Kentucky Ready to Face American in NCAA First Round
COLUMBUS, Ohio. – The No. 22 Wildcats begin the postseason tomorrow, as they are slated to face the Eagles of American University on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in St. John Arena. The winner of Friday’s match will advance to the second round, where the team will face either No. 14 Ohio State or Robert Morris on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Kentucky and American have only squared off once before, in which the Eagles took down Kentucky in five to close out the 2004 season. Kentucky holds a 5-7 record against Ohio State all-time and has yet to face Robert Morris in volleyball.
|#22 Kentucky vs. American|
|Fri., Dec. 3 - 4:30 p.m.|
St. John Arena
Match Notes: UK
Scouting the Opponents
American Eagles (27-9, 16-0, 77 RPI)
Ohio State Buckeyes (23-9, 12-8, 17 RPI)
Robert Morris Colonials (18-12, 7-4, 203 RPI)
Four Wildcats Earn All-SEC Recognition
The Southeastern Conference office announced its annual awards on Wednesday, Nov. 25 with four members of the Wildcats earning All-SEC recognition. Sophomore Ashley Dusek headlined the award recipients, earning SEC Libero of the Year on top of being named to the All-SEC team. Senior setter Morgan Bergren and sophomore Kaz Brown were both named to the All-SEC team as well, while freshman Brooke Morgan was named to the All-Freshman team. With Dusek winning Libero of the Year, Kentucky has taken home five of the last six honors. Morgan marks the 11th consecutive SEC All-Freshman Team selection for Kentucky.
Eleven In Eleven
Kentucky is one of just 10 teams in the country to advance to the NCAA tournament in each of the last 11 seasons. UK joins Colorado State, Florida, Hawai’i, Nebraska, Penn State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas and Washington in achieving the feat.
Cats Defense Anchors Success
Kentucky has hung its hat on high-level defense as the key to success this season, with UK finishing the regular season leading the SEC in blocks per set, averaging 2.83 per frame - good for 19th in the nation. Kentucky also finished second in the SEC in opponent hitting percentage at .175 for a top-50 defense statistically. Kentucky has only allowed four opponents (Little Rock, Southern California, Wichita State and Georgia) to hit better than their season average.
Brown on Track for Record Season
With Kentucky looking towards the final stretch of the season, sophomore Kaz Brown has the ability to make the 2015 season one of the greatest individual blocking performances in Kentucky history. At the end of the regular season, Brown has logged 158 block assists, with a nationally second-best 1.63 blocks per set. Her 158 block assists rank second all-time for a single season in UK history, trailing Queen Nzenwa by 16. Brown is also within reach of the SEC top 10 in single season block assists, with Florida’s Nina Foster in 1997 and Arkansas’ Jennifer Hasser in 2004 who lead Brown by 13 block assists. Both recorded 171 block assists.
Season Block Assists
1. Queen Nzenwa 174 2007
2. Kaz Brown 158 2015
3. Queen Nzenwa 137 2006
Dusek in Arms Reach of Record Season
Much like her classmate Kaz Brown, sophomore Ashley Dusek is also on track for one of the best single-season performances in UK history. With 553 digs this season, Dusek currently ranks fourth all-time in Kentucky single-season digs. The SEC Libero of the Year and three-time Defensive Player of the Week is 10 digs shy of third, occupied by Jenni Casper in 2006. While 608 digs sets the bar for the Kentucky top spot, Dusek could crack the SEC all-time top 10 with 599 digs, passing Florida’s Rachel Engel, who cracked the top 10 in 2005.
1. Stephanie Klefot 608 2011
2. BriAnne Sauer 580 2009
3. Jenni Casper 563 2006
4. Ashley Dusek 553 2015
5. Jackie Napper 537 2014
Skinner Earns Win 250
With the 3-2 Senior Night win over Auburn on Nov. 27, 11th-season head coach Craig Skinner earned his 250th career win. Skinner became the winningest coach in UK volleyball history on Sept. 13, 2014 with a 3-1 win vs. Georgia Southern. The 250 win milestone adds to an impressive resume including 20 or more wins in eight of the past nine seasons and 11 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
Dusek Takes Third DPOW Honor
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, Nov. 30. Dusek 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.
Brown in National Top 10
Sophomore Kaz Brown is having a dominant season, finding herself in the top 10 nationally in both total blocks and blocks per set. Brown ranks second in blocks per set (1.63) and third in total blocks (178). Her total blocks and blocks per set lead the SEC.
Following the Nov. 29 weekend, the Kentucky Wildcats are ranked yet again in the Nov. 30 AVCA poll, coming in at 22. With the ranking, UK extends its ranking streak to 47 consecutive weeks, dating back to Aug. 18, 2012. The 47-week streak is the longest ranked streak under head coach Craig Skinner and the longest in program history.
Mack, Thomasson Climbing Single-Season 25-Point Rally Scoring Leaderboards
Sophomore Darian Mack and junior Anni Thomasson are both making waves in the UK 25-point rally scoring era record books, with Mack making an impact with her attack and Thomasson with her serve. Mack’s team-high 352 kills are good for eighth, with sole possesion of seventh just six kills away. Thomasson is tied for sixth in single-season aces during the era, matching her output from last season with 30. Another ace would give her sixth place by herself.
Single Season Kills (25-Pt Rally Era)
1. Sarah Mendoza 519 2009
7. Ashley Frazier 357 2012
8. Darian Mack 352 2015
9. Lauren Rapp 338 2008
Single Season Aces (25-Pt Rally Era)
1. Sarah Rumely 46 2008
4. Lauren Rapp 34 2008
Lauren O’Conner 34 2014
6. Stephanie Klefot 30 2011
Anni Thomasson 30 2014
Anni Thomasson 30 2015