UK Hosts Invite to Conclude Non-Conference Slate

Sept. 9, 2010

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 16th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team will wrap up non-conference action with its final tournament of the season at Memorial Coliseum this weekend. The Wildcats welcome No. 17 Florida State, VCU and Kansas State for the UK Invitational Sept. 10 and 11.

Kentucky (4-3) dropped a heartbreaking thriller at Cincinnati Tuesday evening. Despite UK's valiant comeback effort to force a decisive fifth set, the Bearcats eventually prevailed by a 15-13 fifth-set margin. It had marked the second consecutive season the two squads squared off, and both times the match needed five frames to determine the winner.

The Blue and White's upperclassmen shined in the match as senior Lauren Rapp posted 12 kills and added a match-high eight blocks. Classmate Blaire Hiler totaled 13 kills to lead the offense, while the junior duo of Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler combined for 13 kills and seven blocks. Fellow junior Ann Armes came off the bench to have her best performance of the young season with nine kills on .412 hitting and 10 digs.

UK faced Florida State in the NCAA Tournament a season ago with the Seminoles edging UK for a right to march onto the Elite Eight. The Seminoles earned a 3-2 victory as the tournament's No. 3 overall seed in the round of 16. Florida State owns a 5-1 overall clip for the season and the lone loss suffered came at the hands of Tennessee. Florida State is paced by Visnja Djurdjevic's 3.40 kills per frame and .372 hitting percentage. The Seminoles are tossing down 15.10 kills per set as a squad on an impressive .320 hitting clip. Defensively, Florida State averages 2.40 blocks per stanza with two players averaging over one block per set each.

This marks the second consecutive season the Blue and White will face the Wildcats of Kansas State. UK captured a 3-1 win over then-ranked No. 21 Kansas State a season ago at the Kansas State Invite in Sept. Kansas State possesses a 4-3 record to begin the year. The Wildcats are led by JuliAnne Chrisholm's 3.43 kills per set while setter Caitlyn Donahue averages 9.35 assists per stanza. Kaitlynn Pelger turns back 1.39 attacks and Lauren Mathewson anchor's the back line defense with 4.57 digs per set.

Saturday morning's matchup with VCU will mark the second time in school history the Rams and UK have met. It's been quite awhile, however, as the squads last met in 1978 with Kentucky earning a 2-0 victory. VCU visits Lexington with a 1-6 overall record, but the Rams have faced perhaps the most daunting preseason slate of any team at the UK Invitational. The Rams have dropped matches to three-time national champion Penn State, as well as major conference foes in Arizona State and Ohio State. Mariel Frey leads the team with 3.04 kills per set with Kristin Boyd pitching in with 2.09 hammers as well. The Rams tally over 10 digs per frame and average nearly two blocks per set.

Follow along all season long with the Wildcats at UKathletics.com.

Complete UK Invitational Schedule
Friday, Sept. 10

Kansas State vs. Florida State, 11 a.m.
VCU vs. Kansas State, 5 p.m.
Florida State vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m.

-FREE admission if you arrive before 6:00 pm

Saturday, Sept. 11
VCU vs. Kentucky, 10 a.m.
Florida State vs. VCU, 3 p.m.
Kansas State vs. Kentucky, 5 p.m.

-One ticket is good for all matches
-FREE admission when you show your football ticket for the UK vs. Western Kentucky game