No. 10 Cats Travel to Cedar Falls for Northern Iowa Tournament
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off of a tough loss to Mid-American Conference power Ohio, the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcat volleyball team looks to regroup as it heads to Cedar Falls, Iowa to compete in the University of Northern Iowa Tournament.
The weekend’s slate is highlighted by a top 10 showdown between No. 8 Southern California and the Cats. Both sides won their respective home-opening tournaments; the Cats taking down No. 19 Michigan State along with IUPUI and Little Rock, while the Women of Troy toppled No. 12 BYU, No. 18 North Carolina and Chicago State.
The Cats begin the weekend facing Northern Iowa on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before playing Southern California at 11 a.m. and Creighton at 6:30 p.m. in a Saturday double header.
Take a look below for all your information on this weekend’s tournament:
Last Time Out: Ohio
The Wildcats dropped their first match of the season on Sept. 1, falling to Mid-American Conference powerhouse Ohio, 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 23-25, 28-30), despite a career day from sophomore outside hitter Darian Mack. Mack posted career-highs in both kills and digs, registering 15 of each during the match. Ashely Dusek had another stellar performance, logging 28 digs in the match including 10 in the final frame. Both Anna Nyberg and Sharay Barnes had personal bests in the match, logging five and four kills, respectively.
Cats in the Top 10
On Aug. 31, the Wildcats were named No. 10 in the nation by the AVCA. It marks the first time the team has been in the top 10 since the team was ranked 10th in the Aug. 28 poll in 2012. The Cats are currently in the midst of a 34-week streak being ranked in the AVCA poll.
Mack’s Career Night vs. Ohio
Darian Mack set new personal bests in the loss to Ohio, as the sophomore outside hitter posted her second double-double of the season. Mack had 15 kills and 15 digs in the effort, both marking new personal bests. Mack has seen an increased role in 2015, where she’s started in every match, and is currently second on the team in kills (45) and points (55.0)
Dusek’s Digs Lead Conference
With another impressive performance against Ohio, in which she corralled 28 digs, Ashley Dusek leads the Southeastern Conference with a staggering 5.40 digs per set - 0.90 digs ahead of Georgia’s Cassidy Anderson. Dusek also has more total digs than anyone in the SEC so far with 81, while Ole Miss’ Kristen Brashear comes in second with 69. In four matches, Dusek has now posted 25 or more digs twice.
Northern Iowa vs. Kentucky to Broadcast on WatchESPN
The University of Northern Iowa will make its The Valley on ESPN3 debut this Friday when it faces the No. 10 Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. The addition of the WatchESPN game gives the Wildcats 25 matches hosted by ESPN entities, including nine matches to be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network.
Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 11-12. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Omaha, Neb., from the Lexington Region. This marks the third time in five seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event. Parking is limited and fans are encouraged to arrive early.