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10 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Shelby Workman

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WORKMAN_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 junior Shelby Workman: 

"UK volleyball means determination and pride. We are determined each day to become a better team and to perform like a champion on and off the court. We take pride in representing the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation!"

Junior Shelby Workman played in all 31 matches last season with 10 starts. The opposite hitter from Overland Park, Kan., tallied 109 kills and 89 digs with five service aces in 2013. Workman had a career-high 13 kills against Long Beach State and a career-best 11 digs against Illinois last season as a sophomore. In a five-set win over LSU, Workman notched 11 kills, seven of them coming in the final two sets.

Preseason Team Update: August 19, 2014
As UK's preseason practice nears the halfway point, it's a light day for news. If you missed it yesterday, the annual Blue/White Scrimmage will take place this Sunday, Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Additional information can be found here.

Additionally, single match tickets for the 2014 season are now on sale. Reserved tickets are $5 each, while general admission single match tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors (65+) and youth (6-18). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge in general admission seating.

Single match and season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-CATS, while more information about season tickets is available here.

The film documenting UK's two-week trip to China will premiere tomorrow on UKathletics.com. The 20-minute film was produced by UK's Sports Video department, andfans can get a glimpse of UK's journey with this trailer ahead of tomorrow's unveiling:


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.


11 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Emily Franklin

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FRANKLIN_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 redshirt freshman Emily Franklin: 

"UK volleyball is the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm surrounded by teammates who will always have my back no matter what and an amazing coaching staff. Being from Arizona, I'm 2,000 miles away from home, so having people that are always there for you is something you won't find every day. Kentucky Volleyball is my second family!"

Emily Franklin is a redshirt freshman from Mesa, Ariz. The middle blocker did not see game action in her first season as a Wildcat in 2013 after an impressive high school career. Tabbed as the No. 47-rated player in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, Franklin was a two-time All-State honoree and earned the best blocker award in 2010. She was an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society while attending Red Mountain High School and also competing for Spiral Club.

Preseason Team Update: August 18, 2014
After back-to-back days with two practices each day, the Wildcats had one practice Monday afternoon. The team also filmed the intro video and other video elements for the video board this season in Memorial Coliseum.

Also Monday, it was announced that the annual Blue/White Scrimmage will take place this Sunday, Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. Additional information can be found here. The announcement also included information about single match tickets, which went on sale today. Tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-CATS, while information about season tickets is available here.

Finally, earlier this summer, the team took a two-week trip to China. The cultural, educational and competitive trip was an experience of a lifetime for the team, which has been documented into a 20-minute film by UK's Sports Video department. The film's world premiere will be Wednesday, but fans can get a glimpse of UK's journey with this trailer:



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.


12 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Lauren O'Conner

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OCONNER_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 and Kentucky native Lauren O'Conner: 

"To me, Kentucky Volleyball means commitment. Commitment to the program, the university and to each other. Committed to making each other better in order to reach our goals, which are to win the SEC and the national championship."

Senior Lauren O'Conner, one of two players from Kentucky, is a three-time All-SEC Academic Team honoree and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2011. The outside hitter played in 30 matches last season with 13 starts and amassed 220 kills, the fourth-highest total on the team to go along with 51 blocks and eight service aces. From Taylor Mills, Ky., O'Conner's 2013 highlights included a career-high-tying 18 kills on .389 hitting in UK's upset win over No. 4 Minnesota in addition to a career-best six blocks, a season-high five digs and 11 kills in Kentucky's win at Alabama.

Preseason Team Update: August 17, 2014
The Wildcats welcomed some of their season ticket-holders to an open practice and picnic this afternoon. After the two-hour practice, the team hosted a question-and-answer session and invited the fans to their post-practice team dinner.

It was a great opportunity for the student-athletes and staff to connect with some of the most loyal members of the Big Blue Nation and thank them for their support. The fans had fun too, getting an inside look at how the team is training for the upcoming season and getting to know the team off the court.


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.


13 Days to 2014 UK Volleyball: Kayla Tronick

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TRONICK_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 junior Kayla Tronick: 

"Kentucky  Volleyball is family, since I'm from Minnesota and don't get to see my family very often. I have relied on my teammates and the coaching staff the past couple years, they are a sense of security. Everyone that is part of UK volleyball is always looking out for each other.  Another thing I would have to say about Kentucky Volleyball is the determination to win.  When we lift, run and practice there is no doubt in our minds that we can win."

Kayla Tronick played in 14 matches in 2013 with five starts as a sophomore. The outside hitter/middle blocker notched 19 blocks for a 0.54 blocks per set rate that ranked fifth on the team to go along with 41 kills last season. In UK's NCAA Tournament win vs. Duquesne, the Hutchinson, Minn., native hit a season-best .500 with five kills, one dig and one block. In her first start of the season, in a win over South Carolina, Tronick tallied a season-high nine kills on 3.53 hitting with three blocks.

Preseason Team Update: August 16, 2014
After a day off yesterday, the Wildcats are back at it today with two practices. Saturday's two practices mark the beginning of the second week of preseason practice, and 13 days until the season-opener in Memorial Coliseum.


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.


ANDERS_TWITTER-FACEBOOK2.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 second-year assistant coach Anders Nelson: 

"Kentucky Volleyball to me is a program that provides endless support and encouragement while constantly challenging you to be your best.  We're a family.  Those involved are expected to reach their potential as a complete individual.  I'm thankful every day for the opportunity to work with these people and coach these athletes."
 
Anders Nelson begins his second season as an assistant coach at Kentucky. Last season, Nelsen helped guide the Wildcats' defense to an SEC-best 2.88 blocks per set in league competition. Three players ranked in the top 15 in the SEC for individual blocking, with two in the top five. A Saint Croix, Falls, Wis., native, Nelson also served as a volunteer assistant with the Wildcats during the 2011 season. He is a 2011 graduate of Ball State University and helped lead the Munciana Volleyball Club for two seasons, including to the 2011 AAU 18 Open National Championship with a 66-2 record.

Preseason Team Update: August 15, 2014
Yesterday was a busy day for the Wildcats, with an appearance on the SEC Network's inaugural show, photo day and a big announcement from the SEC Network. Be sure to check out Thursday's team update and feature on senior Jackie Napper here.

Today, two weeks until the season-opener, the Wildcats have their first day off since the preseason began on Saturday. They'll return to the court tomorrow for two practices. Across campus, move-in is this weekend for all students living in the dorms. The team helped the freshmen move in this morning before volunteering at Cardinal Hill this afternoon.


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.


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.

TV Release 636.jpg

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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GERGINS_TWITTER-FACEBOOK.jpg
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.

UKVB Preseason SEC
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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WOLF_TWITTER-FACEBOOK.jpg
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.


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