Kentucky to Open Season at Mortar Board Premier

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 24th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team opens its 2016 campaign on Friday, Aug. 26, competing in the Mortar Board Premier in West Lafayette, Indiana. The team will begin the tournament with a double header, taking on Washington State at noon before playing Wyoming at 5 p.m. The Wildcats will wrap up the tournament on Saturday, facing off with host No. 20 Purdue at 6 p.m. in the tournament’s marquee match. 

Kentucky has won four of its past five season openers, including last season against top-25 Michigan State. The Wildcats have never faced Washington State or Wyoming under 12th-season head coach Craig Skinner’s direction, but will confront Purdue for the fourth time in Skinner’s tenure at Kentucky. 

For more information, continue below: 

#24 Kentucky at Mortar Board Premier
Aug. 26-27
Washington State (8/26; Noon)
Wyoming (8/26; 5:30 p.m.)
Purdue (8/27; 6 p.m.)

Holloway Gymnasium
West Lafayette, Indiana
Match Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader |WSU Get Acrobat Reader|WYO Get Acrobat Reader|PUR Get Acrobat Reader
Tournament Central Page

TV: BTN2Go (Purdue Match Only)
Radio: WSHY 1410 AM (Purdue Match Only)
Live Video  (Purdue Match Only)
Live Audio  (Purdue Match Only)
Live Stats : WSU | WYO | PUR
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Live Updates @KentuckyVB on Twitter

Wildcats Ranked in the Preseason Again

Kentucky enters the season ranked for a school-record fifth consecutive year, coming in at No. 24 in the initial AVCA preseason poll. Kentucky has now been ranked in 48 of the last 49 AVCA polls. UK will once again have one of the toughest schedules in the country this season, with six of its opponents ranked in the preseason top 25 and two more receiving votes.

Brown, Dusek Pegged Preseason All-SEC

Nine days prior to the season opener, the Southeastern Conference released its preseason polls, with juniors Kaz Brown and Ashley Dusek named to the All-SEC preseason team.

Brown, a middle blocker from Waterloo, Iowa, finished the 2015 season third in the nation in blocks per set (1.61) and seventh in total blocks (180). With 160 block assists last season, the All-SEC player ranked second in single-season block assists for Kentucky all-time, while claiming the most blocks ever by a UK player in a single season during the 25-point rally scoring era. She also notched two double-double efforts in the season, the first time a Kentucky middle had notched a double-double since 2007. 

Dusek, the team’s libero from East Bernard, Texas, led the Southeastern Conference in digs from wire-to-wire, averaging 5.05 per set during her sophomore campaign. The reigning SEC Libero of the Year’s season was highlighted by a 40-dig performance at Auburn, breaking a 22-year-old UK record for most digs in a single match. Her 40 digs were the most in a single match for any player in the SEC last season and the only 40-dig performance from a player at a Power Five institution. Dusek was a model for consistency during the season, only registering two matches with less than 10 digs.

Thomasson On Track for 1,000 Kill Club

Headed into her final season with Kentucky, senior Anni Thomasson is on pace to become the 16th member of UK’s 1,000 kill club, needing just 194 more to reach the milestone. With a minimum of 29 matches and 87 sets to play, Thomasson would need to average 2.23 kills per set to hit 1,000 career kills. Thomasson has averaged 2.54 kills per set to this point in her career. 

All-Time Kentucky Kills Leaderboard
1. Molly Dreisbach 1,737 1992-95
13. Gina Heustis 1,197 1993-96
14. Mara Eglitis 1,135 1992-95
15. Cathy DeBuono 1,076 1988-91
Anni Thomasson 806 2013-16

Wildcats Notch Second-Straight AVCA Academic Award

For the second consecutive season, the Kentucky Wildcats volleyball team earned the AVCA Team Academic Award, honoring the team’s 3.383 cumulative grade point average for the 2015-16 school year. The Wildcats had an accomplished season in the classroom, surpassing the required 3.3 grade point average during both the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, eight members of the team held a 3.5 GPA or higher in both semesters, while three Wildcats posted individual GPA’s of 3.9 or higher for the academic year. Kentucky was one of just four Southeastern Conference programs to be named award winners, with Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina also making the mark.
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.

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