OleMissVolleyball and on Instagram at OleMissVB.
–Ole Miss Sports Information