National Champs

National+Champs

Saturday April 24th the Kentucky Wildcats volleyball team won their first national championship. This was a first not only for UK, but also for the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The championship game featured the two of the most talented teams: the Kentucky Wildcats, a second seed, and the Texas Longhorns, a fourth seed.

The first set was rough for the Cats, but perfect for the Longhorns. The set ended 20-25, Texas. The Longhorns took the first set by storm, from the amazing hitting percentage of 455% to all the great plays in between. In set one the wildcats had the hitting percentage of .216 the lowest this team has seen all season. The Cats did fight until the last point, but Texas overpowered. Texas head coach Jerritt Elliot said that his team is “Fired up.” This fire really showed in the first set.

The second set was unexpected for both teams. The Cats got their fire back and took the lead. Although Texas was in control throughout the entire first set, the Cats came back and took the lead of 9-5, allowing them some room to make errors but stay in control. Both teams showed so much fight in this set, but it seemed like Kentucky’s senior libero, Gabby Curry, was everywhere at once. At the score of 10-7, Gabby ran all the way to the scores table to save one ball. This just shows the hustle this team had. Gabby said, “Coach Skinner asked us as seniors what we wanted to be known as.” Gabby Continues, “And the word we picked was legendary.” This is exactly was Gabby and her fellow teammates did. Kentucky’s junior outside hitter Alli Stumler ended the second set with an ace, making it an easy 25-18 win for the Cats.

The third set was very close; both teams were working so hard. This was a huge set because whoever won this set was in control of the whole game. It went back and forth between both teams but Kentucky’s freshman outside hitter, Madi Skinner, finished the set with a kill, making it a tight 25-23 win for the Cats. Kentucky dropped the first set to Texas, but the team was looking for this comeback win.

Texas took the beginning of the fourth set by storm, with the huge lead of 6-1. Kentucky was struggling to finish. Kentucky made a massive comeback and Alli Stumler finished the set for the cast with her 26 kill of the night. Not only did Alli Stumler lead the team in kills but she led her team to their first national championship win. Alli Stumler said that, “We just knew that we had it, and if we could play like Kentucky Volleyball , we knew we would win it all.” Alli gives all the glory back to God, she says that she would not be here unless it was for Him.

This was the only national tournament that the SEC has not won, and Kentucky Volleyball was able to give the win to them. Kentucky was also the 11th team to win a national volleyball title.