Dailey Continues to Improve All-Around Game
In her first season as the starting setter for the Kentucky volleyball team, Olivia Dailey has experienced a great deal of success. In addition to being named SEC Setter of the Week four times and SEC Offensive Player of the Week once, Dailey was also the FloVolleyball National Player of the Week on October 3 after Kentucky beat Florida and South Carolina.
While the awards are a by-product of her success on the court, it’s clear that Dailey has established herself as not only one of the best setters in the conference, but as one of the best in the nation.
The 5-10 sophomore from Trussville, Alabama may have had the best match of her young career on Friday night as Kentucky swept LSU 25-17, 25-18 and 25-22 on Friday night at Memorial Coliseum. Dailey recorded her fourth double-double of the season, and she had reached the mark early in the second set. By the time the match was over, Dailey had recorded 38 assists and a career-high 15 digs, easily beating her previous career best of 11 digs, which she had accomplished twice earlier this season.
“I don’t know if they were targeting me or what, but I definitely had a lot of opportunities to get the ball tonight,” Dailey said. “I took advantage of that. We set up great blocks for the ball to come right to me, so I was an easy target, I guess.”
Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner knows how important those digs are to the team.
“It’s very important. We work a lot on digging that side of the court,” Skinner said. “Liv (Dailey) and McKenzie (Watson) did a great job on being disciplined, they stopped on defense and made plays. Both of them are very good right-back defenders.”
Dailey had big shoes to fill this season, taking over for three-year starter Morgan Bergren. But to say that Dailey has held her own would be a huge understatement.
The Kentucky setter leads a Wildcats’ offensive attack that continues to be balanced. In Friday’s match, six players had at least five kills apiece, with most of those being set by Dailey.
“Being at the end of November, things should be clicking at this point,” Dailey said of her team’s offensive success. “I think we’re all coming together and getting our rhythm. I have the best hitters. They make me look way better than I set out to be. “
Dailey and the Wildcats return to action on Sunday in their final home match of the regular season. Kentucky will face Texas A&M in a crucial SEC match that could have championship implications. If the Wildcats win and Missouri beats Florida, Kentucky will be tied for the league lead with one match to play.
“This win was huge momentum for us going into that match,” Dailey said. “We definitely need to play our best in that one. I think having the offense click today as well as it did today is really going to help us in that match as well.”
And as long as Dailey continues to play as well as she did on Friday, the offense will undoubtedly continue clicking.