No. 19 UK Hosts Pepperdine, No. 4 Minnesota in Bluegrass Battle

Sept. 12, 2013

No. 19 Kentucky Volleyball Hosts Bluegrass Battle
Sept. 13: Kentucky vs. Pepperdine, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14: Kentucky vs. No. 4 Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13: Louisville vs. No. 4 Minnesota, 5 p.m.
Sept. 14: Louisville vs. Pepperdine, 5 p.m.

Where: Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
Radio: 1580 AM  |
Live Video: UK vs. Pepperdine | UK vs. Minnesota
Live Stats: UK vs. Pepperdine | UK vs. Minnesota | U of L Matches
Meet Info: Game Notes
Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | 2013 Fact Book

The No. 19 University of Kentucky volleyball team hosts the Bluegrass Battle Friday and Saturday in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats face Pepperdine Friday and fourth-ranked Minnesota Saturday, both at 7 p.m. Louisville rounds out the tournament field and will play at 5 p.m. against Minnesota Friday and Pepperdine Saturday.

The weekend series marks the final two contests of a six-match homestand for UK. The Blue and White have won the first four games in Memorial Coliseum, all in a five day span.

Tickets for all UK home matches are just $5. Senior, youth and group discounts are available. Tickets are sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the match or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287.

Pepperdine, 4-2 on the season, has opened the year with back-to-back second-place finishes at the Pepperdine Asics Classic and the Pepperdine Invitational. The Waves, hosts to both tournaments, beat UC Santa Barbara and Virginia before a loss to Colorado State, all by 3-1 scores last weekend. Their only other loss on the year came to now-No. 25 Wisconsin in the finale of the first tournament.

The Waves are led by head coach Nina Mattheis, in her 31st season. She has won 11 West Coast Conference titles and taken Pepperdine to 20 NCAA Tournaments. The all-time winningest coach in the WCC, Matthies boasts a 579-334 record and is 21st amongst all NCAA Division I coaches for number of wins. She will be inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in next month.

At the Pepperdine Invitational, juniors Samantha Cash and Katie Messing and sophomore Taylor Racich were named to the all-tournament team. Cash led the tournament with 20 total blocks for a 1.67 blocks per set margin. Racich notched 3.0 kills per set and had a .342 hitting clip, while Messing contributed 3.83 kills per set. Pepperdine returns five starters from the 2012 squad.

Minnesota comes to Lexington with a perfect 7-0 record on the season. The Golden Gophers began the year with a 4-0 start at the UAB/Samford Tourney in Birmingham, Ala., before wins in the Diet Coke Classic on their home court against Ball State, Western Illinois and Duke. All seven wins have been of the 3-0 variety.

Head coach Hugh McCutcheon is in his second season at Minnesota. With a 27-8 record a year ago, the Gophers finished tied for second in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. Before coming to Minneapolis, McCutcheon led the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games and the U.S. Women’s National Team to a silver-medal finish at the 2012 Olympics. He held a combined 213-72 record with USA Volleyball on both the men’s and women’s side.

In last weekend’s tournament, senior Tori Dixon was named the event’s MVP, while fellow seniors Alexandra Palmer and Ashley Wittman were named to the All-Tournament team. Dixon had 44 kills and hit .574 on the weekend with four aces, nine digs and 15 blocks. Wittman had 38 kills and Palmer added 89 assists. Dixon was rewarded with her second-straight Big Ten honor and named the Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 9.

Kentucky defeated in-state rival Louisville in a five-set thriller (17-25, 25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11) Tuesday night in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats won their fifth straight contest and broke a 25-25 tie in the all-time series between the Bluegrass State rivals.

Freshman Anni Thomasson led UK with a team-high-tying 13 kills and a team best 16 digs. Both marks were career highs for the outside hitter, who posted her second double-double in the last three games.

Senior Alexandra Morgan also contributed 13 kills, while sophomore Shelby Workman added 11. Workman matched her career best and Morgan’s total resulted in a season high. Morgan led the way for UK with a .407 hitting clip.

A career best 51 assists from sophomore Morgan Bergren was a match high. On the defensive side, Morgan had five blocks to lead the Wildcats.

After nearly a week off, UK’s six-match homestand comes to a close Sept. 21 as the Wildcats travel to Nashville to face Lipscomb. It is the second meeting between the two clubs after Kentucky won the inaugural match 3-2 last season in Lexington. The contest will be broadcast live on

Senior Whitney Billings made history against Louisville with her sixth dig of the match. After she reached the 1,000 kill plateau on Aug. 31, she eclipsed the 1,000 dig mark Tuesday. The outside hitter became the first Wildcat in the modern era of Kentucky volleyball to achieve the 1,000 kills and digs mark in her career.

With 1,080 kills and 1,005 digs in her career coming into the weekend, she is the sixth member of the 1,000 kills and digs club at UK. The previous five all met the mark before the 25-point rally scoring system was introduced in 2008.

Billings notched double-doubles in the first four matches to open the season. The Helena, Ala. native recorded 10 kills and 10 digs against Florida State, 26 kills and 13 digs against Illinois and 13 kills and 10 digs against Long Beach State. The following weekend at home, she notched 13 kills and 14 digs against VCU.

Senior Jessi Greenberg has been selected as one of 30 candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

Ninth-year head coach Craig Skinner is the school’s second all-time winningest coach with 185 career victories entering the weekend. Kathy DeBoer tallied 209 in nine seasons at the helm from 1984-92. In the Craig Skinner era, the Blue and White have amassed 17 or more victories in all eight seasons, and have captured 20 or more wins in five of the last six years.

For 37 seasons of Kentucky volleyball, Memorial Coliseum has been home for the Wildcats. UK has a favorable record in the friendly confines of the esteemed venue.

Overall: 366-144 (37 season) .717
Skinner era: 106-23 (9th year) .820

UK to Host 2013 NCAA Regional
Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event. Tickets for the event are available now at