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Volleyball sees first live action in Blue/White Scrimmage

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Kentucky looks to reach new program heights in 2012. Kentucky looks to reach new program heights in 2012. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
The preseason routine gets monotonous when you are facing the same opponents, your teammates, in practice every day. Yes, the competition is great, and when the roster is as deep as Craig Skinner's volleyball team seems to be, it can be quite productive. But most of the time, as an athlete and competitor, you're looking to take on a true opponent. This is especially the case at the beginning of the season to test everything you have learned and worked on since the previous fall.

Though the season isn't quite here yet and they were once again pitted against a familiar foe, the Blue/White Scrimmage serves as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The real thing starts Friday, Aug. 24.

For the first time, Kentucky got to take the main court in Memorial Coliseum and put on its new uniforms and get acquainted to playing in front of fans instead of empty seats Sunday evening. Skinner said he was pleased with what he saw from his players in their first live action of the fall.

"We needed to get out there and compete on the main floor and get the uniforms on and see what we have," said Skinner. "I saw a lot of good things out there, a lot of positives.  A lot of people can play. It's just a matter of finding the right combination of things."

The scrimmage saw several players changing sides throughout the four sets, allowing Skinner to take a look at different combinations of players on the court together. Those are hard decision to make, especially when there is so much talent on both sides of the net.

Set one showcased the Blue team in what may loosely be considered their projected started lineup, but with five still days remaining before the first match, a lot can change. The depth this team has demonstrated throughout practice will make the final starting decisions difficult ones for Skinner.

"You know, we needed that," said Skinner. "I think there were a lot of positive plays and a lot of people out there competing hard. Like we've said all along in the preseason, it's very difficult to win in our gym because of the number of people who can play the game at a high level."

The starting lineup along with preparation for the Wildcats first opponent, North Carolina, will be on the list this week for Kentucky. They also start classes Wednesday and begin the normal routine of game week. After a long, productive preseason, Skinner ready for what's next.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Skinner. "Looking forward to the regular routine of practice, an opponent to prepare for, and just figuring out what is going to make us best. I think we can take a lot out of the video today to get us ready for Friday night."

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