Freshman Aleksandra Kazala recorded 14 kills to lead the American University volleyball team to a 26-24, 25-17, 25-21 sweep over 22nd-ranked Kentucky Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Kristyna Lindovska added 10 kills and fellow senior Monika Smidova had 37 assists as the Eagles advanced to the second round for just the second time in program history.
The Cats gained a 16-12 advantage in the first set, but the Eagles steadied with five straight points and outlasted UK, 26-24. Kazala scored nine of her kills in the set without committing an error.
The Eagles (28-6) controlled the second set from the first serve before facing another tight battle in the third set. With both teams hitting a high percentage in the set, American came up with timely blocks down the stretch to pull ahead to a 23-20 advantage.
The Eagles hit .352 for the match and recorded nine service aces, while UK hit .273 with three aces and seven service errors.
“We took (UK) out of their game pretty well, and we served them tough,” said American Coach Barry Goldberg.
“American was very good tonight,” Kentucky Coach Craig Skinner said. “We have to give them a lot of credit for serving as well as they did and putting a lot of pressure on us with their offense.
“Their setter is as good as anyone in the country and did a good job isolating their attackers and getting them in position to score.”
UK finished at 21-10.