No. 24 Kentucky Closes out Regular Season Hosting Auburn

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 24 Kentucky Wildcats volleyball team will round out its regular season at 7 p.m. on Friday, hosting Auburn on Senior Night. Seniors Morgan Bergren and Sara Schwarzwalder and will be honored prior to the beginning of the match. 

The match provides a special opportunity, as with a win, head coach Craig Skinner will reach the 250 career victory mark. 

The last time UK and Auburn squared off, the Wildcats battled a full five sets en route to their ninth consecutive win, taking down the Auburn Tigers, 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12), on Friday, Oct. 16 in Auburn Arena, powered by a record-breaking night from sophomore Ashley Dusek. The team registered 93 digs and 17 blocks – both season highs - to hold the Tigers to .144 hitting. Sophomores Ashley Dusek and Emily Franklin both contributed heavily to the effort with career nights. Dusek logged 40 digs during the night, setting a new program record for digs in a match. 

#24 Kentucky vs. Auburn
Fri., Nov. 27 - 7:00 p.m.
Memorial Coliseum
Lexington, Ky. 
Match Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader |AUB Get Acrobat Reader

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Last time out, the Wildcats toppled Georgia, 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-20), in Memorial Coliseum. Par for the course, Kentucky’s stifling defense played a large role in the sweep, as the Wildcats recorded it their second-highest dig total in a three set match this season with 48, while tacking on an impressive 11 blocks in three sets. The serving game played a large role as well, as the Wildcats tied their season match-high nine aces. 

Auburn enters the matchup coming off of back-to-back wins over Arkansas and Tennessee. Multiple attackers pose threats for the Wildcats in Courtney Crable (2.98 k/s), Brenna McIlroy (2.64 k/s), Emily Klitzke (2.52 k/s) and Breanna Barksdale (1.92 k/s). 

For more on Senior Night, read here: 

Senior Night Promotions

As part of Senior Night against the Tigers, seniors Morgan Bergren and Sara Schwarzwalder will be honored in a pregame ceremony. Additionally, the first 250 fans will receive a free Kentucky Volleyball wallet phone case. 

Gameday Parking

We are pleased to offer new parking opportunities this season. In addition to the E lots around the Craft Center and Coal Lodge, fans have the option of parking in the Linden Walk E lots which are across Rose Street from the Singletary Center for the Arts, the E/CS-7 lots near the College of Education off of S. Upper Street, and the Rose Street Garage (PS-2) located on Rose Street, south of the Coliseum with an entrance on Hilltop Avenue near W.T. Young Library. These lots are available for all matches starting three hours before first serve. Fans are reminded to never park in lots or spaces designated R for residential and that the Student Center lot is no longer an option due to construction. Parking is limited and fans are encouraged to arrive early.

Four Wildcats Earn All-SEC Recognition

The Southeastern Conference office announced its annual awards on Wednesday morning, 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.

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. Brown averages 1.56 blocks per set, and with a minimum of three sets left to play, she is on track to end the season with at least 155 block assists, which would rank as the second most single-season block assists for UK all-time. Brown currently holds the single-season record for total blocks during the 25-point rally scoring era with 167 so far. With five block assists against LSU on Nov. 22, Brown claimed second on the leader board with 141 block assists. She now has 149 following eight block assists against Georgia. 

Season Block Assists
1.   Queen Nzenwa - 174 (2007)
2. Kaz Brown - 149 (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 digging performances in UK history. The sophomore is averaging 4.98 digs per set, and with a minimum of three sets remaining is on pace to finish the season with at least 536 digs, which would rank fifth all-time. With 18 digs in her match at Georgia, Dusek climbed to seventh all-time with 521 digs in the 2015 campaign. 

Season Digs
1.  Stephanie Klefot - 608 (20110
6.  Jenni Casper -  523 (2005)
7.  Ashley Dusek - 521 (2015)
8.  Stephanie Klefot - 517 (2010)

Skinner Closing in on 250 Career Wins

With a 3-0 sweep of LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 22, Craig Skinner is just two wins shy of 250 career victories. Skinner has the opportunity to hit the benchmark by the end of the regular season if he earns wins over Georgia and Auburn. With the win over Georgia, Skinner has had 20+ wins in eight of the last nine seasons. 

Bergren Named CoSIDA Academic All-District

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District volleyball teams for the 2015 season were released on Thursday, Nov. 5, with senior setter Morgan Bergren being named one of 48 selections. Bergren is one of six selections from CoSIDA’s second district, joining the Naval Academy’s Rachel Fortner, Louisville’s Katie George, American’s Sarah Katz, Robert Morris’ April Krivoniak and Penn State’s Haleigh Washington. First-team Academic All-District honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third- team All-America honorees will be announced on Dec. 10.

Skinner Earns 11th Straight 17+ Win Season

With the win over Georgia on Nov. 5, head coach Craig Skinner achieved his 11th straight 17+ win season. The win made Skinner just the 14th active head coach to do so. Skinner joins elite company that has a proven track record of success in Jerritt Elliott (Texas), Mary Wise (Florida), Russ Rose (Penn State), John Cook (Nebraska), John Dunning (Stanford), Kelly Sheffield (Wisconsin), Chris Lamb (Wichita State), Barry Goldberg (American), Tom Hilbert (Colorado State), Dave Shoji (Hawaii), Carin Aubrey (Valparaiso), Brian Gimmillaro (Long Beach State) and Mike Jordan (New Mexico State).  

Cats Lead SEC Play in Blocks Per Set

Defense at the net has played a large role in UK’s success in conference play, as the Kentucky Wildcats rank first in blocks per set in SEC play. The team averages 2.94 blocks per frame in conference play, with sophomores Kaz Brown and Emily Franklin ranking among the top 11 blockers in league play. Brown leads SEC play with 1.68 blocks per set, while Franklin places 11th in the conference, with 1.07 blocks per set. 

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 fifth in blocks per set (1.56) and eighth in total blocks (158). Her total blocks lead the SEC, while she ranks second in blocks per set in the SEC. 

Dusek’s Digs, Brown’s Blocks Lead Conference

Sophomore libero Ashley Dusek now leads the Southeastern Conference in digs per set, both in all matches (4.98 digs/set) and conference-only statistics (5.04 digs/set). Dusek’s 521 total digs are a team best, with the East Bernard, Texas, native logging 287 in SEC action. Dusek’s 4.98 digs per set is also good for No. 33 in the nation.  Sophomore middle Kaz Brown leads the SEC in total blocks (105) and blocks per set (1.68) in league play.

Still Streaking

Following the Nov. 22 weekend, the Kentucky Wildcats are ranked yet again in the Nov. 23 AVCA poll, coming in at 24. With the ranking, UK extends its ranking streak to 46 consecutive weeks, dating back to Aug. 18, 2012. The 46-week streak is the longest ranked streak under head coach Craig Skinner and the longest in program history.

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.

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