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No. 5 UK volleyball upset in season opener. See what tripped the Cats up.

Leah Edmond, now a star for the University of Kentucky volleyball team, played high school volleyball at Paul Laurence Dunbar in Lexington.
Leah Edmond, now a star for the University of Kentucky volleyball team, played high school volleyball at Paul Laurence Dunbar in Lexington.

The University of Kentucky volleyball team came out on the short end of an epic season opener on Friday afternoon.

The fifth-ranked Wildcats fell to No. 13 Creighton in five sets (25-20, 18-25, 25-14, 21-25, 20-22) at the Trojan Invitational at the University of Southern California. In the deciding set, the Cats twice had a shot at match point but couldn’t finish off the Bluejays. Kentucky fended off five match points before Creighton senior Jaali Winters finally ended the contest with her 25th kill.

The Cats jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the fifth set before Creighton rallied to tie it at 9-9. There were 11 ties and five lead changes in the set.

“Our execution wasn’t fantastic today, but we had opportunities. We need to learn from that and convert the defensive opportunities we have into points,” Kentucky Coach Craig Skinner said in a UK news release.

Leah Edmond led the Cats with 16 kills, adding nine digs and five blocks. During the match the junior became the quickest player in program history to reach 1,000 kills.

UK was scheduled to face host Southern California at 10:30 Friday night. The Cats face Northern Iowa at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Another thriller

It appears this year’s University of Kentucky women’s soccer team might have a keen talent for manufacturing thrilling wins.

For the second game in a row the Wildcats pulled out an overtime victory. Yuuka Kurosaki found the net off an assist by Abby Steiner less than two minutes into the extra period to give UK a 2-1 win over visiting Morehead State at the Bell Soccer Complex on Thursday night. The Cats are now 3-0 on the season after a 2-1 win over SIU Edwardsville and a 3-2 double-overtime victory at Little Rock last Sunday.

It was a big night for Kurosaki. During a counterattack in the 22nd minute, the sophomore from Japan passed to Marissa Bosco, who scored to give the Cats a 1-0 lead. The advantage held until less than eight minutes remained in regulation, when Morehead State’s Katie Quinn flushed home a header.

Morehead State’s Colleen Swift battled Kentucky’s Hollie Olding during Thursday night’s match at UK. Morehead State Athletics

Thursday’s game was a showcase for homegrown talent. Morehead State’s roster features 12 players from Kentucky, including four who started against the Cats (Dani Wilson, Elizabethtown; Cara Maher, Flatwoods; Holly Logsdon, Owensboro; Jenna Ahlbrand, Cold Spring).

The Cats have three players from Kentucky, including starters Eva Mitchell (Nicholasville) and Caroline Newland (Henderson). UK’s roster also features Lexington native and former LCA standout Camille Downing.

Kentucky returns to action when it hosts Wisconsin at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Barnhart on the air

University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart hosted the first edition of his new weekly podcast on Friday.

UK volleyball coach Craig Skinner was the inaugural guest for The Mitch Barnhart Podcast, which can be found on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and at MitchBarnhartPodcast.com.

“This podcast is a way to further connect our fans to our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Barnhart said in a press release. “I see this as an opportunity to give new insight into the way we operate and the quality of the people who represent this university and the people of Kentucky. I look forward to some interesting conversations with some special people.”

Next week’s guest will be UK football coach Mark Stoops.