Volleyball Continues to Climb to New Heights

Jan. 6, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 2009 edition of the UK volleyball team continued to soar to new heights under fifth-year head coach Craig Skinner. The Blue and White were one of just 20 teams to appear in its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament - and the number marked the most-ever post-season appearances consecutively in school history.

The Wildcats were among the nation's elite as a Sweet Sixteen member playing in the Minneapolis Region where UK took the tournament's No. 3 overall seed in Florida State to five-sets. It was the only Regional matchup that needed five sets to determine an outcome - as all of the other matches were decided in four sets or less.

The Sweet Sixteen appearance was the deepest run for Kentucky since 1993, and the first time a Kentucky team won two tournament matches since 1988. Additionally, the feat marked the first time UK had advanced that far into the national tournament with a field of 64 teams in school history.

UK concluded the season with a 29-5 overall mark - the 10th best win-loss percentage in the nation. UK's 29 victories in 2009 were tied for the sixth best win total in school history. It is the most wins in a single season since 1993. Under Skinner the Blue and White have improved its win total in every season with 17 coming in his first season, followed by 19, 22, 26 and then the 29 in 2009. With the total number of wins - Skinner attained his 100th career victory faster than any other coach in UK allure as he needed just 141 matches to post 100 wins.

All signs point to Skinner's program having been built on a solid foundation with continued room for improvement and goals still yet to reach. The Blue and White appeared in every American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for the 2009 season and have now been ranked in 26 consecutive polls dating back to last season. It is the longest such streak since UK was ranked 27 straight times from 1987-89. Kentucky capped the year rated No. 12 - the highest of any Southeastern Conference program.

Kentucky was a team that broke through as a dominant offensive threat. The Wildcats concluded the season ranked in the top-10 nationally in two offensive categories and was 11th in another. UK finished as the sixth-best team in the country laying down an average of 14.74 kills per set. Even more impressively was the rate at which UK slammed down its kills as the Wildcats were 10th in the country with a .279 hitting percentage - marking a high rate of efficiency. Kentucky's 13.63 assists per set were the 11th best in the nation.

Despite the offensive explosion from threats all over the floor - the Wildcats continued to shine defensively ranking as the 43rd best team nationally with 2.44 blocks per set.

Here are additional accomplishments set by the 2009 squad:

Team Accomplishments
•Kentucky had a school record number three All-Americans in 2009 (Sarah Rumely, Sarah Mendoza and BriAnne Sauer) •Kentucky's five All-SEC selections matches a school-record
•UK led the SEC in assists (13.63) and kills (14.74), while also ranking in the top-four in hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, blocks and digs
•Three players were among the top-10 in hitting percentage in the SEC - as UK had more players rank in that category than any other school
Sarah Mendoza led the league in kills per set (4.12) and Sarah Rumely paced the conference with an average of 11.87 assists per set
•UK players racked up six SEC Player of the Week honors - including BriAnne Sauer who earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week twice
•Kentucky averaged 1,493 fans at Memorial Coliseum for its home matches - the highest single-season attendance number under Skinner
•UK began the season on a 10 game winning streak - the second best start since beginning 17-0 in 1993
•Seventeen of Kentucky's 29 wins came in the form of a sweep
•Five UK players achieved career-high kill totals in a match
•Kentucky defeated four ranked opponents
•UK is 54-9 in the last four seasons at home in Memorial Coliseum
•Kentucky captured all three of its pre-season tournaments winning the Kentucky Classic, Indiana Adidas Classic and the Kansas State tournament
•The Blue and White appeared on television on six occasions - including four national broadcasts and two on ESPNU

Individual Accomplishments

Laura Stokowski
•Career-high in digs (17) vs. Northwestern
•Career-high assists (3) vs. Arkansas
•Four matches with 10 or more digs
•Led the team in digs in a match twice

Sarah Mendoza
•Led the SEC and ranked 40th nationally with 4.12 kills per set
•Career-high kill effort with 26 at Louisville
•Had five matches with 20 or more kills
•Posted a career-best five aces vs. Georgia
•Totaled 31 matches with 10 or more kills
•Became the 13th member in school history to post 1,000 kills in a career
•Set career-high marks in kills per set, hitting percentage, assists and blocks

