No. 18 Kentucky Faces Auburn and Missouri This Weekend
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 18 Kentucky (17-5, 10-1 SEC) volleyball team will battle to stay in first place in the Southeastern Conference this weekend when it faces Auburn (13-11, 7-4 SEC) on Friday the road, before returning home to take on Missouri (19-4, 10-1) on Sunday. UK will matchup with Auburn at 6:30 p.m. ET at the Auburn Arena. The UK-Mizzou match will have first serve on Sunday at noon in Memorial Coliseum. The match with Auburn will air live on SEC Network+ with Brit Bowen and April Zech on the call, while the Sunday match can be seen on the SEC Network with Courtney Lyle and Missy Whittemore calling the action.
The Wildcats are coming off a sweep of Alabama on Sunday in the only contest they played last weekend. Junior Kaz Brown, who hit .800 against South Carolina, had a blistering .769 attacking clip on a team-best 10 kills in the win. Sophomore Olivia Dailey, in front of her hometown crowd, picked up a double-double with 35 assists and 11 digs in the three-set match.
During the match against the Crimson Tide, senior Anni Thomasson tied the 25-point rally era record in service aces with 98 career aces. Thomasson had one ace against Alabama on Sunday, and has 19 this season. Her season high is 30, coming in her sophomore and junior campaigns.
Sunday’s contest sets up a highly anticipated rematch with Missouri. The Tigers are currently receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll and sit at No. 18 in the RPI. Last time out, UK rallied from behind to force a fifth set but ultimately fell, 3-2 (21-25, 26-28, 25-16, 25-22, 12-15). Multiple Wildcats set season highs during the match. UK was led by freshman Leah Edmond who picked up her sixth double-double of the season with season-bests of 21 kills and 14 digs.
Sunday’s match against Missouri in Memorial Coliseum will be heroes’ day. All military, fire, police and medical workers will receive free admission with a valid ID.
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.
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 parking maps, head to the volleyball gameday page located here.
Scouting the Opponent
Auburn (13-11, 7-4 SEC): Auburn is currently in fifth place in the SEC at 7-4. The Tigers had a five-match winning streak snapped on Sunday when they were swept at Tennessee. Auburn has a balanced offensive attack, with Brenna McIlroy leading the way at 3.07 kills per set. Five Tigers - Mcilroy, Gwyn Jones, Breanna Barksdale, Emily Kiltzke and Enjia Bidzane - all average two or more kills per set. On defense, Jesse Earl paces the Tigers with 5.19 digs per set.
Missouri (19-4, 10-1 SEC): Missouri is tied for first in the SEC with 10 wins and has 19 wins overall. The Tigers took down UK two weeks ago, snapping its 13-match winning streak in a five-set thriller in Columbia, Missouri. Mizzou is paced by Melanie Crow and Carly Kan on offense with 3.76 and 3.07 kills, respectively.
Dusek Named Academic All-District
Junior Ashley Dusek was named CoSIDA Academic All-District for her performance on the floor and in the classroom. Dusek is an integrated strategic communications major and currently holds a 3.50 GPA. On the court, Dusek is leading the team in digs at 4.60 per set.
Brown Hot Again in Sweep of Alabama
Junior Kaz Brown hit .786 with 10 kills in the sweep of Alabama on Sunday, leading the squad who hit .311. Brown had previously hit .800 in the win over South Carolina last week. The Waterloo, Iowa native was the only Wildcat to earn double-digit kills in the 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 (342), sixth in block solos (36) and second in total blocks (378). On offense, Brown currently sits in eighth in total kills (635), 10th in attack attempts (1339), third in attack percentage (.339), and eighth in points (852.0).
Aces Record Tied
Senior Anni Thomasson tied the 25-point rally scoring era service ace record of 98 when she recorded a service ace against Alabama. Thomasson tied three-time AVCA All-American Whitney Billings.
Double-Double in Front of the Hometown Crowd
Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey earned a double-double with many of her friends and family in attendance. The Trussville, Alabama native picked up 11 digs and 35 assists in the three-set sweep of Alabama. Dailey has two-career double-doubles, both coming this season.
Dailey Fourth in Country in Assists
Sophomore setter Olivia Dailey sits at No. 4 in the nation in assists per set at 11.74, which is good enough for second in the SEC. The three-time SEC setter of the week had 35 assists in the sweep of Alabama.
Limiting the Attack
The Wildcats are first in the SEC in blocks per set and second opponent hitting percentage and sit in the top 30 in both categories nationally. The Wildcats are 13th in the nation in blocks per set at 2.86, tying Florida for first in the league. In opponent hitting percentage, UK is limiting opponents to a .159 attacking clip, good for 21st in the country.
SEC Best in Kills Per Set
Kentucky leads the way in the SEC in kills per set at 14.40, good for No. 8 in the nation. Freshman Leah Edmond leads the way with 4.08 kills per set, which is third-best in the conference.
Kentucky is nationally ranked for the fifth-straight week. The Wildcats picked up 468 points and are ranked a season-best No. 18. This week marks the 96th week head coach Craig Skinner has led the Wildcats to a national ranking.
Climbing the RPI
After a win over Alabama, the Wildcats remained No. 15 in the latest RPI. UK is the second-highest rated team in the SEC behind Florida, who sits at No. 7.
Junior libero Ashley Dusek has produced double-digit dig numbers in every contest this season for the Wildcats except one. Dusek has picked up 20 or more in four separate matches (Mississippi State, Marquette, Wyoming and Missouri). The East Bernard, Texas native’s season-high is 27 against Mississippi State and she averages 4.54 digs per set.
Freshman outside hitter Leah Edmond has contributed double-digit kill totals in 18-of-21 matches this season. The Lexington, Kentucky, native has hit 15+ six times, including 21 in the five-set thriller against Missouri. Edmond leads the squad in kills per set at 4.08. That total is good for third in the SEC and 41st in the nation.