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15 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Jackie Napper

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NAPPER_TWITTER-FACEBOOK.jpgLeading up to Kentucky's season-opener on August 29, we asked each member of the team what Kentucky Volleyball meant to them. Next up is senior Jackie Napper: 

"It's a home away from home, my second family. I know my teammates, coaches and staff will always have my back. We all have different personalities, but together we make up a team that has one goal in mind, to win a championship. We like to have fun and get our laughs in, but most importantly we love to compete and WIN!"

A senior, Napper started at libero in all 31 matches for the Wildcats in 2013. The Louisville, Ky., native earned All-SEC Academic team honors and led the team with 443 digs for a 3.99 digs per set rate to go along with 111 assists, the second highest total on the team during her junior season. Napper tallied a career-best 24 digs in UK's upset win over No. 4 Minnesota and had a career-high nine assists vs. VCU, both last season.

Preseason Team Update: August 14, 2014
From a morning yoga session to picture day and an appearance on the SEC Network's inaugural show, Thursday was a busy day for the Wildcats.

Picture day is another sign that the season is just around the corner. UK's staff photographer, Brittney Howard took a team photo in addition to headshots and select other group photos. Kentucky Wildcats TV was there to document all the action:


Also Thursday, with the SEC Network's launch just hours away, it was announced that 27 of UK's 31 matches will appear on the SEC Network +, the digital platform of the SEC Network. All of Kentucky's home matches and every home and road SEC match will air nationwide on SECNetwork.com and WatchESPN, which is available to all SEC Network subscribers. More information and a full schedule, which includes eight matches already announced to be broadcast on the SEC Network and ESPNU, can be found here.

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Finally, after practice and a team dinner, the Wildcats participated in the launch of the SEC Network. In the three-hour kickoff show, the team was involved in a live look-in as they watched the show from the team room.


For an archive of previous "What Kentucky Volleyball Means to Me" entries and practice reports, follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


GRAY_TWITTER-FACEBOOK.jpgLeading up to Kentucky's season-opener on August 29, we asked each member of the team what Kentucky Volleyball meant to them. Next up is assistant coach Lindsey Gray-Walton: 

"Kentucky volleyball is an opportunity of a lifetime. To be a part of the Big Blue Nation is something special that not everyone gets to be a part of. It's an exciting time to see our dreams and goals come true."

Lindsey Gray-Walton begins her fifth season as an assistant coach with the Wildcats after being hired in January of 2010. A native of Olathe, Kan., Gray-Walton serves as the Wildcats' recruiting coordinator. Each of her four signing classes have ranked among the top-25 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com The 2012 squad was tabbed as the 15th best in the nation. Gray-Walton is a 2008 graduate of Georgia Tech, where she was a member of three 20-plus win teams and earned All-SEC Second Team honors in 2006.

Preseason Team Update: August 13, 2014

For an archive of previous "What Kentucky Volleyball Means to Me" entries and practice reports, follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


17 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Alyssa Gergins

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Leading up to Kentucky's season-opener on August 29, we asked each member of the team what Kentucky Volleyball meant to them. Yesterday, Kelsey Wolf got it started. Next up is senior Alyssa Gergins: 

"To me, Kentucky Volleyball means family. We're always pushing towards the same goal together and working hard as a team. The next thing I would say is hard work and love of the game."

A native of Murrieta, Calif., Gergins earned All-SEC Academic team honors in 2013.  A transfer from Master's College, the junior saw action in two matches in her first season in the Blue and White and averaged 1.00 assists per set and 0.50 digs per frame Gergins made her first career appearance in UK's win over Ole Miss and logged one assist. She also recorded a dig and an assist against South Carolina.

Preseason Team Update: August 12, 2014
Today, the SEC announced its preseason awards and preseason coaches' poll. The league's coaches voted the Wildcats to place second in the conference, while junior setter Morgan Bergren was named to the Preseason All-SEC Team.

A setter from Muncie, Ind., Bergren started all 31 matches for the Wildcats in 2013 and led the team with 1,215 assists. She was second on the team with 24 service aces to go along with 192 digs, 130 kills and 77 blocks.

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For an archive of previous "What Kentucky Volleyball Means to Me" entries and team updates throughout the preseason, follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


18 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Kelsey Wolf

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Leading up to Kentucky's season-opener on August 29, we asked each member of the team what Kentucky Volleyball meant to them. First up is redshirt sophomore Kelsey Wolf: 

"Kentucky Volleyball to me means passion and community. We always have each other's backs on and off the court. Everything from matches and training to the classroom, we do with passion."

