Ashley Dusek Tabbed SEC Defensive Player of the Week

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Within a week of being named the Southeastern Conference’s Libero of the Year, sophomore Ashley Dusek was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season on Monday afternoon.

Dusek once again turned heads in an impressive display, averaging 6.25 digs a set over the Thanksgiving holiday, with 50 total digs in eight sets of play. The East Bernard, Texas, native also went perfect on serve receive during the two matches in 42 attempts over the two matches. She added five assists in each of the matches. 

The sophomore began the weekend with 18 digs against the Georgia Bulldogs in UK’s 3-0 win. In addition to her back line defense, Dusek recorded her fourth kill of the year and another ace. She looked eerily similar to the first meeting with the Tigers in last Friday’s match with Auburn, logging 32 digs in the match. It marked the first time that any Wildcat logged 30 or more digs in a single match since Oct. 16, 2015 – in which Dusek broke the UK single-game digs record with 40 against the Auburn. 

At the conclusion of the regular season, Dusek leads the SEC in total digs with 553 and digs per set at 5.07. Her 5.07 digs per set is also good for No. 29 in the nation. The 553 digs rank fourth on the Kentucky single-season digs leaderboard. The sophomore can still continue to climb the all-time ladder, as she is just 11 digs shy of sole possession of third place, behind Jenni Casper (163 – 2006). 

The All-SEC team honoree and the rest of the Wildcats will resume play on Friday, Dec. 4, where the team is slated to face the Patriot League champion American Eagles in Columbus, Ohio, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The victor of Friday’s match will face either Ohio State or Robert Morris in the round of 32. Kentucky makes its 11th-consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament with an open bid following a 21-9 mark in the regular season and a 14-4 SEC record, good for a third place finish in the league. 

Premier Sports Management announced its 10 finalists for the annual Senior CLASS Award on Friday, Oct. 30, with standout setter Morgan Bergren being one of the remaining candidates for the honor.  Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through Dec. 7. Fans can vote once a day until the Dec. 7 cut off. 

Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 11-12. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Omaha, Neb., from the Lexington Region. This marks the third time in five seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

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