Brooke Bartek
•Posted a season-best five points in a win at LSU
•Tossed down three kills and two blocks in that outing
•Is one of three seniors in the 2009 class
•Compiled a 77-21 record in her three seasons at UK

Lauren Rapp
•Charted a career-best .750 hitting percentage in a match at Indiana
•Totaled a career-high 10 block assists in a UK victory over Oregon in the NCAA Tournament
•Led the squad in hitting percentage (.336) - also ranking sixth in the SEC
•Totaled career-highs in hitting percentage and solo blocks

Sarah Rumely
•Voted a second-team All-American by the AVCA and was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in senior season
•Broke the UK school records in career assists and aces
•Ranked eighth nationally with 11.87 assists per set
•Totaled a career-best 1.000 hitting percentage vs. Purdue
•Set a career-high with six service aces vs. Murray State

Gretchen Giesler
•Led the team in blocking with 1.11 turnbacks per set, which ranked 81st nationally
•Posted a career-high total with 13 kills vs. Alabama
•Set a career-high with 10 blocks in a win at Auburn
•Led the team in blocking on 13 occasions

Ann Armes
•Totaled a career-high 15 kills at Indiana
•Also set a career-best with a .520 hitting percentage in that same match
•Claimed two matches with 10 or more kills
•Set career-high marks in average kills per set and hitting percentage

Stephanie Klefot
•Had a career-high 20 dig performance on two occasions, once at Kansas State and the other at Louisville
•Slammed down a kill six times from the back row
•Had four aces in a win over UT-Martin
•Was second on the team with 2.65 digs per set and a total of 318 for the season

Blaire Hiler
•Totaled a career-high 15 kills in the Sweet Sixteen match with Florida State
•Posted a career-best hitting clip with a .750 percentage vs. Mississippi State
•Earned 10 or more kills on nine occasions this season
•Set career-highs in total kills, kills per set, hitting percentage, digs and blocks

BriAnne Sauer
•Set the senior and single-season UK record for digs in a season with 580
•Posted a career-high 35-dig performance against Tennessee
•Had 28 matches with 10 or more digs and 11 matches with 20 or more scoops
•Finishes second all-time in career digs
•Had career-highs in service aces and digs

Becky Pavan
•Set a career-high with 17 kills against Florida
•Claimed a career-best hitting clip with a .818 mark at Ole Miss
•Charted 10 matches with 10 or more kills
•Set career-highs in kills, kills per set, hitting percentage, assists and digs

Christine Hartmann
•Had a career-high 13 assists vs. Florida
•Also charted a career-best eight digs in that match
•Saw action in her first 10 matches as a redshirt freshman
•Charted a pair of aces

Wildcats in the Record Books

Several players broke into the UK school record books both in the single-season charts as well as the career records list. Below is a breakdown of UK's record book holders:

Single Season Records
Sarah Mendoza's 519 kills is the fourth highest total
•Mendoza's 1,434 attack attempts ranks as the third most
Lauren Rapp's .336 hitting percentage is the 10th best clip
Sarah Rumely's 1,484 assists ranks as the eight highest total
BriAnne Sauer's 580 digs is the most in a single-season

UK Career Records
Sarah Rumely ranks in the UK record books in six categories: First in assists (5,703) and aces (165), third in sets played (486), ninth in block assists (308) and 10th in both hitting percentage (.286) and digs (1,008)
Lauren Rapp ranks in two categories holding seventh in both career hitting percentage (.301) and block assists (317) •BriAnne Sauer finishes with the second most career digs (1,634)
Becky Pavan claims a .301 hitting percentage as well tying her with Rapp for seventh
Sarah Mendoza has charted 3,150 attack attempts which ranks seventh all-time

SEC Career Records
Sarah Rumely claims the fourth most number of assists in a career in the Southeastern Conference (5,703)
BriAnne Sauer's 1,634 is the ninth most in league history

Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the UK volleyball team.