That was the most fun and raucous Kentucky sports event I’ve attended since the start of the pandemic. On the night Kentucky Volleyball unveiled their 2020 National Championship banner, Craig Skinner’s club smashed Northern Iowa three sets to zero.
Here’s how it all went down:
Unveiling the Banner
Yet another moment representing the cumulative climb to the top for the Kentucky Volleyball program. UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey were in attendance to honor the Wildcats Championship and award head coach Craig Skinner his ring.
Here was the banner reveal:
For more on the banner hanging, check out Zack’s earlier article.
Now, on to the game.
Wow. Just WOW. The 2020 Kentucky Volleyball team may have been the ones honored as champions, but the new 2021 team turned in the most dominant set I’ve seen in the last two years.
Kentucky won by a score of 25 to 5. That’s right. In one set of volleyball, the ‘Cats quintupled their opponent. It was the loudest sporting event I’ve attended in the last 18 months. Check out the final point:
In the second and third sets, the Kentucky Volleyball team came back to Earth a little bit. Northern Iowa hung much tougher in the second, keeping the lead within seven for most of the set.
After the first set, Skinner rotated some of his subs and freshmen into the game in the middle of the second. Can’t blame him after that 25-5 opener. And it was good to see backup setter Cameron Scheitzach get some reps, as well as some of the lower-rotation front row players such as Sophie Fischer and Erin Lamb.
After a slight scare late, Kentucky closed out the middle set, 25-17.
Whew, don’t let Coach Skinner get ahold of the third-set tape. Kentucky Volleyball stumbled early and never put Northern Iowa far enough out of reach to allow for a long stint for the backups.
Skinner has mentioned his team is stocked full of elite talent and can play with anyone at their best. But he also noted that his team has a lot they can clean up.
The first set was played to perfection. Blocks and kills left and right, an ace here or there, and total destruction from start to finish.
In the third, Kentucky bumbled their way to a 25-19 victory that would seem concerning if not for the opening set.
Hey, I’m just nitpicking. Of course there ain’t much to complain about on a night where a championship banner was hung and the ‘Cats still won 3-0 with a set for the ages.
We’ll be back with more volleyball coverage tomorrow, as Kentucky Volleyball plays Creighton at 10:30 a.m. and USC later in the evening at 7 p.m. You guys can catch both games in between the football action.