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No. 8 Kentucky Crushes Auburn in Straight Sets Behind Stumler’s 14 Kills

With just six days left until its biggest series of the season against Florida, the No. 8 Kentucky volleyball team showed no signs of overlooking the opponent directly in front of them Saturday, as they dominated a scrappy Auburn team in straight sets (25-13, 25-10, 25-20) inside Auburn Arena.

As they have for most of the season, Kentucky utilized a potent 1-2 punch on the outside with Alli Stumler and Madi Skinner to do most of its damage offensively. Stumler led the way with 14 kills on a .262 clip and Skinner added 10 kills on a .300 clip. Between the pair of outsides, they totaled just seven errors on 62 swings.

But it was the Cats’ balance that separated them from the Tigers in this one, as eight Wildcats recorded at least one termination. Azhani Tealer added 7 kills with just error, Reagan Rutherford had five and sophomore Elise Goetzinger came in off the bench to add four.

Emma Grome directed the offense to a .324 hitting clip, as the Cats hit above .300 for the seventh-straight match. Prior to the game, Kentucky ranked fifth nationally in hitting percentage, hitting .294 on the season. The freshman setter dished out 33 assists on the evening and added 10 digs to the match as well.

Defensively, freshman libero Eleanor Beavin had a fantastic day out of the back row, picking up a match-high 17 digs with five assists and a service ace. Stumler added eight digs of her own, Lauren Tharp had seven and Riah Walker picked up six.

Kentucky held the Tigers to .028 hitting and forced them into 22 hitting errors. They totaled 9.0 blocks on the evening, led by 5 from Bella Bell. Grome, Sophie Fischer, Goetzinger, Rutherford, Tealer and Stumler all added two rejections and Skinner had one.

Heading into the match, Auburn’s Rebekah Rath led the Southeastern Conference in kills per set, averaging 4.30 per frame. Against the Wildcats, however, Rath totaled just 10 kills on 47 swings with six errors, good for a hitting percentage of .085. Outside of Rath, no other Tiger managed more than six kills.

With the win, Kentucky improves to 21-4 and 14-1 in the SEC. They’ll look to finish the weekend off strong tomorrow in their final road match of the year at Auburn. First serve against the Tigers is set for 2:00 pm.

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