Wolf, from Cincinnati, Ohio, earned All-SEC Academic Team honors and played in 16 of UK's 31 matches with 12 starts last season. The defensive specialist had 83 digs for a 1.60 digs per set rate, the fifth-best total on the team as a redshirt freshman in 2013. In a win over Texas A&M, Wolf logged a career-best 12 digs and one service ace, while she tallied nine digs in UK's NCAA Tournament Second Round match vs. Michigan State.

Preseason Team Update: August 11, 2014
The AVCA Preseason Poll was announced today, and for a program-record third consecutive year, Kentucky will begin the season ranked in the preseason top-25 after the Wildcats earned a No. 19 ranking.

UK's spot in the top 25 poll marks the fifth time in six years the Wildcats have earned a place in the preseason poll, all under 10th-year head coach Craig Skinner. Before 2009, Kentucky's first time in the preseason top-25 under Skinner, UK had been ranked in the preseason poll just three times dating back to 1982. The poll also features five teams UK will face in 2014, four of them at home.

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For an archive of previous "What Kentucky Volleyball Means to Me" entries and team updates throughout the preseason, follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


19 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Day Two of Practice

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Kentucky had its second day of practice Sunday, 19 days before Aug. 29th's season-opener. After two high-energy practices to open the season Saturday, it was more of the same for the Wildcats on Sunday. The day was capped by a dinner and team activities at the UK men's basketball team's Coal Lodge.


Tomorrow as the countdown continues to Aug. 29, we'll begin a daily feature with each member of the UK volleyball team. Each day, the student-athletes and coaches will share what Kentucky Volleyball means to them. First up Monday will be sophomore Kelsey Wolf.

Follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball here, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


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The Wildcats held their first practice of the 2014 season Saturday morning. The two-hour session was filled with plenty of energy as Kentucky prepares for the 31-match regular season and the opener on Aug. 29 in Memorial Coliseum. While the team had their first team meetings yesterday, today it was time to get to work.

After a 22-win season in 2013, UK will look to notch a 20-win season for the seventh time in the past eight years and earn their 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. While the big goals are clear for the 2014 Wildcats, today the focus was on taking a good first step as a team. Twenty days remain until Kentucky takes on Wichita State in the season's opening match, and Craig Skinner and the Wildcats know that every moment of the preseason matters.

Follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball here, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.







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Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball: 21 Days

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Kentucky has 21 All-Americans, including Whitney Billings and Alexandra Morgan, who were honored last season. Billings, who was named to the second team in 2013 in 2012 and the honorable mention team in 2011, is UK's first-ever three-time All-America honoree. Morgan captured an honorable mention nod to become the ninth different player in head coach Craig Skinner's nine seasons at UK to be named All-American. Fifteen of UK's 21 All-America accolades have come under Skinner, with at least one in each of the past seven seasons.

Today, the Wildcats had their first official team meeting of the year, and tomorrow, UK will hold its first practice of the 2014 season. When the first whistle is blown tomorrow, that's when it starts to get real. August 29th's season-opener is almost here, when Kentucky and Wichita State square off to open the season as part of the Commonwealth Classic in Memorial Coliseum.

Follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball here, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball: 22 Days

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On November 10, 2014, freshman Anni Thomasson exploded for 30 kills and 22 digs in UK's five-set victory over LSU. She became what is believed to be the first freshman in program history and just the second in UK history to tally 30 or more kills and 20 or more digs in a single match. Thomasson is the first Wildcat to notch 30 kills since Sarah Spinner's 36 in 2004 and the 30-kill, 20-dig feat hadn't been accomplished by an SEC player since 2010. For her efforts, the Newark, Ohio, native earned SEC Player of the Week honors.

Follow along with the full Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball here, leading up to the August 29 season-opener. Additional updates throughout preseason practice can be found on Twitter at @KentuckyVB and on Instagram at @KentuckyVolleyball.


Countdown to 2014 UK Volleyball: 23 Days

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Recent Comments

  • Berdj J. Rassam: 2013 was a tough year for UK football, 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC, so 2014 can't be much read more
  • Guy Ramsey: Yes, that is correct. The UK IMG Network will no longer televise games live or delayed. However, it will still read more
  • Guy Ramsey: We are still working on creating other pickup locations throughout Lexington and the state of Kentucky. In the meantime, you read more
  • Tom Payne: The uniform were indeed ugly, glad my TV survived. read more
  • Karen Miller: I always get my UK Football and Basketball schedules at McDonalds. But this year, McDonalds said they were not carrying read more
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  • jeff: its about time!!! read more
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  • Guy Ramsey: Rest easy, these uniforms were specially designed for the Bahamas trip and will not be worn during the regular season. read more
  • Gordon Brown: I did not like the new uniforms. I couldn't read the back numbers during the long TV shots. The numbers read more