Kentucky Opens Home Matches with Bluegrass Battle
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky volleyball team will return to the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum this weekend, hosting Marquette, Virginia and Saint Louis this weekend, Sept. 9-10, for its annual Bluegrass Battle non-conference tournament.
The six-match, round-robin tournament contains three matches featuring the Cats. UK will begin the weekend slate by taking on Marquette at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Kentucky will play a double-header Saturday, first against Virginia (11 a.m.) before finishing the tournament with Saint Louis (7:30 p.m.).
The three visiting teams will all be unfamiliar to the team and fans, as it marks the first time in 12th-season Craig Skinner’s tenure that the program has faced any of the opponents in this year’s Bluegrass Battle. The Wildcats are 1-1 all-time against Marquette and have yet to win against Virginia in the two prior meetings. Kentucky and Saint Louis will meet for the first time in the two programs’ histories on Saturday night.
|Kentucky Hosts Bluegrass Battle|
For more information, continue below:
All surrounding E-lots around Memorial Coliseum including the North Craft lot, Rose Street, and Linden Walk employee lots are available for event parking beginning three hours prior to match time. Additionally, the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available two hours prior to first serve. Please see the General Parking Map for more information.
All fan parking for the 11 a.m. match on Friday, Sept. 9, between Saint Louis and Marquette must be at the South Limestone Garage (PS#5). All violators will be subject to ticket and/or tow.
Disability parking is available in the North Craft lot. Spaces are limited and provided on a first come, first served basis with a valid, state-issued disabled parking hangtag.
Please note: Parking is prohibited in any R-lot. Vehicles parking in R-lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.
For shuttle information and parking maps, head to the volleyball gameday page located here.
Kentucky’s highly-anticipated opening weekend begins on Friday with a matchup vs. Marquette. The first 300 UK students in attendance will receive a pair of Kentucky volleyball sunglasses. Students will also have a chance to win highly-desired giveaways such as a bike, an Apple Watch, a Bluetooth Speaker, an Xbox, a FitBit, a Kennedy’s Bookstore gift card and more.
Upon arrival fans will also receive the 2016 season schedule magnet.
New this year is a special area designated for our youngest fans. New this season is a Kid Zone near the Rose Street entrance. Various fun-zone stations include games, coloring, poster-making and more throughout the match. This area will be available all season long.
Scouting the Opponents
The Wildcats open their home schedule with the Bluegrass Battle, facing Marquette, Virginia and Saint Louis in Kentucky’s annual non-conference tournament.
The Golden Eagles of Marquette enter the Bluegrass Battle winning two of their last three contests. Marquette defeated IUPUI in straight sets and took down Cincinnati in four last weekend before being swept by Wichita State. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Taylor Louis is Marquette’s go-to player on offense, taking over a quarter of the team’s total swings while leading the team with 3.48 kills per set. Senior middle hitter Jenna Rosenthal also poses a major threat. Standing at 6-6, the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, native averages 2.04 kills per set while leading the team with 0.96 blocks per frame.
The Virginia Cavaliers come into the weekend after going 1-2 at the Tiger Classic the weekend prior. UVA notched its lone victory of the round-robin tournament against host LSU, defeating the SEC team in five sets. Virginia boasts a balanced attack, with the trio of outsides in Haley Kole, Jasmine Butron and Alex Thorson each averaging over two kills per set. Freshman middle Kiley Banker brings an imposing presence, entering the tournament with 23 blocks - more than any player on all four competing teams.
Saint Louis (1-6):
Saint Louis looks to capture its second victory of the season this weekend, with the team’s lone win coming on Aug. 31 in a 3-0 sweep of Arkansas State. Senior outside hitter Danielle Rygelski is the Billikens’ primary weapon on the offensive end, accounting for nearly half of the team’s production with 5.40 kills per set. Rygelski, senior middle blocker Taylor Paulson and junior middle blocker Lauren Leverenz each have tallied double-figure blocks this season.
Edmond Makes USC Radisson Classic All-Tournament Team
Despite a tough 1-2 record during the second weekend, freshman outside hitter Leah Edmond shone for the Wildcats, earning USC Radisson Classic All-Tournament Team honors. The Lexington, Kentucky, native paced the offense, averaging 3.22 kills per set with 29 total over the course of three matches. Edmond led Kentucky in kills in two matches, including a weekend’s best 11 in the win over then-No. 22 Creighton. Edmond added four blocks, a pair of aces, a dig and an assist over the weekend.
Cats Offense Catches Fire Against Creighton
Kentucky’s offense was red-hot in the 3-0 sweep of then-No. 22 Creighton on Sept. 3. UK hit at a blistering .415 clip against the Bluejays. The match marked the first time since Nov. 4, 2014 that Kentucky hit .400 or better, when the Cats hit .449 against Morehead State. The team’s efficiency was incredible as UK committed just five hitting errors the entire match, including a flawless third set. The last time Kentucky made five errors or less in a match was on Oct. 4, 2013, against Ole Miss.
Thomasson Aiming for 1,000 Kill Club
In her final season with Kentucky, senior Anni Thomasson could become the 16th member of UK’s 1,000 kill club, needing just 180 more to reach the milestone. With a minimum of 23 matches and 69 sets to play, Thomasson would need to average 2.61 kills per set to hit 1,000 career kills. Thomasson has averaged 2.43 kills per set to this point in her career.
All-Time Kentucky Kills Leaderboard
1. Molly Dreisbach (1992-95) – 1,737
13. Gina Heustis (1993-96) – 1,197
14. Mara Eglitts (1992-95) – 1,135
15. Cathy DeBuono (1988-91) – 1,076
Anni Thomasson (2013-Present) - 820
Single-match and season tickets for the 2015 campaign are on sale now. Season tickets begin at $35, and single-match ticket information can be found here. More information on how to buy tickets can be found here or by calling the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-CATS.