Kentucky Returns to Memorial Coliseum to Host LSU
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 23 Kentucky volleyball team (20-6, 13-2 SEC) will return to Memorial Coliseum on Friday to face LSU (9-16, 4-10 SEC) to begin the last weekend of home Southeastern Conference play. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and can be watched live on SEC Network+ with Dick Gabriel and Mandy Robbe on the call.
For its play last weekend, Kentucky swept all five Southeastern Conference weekly awards. Juniors Ashley Dusek and Kaz Brown, sophomore Olivia Dailey and freshman Leah Edmond were all honored by the league. Dusek took home the SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Week, Brown won Offensive Player of the Week, Dailey earned Setter of the Week and Edmond was named to her seventh SEC Freshman of the Week award.
Last time out, the UK defense stifled Ole Miss as the Wildcats produced 18.0 total blocks during the win. Junior Emily Franklin tied her career high with 10 rejections and Dailey also tied her career best with six, including one solo block. Brown added six blocks with two solo rejections during the four-set win. Three other Wildcats –Edmond, sophomore Brooke Morgan and junior Darian Mack – all recorded three or more blocks.
The 3-1 triumph over Ole Miss was the 20th win of the season for the Wildcats, and marked the ninth season that head coach Craig Skinner and UK have reached the milestone over the past 10 seasons. Skinner has a career record of 270-107 with the Wildcats, and has directed the program to 11-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Only 10 other schools in the nation have achieved the same feat.
Friday marks the only meeting between LSU and the Wildcats this season. UK holds a 36-24 all-time mark over the Tigers. Kentucky took both meetings last season, and have won eight of the last 10 matchups.
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Scouting the Opponent
LSU (9-16, 4-10 SEC): LSU is 4-10 in conference play, but comes to Lexington riding a two-match winning streak. The Tigers took down Georgia and Mississippi State last weekend. Two players - Gina Tillis and Tiara Gibson - average above two kills per set. Khourtni Fears leads the team on defense with 1.00 block per set.
Sweep of Weekly Awards
Kentucky won all five Southeastern Conference awards on Monday as juniors Ashley Dusek and Kaz Brown, sophomore Olivia Dailey and freshman Leah Edmond all were honored by the league. Dusek was tabbed the SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Week, Brown won Offensive Player of the Week, Dailey earned Setter of the Week, and Edmond took home Freshman of the Week.
Dusek captured the league’s player of the week and its best defensive performer after a spectacular display in wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas. The East Bernard, Texas native racked up 54 digs in the two matches, including a season-high 31 against the Rebels.
Brown claimed the SEC Offensive Player of the Week award for the second time this season. She hit a blistering .514 in the two wins with 23 kills, including a .643 clip and 11 hammers on just 14 attempts in the sweep of the Razorbacks.
Dailey picked up her fourth SEC Setter of the Week honor after putting up 98 assists last week. The Trussville, Alabama averaged an impressive 14.00 assists per set last week, well above her 11.76 average for the year.
Edmond earned her seventh SEC Freshman of the Week award of the season after tallying 18 kills in both victories. She hit at a .394 attacking clip, and averaged 5.14 kills per frame during the 2-0 run from the Wildcats.
Senior Anni Thomasson set the 25-point rally scoring era service ace record of
99 when she recorded a service ace against Arkansas. Thomasson overtook three-time AVCA All-American Whitney Billings.
Head coach Craig Skinner has tallied 20 or more wins in nine of his last 10 seasons. Skinner has reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 11 seasons, a feat only 10 other schools in the nation has achieved. Skinner is 270-107 in his Kentucky career, and 163-61 in league play.
Season Best in Blocks
UK tied a season best in team blocks with 18.0 in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss. Junior Emily Franklin tied her career high with 10 blocks. Sophomore Olivia Dailey also tied her career best with six blocks, including one solo block. Junior Kaz Brown added six blocks with two block solos during the four-set win. Three other Wildcats – freshman Leah Edmond, sophomore Brooke Morgan and junior Darian Mack – all recorded three or more blocks.
Dailey Fourth in Country in Assists
Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey sits at No. 4 in the nation in assists per set. She averages 11.79 helpers per frame and is second in the SEC. Dailey put up 53 assists in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss.
Freshman Leah Edmond paced the Wildcats with her eighth double-double of her young career in the victory over Arkansas. Edmond put up 18 kills on a blistering .471 attacking percentage and 10 digs during the three-set win.
Brown Rewriting the Record Books
Junior Kaz Brown sits in the top 10 of the 25-point rally era career record book in seven different categories. On defense, Brown is second in block assists (160), fifth in block solos (39) and second in total blocks (123). On offense, Brown currently sits in eighth in total kills (681), 10th in attack attempts (1413), fourth in attack percentage (.338), and eighth in points (901.0).
1,000 Dig Club
Two Wildcats joined the 1,000 dig club this season. Junior libero Ashley Dusek joined during the five-set thriller against Auburn. Dusek racked up 27 digs, tying her season best during the win, and sits at fourth in the 25-point rally era school history with 1,093 digs. Senior Anni Thomassson joined Dusek in the match against Missouri. Thomasson picked up 11 digs, vaulting her over the mark. The Newark, Ohio native sits at 1,023 career digs, just behind Dusek for sixth in the school 25-point rally era.