No. 16 Volleyball Hosts Commonwealth Classic

Sept. 4, 2014

Friday, Sept. 5: No. 16 Kentucky vs. Northern Iowa, 11 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 5: UNI vs. Creighton, 5 p.m. | Kentucky vs. No. 6 Southern California, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6: Creighton vs. USC, 11 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6: UNI vs. USC, 5:30 p.m. | Kentucky vs. Creighton, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
Tickets: | 800-928-2287 or 859-257-1818
SEC Network +: UK vs UNI | UK vs. USC | UK vs. Creighton
Live Stats: (All Matches)
Match Info: Match Notes (PDF)
Additional Info:
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 16 University of Kentucky volleyball team continues its season-opening homestand hosting the Commonwealth Classic, Sept. 5-6 in Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky, No. 6 USC, Creighton (RV) and Northern Iowa comprise the four-team, six-match field.

All three of UK's matches, Friday vs. UNI at 11 a.m. ET and vs. USC at 7 p.m. and Saturday vs. Creighton at 7:30 p.m. will air on the SEC Network +, available to SEC Network subscribers on and Watch ESPN. Dick Gabriel and Mandy Robbe will call both contests Friday, while Robbe will be behind the mic on Saturday. Additionally, live stats for all six matches can be found on

The six-match slate also includes Northern Iowa vs. Creighton at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Creighton vs. USC at 11 a.m. and UNI vs. USC at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Fans will be admitted free of charge to UK's match Friday morning vs. UNI and all three contests on Saturday. Tickets to Friday night's matches are available at the UK Athletics Ticket Office at the Joe Craft Center. Students receive free admission to all home matches with a valid student ID.

Parking for Friday night's matches and all three of Saturday's contests will be available free of charge in the E lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum. For Friday's 11 a.m. match, fans are directed to park in Parking Structure #5, accessible from Limestone or Upper Street, next to Kennedy’s Bookstore.

Click image for UK's Commonwealth Classic Match Notes (PDF)

Tenth-year head coach Craig Skinner is five wins shy of becoming the program's all-time winningest coach. With 205 victories, he is second on UK's all-time wins list, four behind Kathy DeBoer, who tallied 209 in nine seasons from 1984-92.

Northern Iowa comes to Lexington after opening the season with a 2-1 record at the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic in St. Louis, Mo. The Panthers opened the season with a 3-1 loss to Alabama before a 3-2 win over Saint Louis and a 3-1 victory over Southeast Missouri State.

UNI sophomore Leigh Pudwill earned Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week honors after she had a team-high 50 kills for a 3.85 kills per set to open the season. Pudwill and fellow sophomore Kinsey Caldwell, who had 129 assists, were named to the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic All-Tournament Team.

The Panthers, in their 40th season, are led by head coach Bobbi Petersen, in her 15th season. Peterson owns a 372-97 record at UNI after a 23-8 campaign in 2013.

Kentucky is 1-0 all-time against Northern Iowa, with the lone match coming in 2007, a 3-2 victory for UK in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Sixth-ranked Southern California opened 2014 with a perfect 3-0 showing at the Community Bankers Classic. USC swept Rider, downed Arkansas-Little Rock 3-1 and beat host-Pacific, 3-2 to claim the season-opening tournament.

USC Juniors Samantha Bricio and Alicia Ogoms and freshman Lauryn Gillis were named to the Bankers Classic All-Tournament Team. Bricio led the team with 14 service aces, and was second on the team with 31 kills and third with 28 digs en route to Most Valuable Player honors.

The Trojans are led by Mick Haley, in his 14th year in Los Angeles with a 246-76 record. USC went 29-6 in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals.

USC owns a 1-0 edge in the all-time series, with a 3-0 win in 1996 in Long Beach, Calif.

Creighton, receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches' Poll, is 2-1 in 2014 after a 3-1 win over Lipscomb, a sweep of Utah Valley and a 3-1 loss vs. Kansas at the Kansas Invitational.

The Blue Jays were led by senior Leah McNary's 3.55 kills per set and junior Kate Elman's 5.73 digs per set, both who earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Kansas Invitational.

Kirsten Bernthal Booth is in her 12th season as head coach with a 212-129 record at CU after a 23-9 season and NCAA Second Round finish in 2013.

The 2014 Commonwealth Classic marks the first meeting between the Wildcats and Bluejays

Kentucky makes its first road trip of the 2014 season when it travels to in-state rival Louisville Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. ET. The Wildcats own a 26-25 edge in the all-time series, including a 3-2 victory last season in Lexington. UK will look for its first win at U of L since 1993.

Kentucky opened its 2014 campaign by capturing the Bluegrass Battle crown. The Wildcats claimed three victories over Wichita State, Butler and Virginia Tech and dropped just one set for the entire weekend. UK improved to 34-4 all-time on opening weekend under the direction of 10th-year head coach Craig Skinner, including winning nine of 10 season lidlifters.

Sophomore outside hitter Anni Thomasson earned tournament MVP honors after she recorded double-doubles in two of the three matches and led UK with 35 kills along with 37 digs. Junior setter Morgan Bergren and senior libero Jackie Napper joined Thomasson on the All-Tournament team.

With 45 digs to open the season, senior libero Jackie Napper topped the 1,000-dig plateau for her career. Now with 1,024 digs in her career, Napper is the 13th player in school history to amass 1,000 digs. She totaled 10 or more digs in all three matches in the opening weekend and has posted 10 or more in a match on 47 occasions in her career.

Memorial Coliseum has been the home of the Wildcats for all 38 volleyball seasons, and the historic venue has provided the Wildcats with a home court advantage unlike any other.
Last year, Kentucky went 14-4 at home. The record included a 7-2 mark in SEC contests, a 3-2 upset win over then-No. 4 and undefeated Minnesota and a five-set win over in-state rival Louisville.

Overall: 381-148 (38th season) .720
Skinner Era: 119-27 (10th year) .815

- Head Coach Craig Skinner, with 205 career victories, is five shy of becoming UK's all-time winningest coach
- Senior Jackie Napper has 1,024 career digs, 4th in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and 33 shy of a spot in the all-time top 10
- Senior Lauren O'Conner, who leads all current SEC players with 853 kills, is 147 shy of becoming the 15th Wildcat to notch 1,000 career kills
- Junior Morgan Bergren is third all-time in the rally scoring era in UK history with 1,464 career assists