DAYTON, Ohio-Alli Stumler’s 11 disposals and Madi Skinner’s 10 saves were enough to defeat the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday afternoon as the No. 3 Kentucky volleyball team swept Cincinnati 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-18) to win the 2021 Dayton Invitational championship.
Kentucky has won all nine sets it has played this weekend and has never faced more than a two-point deficit in the season-opening weekend tournament. An all-tournament team will be named after the conclusion of the final game between Dayton and Texas State.
The United Kingdom is now 3-0 for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats will open their 2021 home game roster Friday night as part of the 2021 Bluegrass action at Memorial Coliseum against Northern Iowa at 19:30 ET. Before the game, the United Kingdom will unveil its 2020 NCAA National Championship banner. Tickets are available from the UK box office or can be purchased at the door on the day of the match.
Emma Grome led another solid offense for Kentucky on Saturday, recording 31 assists as the Wildcats batted.341 as a team. Cameron Scheitzach also added three assists.
Kentucky held the Bearcats for .061 hits for the game thanks to a team-high nine digs from Riah Walker and seven from senior Lauren Tharp from the back row.
Azhani Tealer had a great game, with eight disposals and four blocks as she hit a mammoth.538 on Saturday afternoon to help the Wildcats get past the Bearcats. Sophomore midfielder Elise Goetzinger had three blocks with Reagan Rutherford also contributing six disposals on 13 swings to the mix.
A service error by the Bearcats pushed Kentucky to its biggest lead in the set at that point, as the U.K. led 15-11 at the media timeout of the first. Madi Skinner and Alli Stumler had three disposals each at that point, with Emma Grome recording eight assists to start the match out of the British team’s eight disposals. Azhani Tealer’s second finish of the set extended Kentucky’s lead to 20-15 and that prompted Cincinnati to call its first timeout of the set, with UC’s offense held to a.143% completion at that point. Madi Skinner ended the set with authority with a block of stuff down the left side as Kentucky cruised to a 25-18 victory. Come here.440 in the set with four finishs from Skinner leading the way.
Kentucky got off to a fast start out of the gates again as it took a 6-2 lead and at 12-7 after back-to-back eliminations by Elise Goetzinger, Cincinnati called its first timeout. A 3-0 run quickly created a significant gap for Kentucky, as takedowns by Tealer and Skinner extended Kentucky’s lead to 17-9. The Bearcats responded well by winning three in a row to close the gap to 17-12, but Stumler’s sixth finish of the game ended the Bearcats’ run and the UK took an 18-12 lead.
Grome and Goetzinger were both huge throughout the set, recording a block of stuff to give the Wildcats an eight-point lead, the largest of the set, and Cincinnati called its final timeout. An ace by Madi Skinner ended the inning and Kentucky took a two-set lead to nil, 25-15.
The UK faced their biggest deficit of the season early in the third set, trailing 4-2, but a Stumler break ended that to make it 4-3 and Skinner’s eighth finish tied the frame at 4-4. That kickoff started a 5-0 run and Cincinnati called its first timeout of the inning. Stumler used another ace serve to push the run to 7-0 before a blocking error ended the stretch. The lead climbed to 17-9 and Cameron Scheitzach came in to set up for the UK as the Wildcats won the next two successive points to make the score 19-9 and Cincinnati burned its last timeout. A service error ended the match by the Bearcats as the Wildcats won the third set, 25-18.