No. 22 Kentucky Welcomes No. 3 Florida to Begin SEC Slate

Sept. 16, 2010

Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader  | Cat Scratches: Parity rings in volleyball, but UK-Florida still matches two of SEC's best

LEXINGTON, Ky. - For the fifth consecutive meeting between Kentucky and Florida on the volleyball court the two squads will hold top-25 rankings. The 22nd-ranked Wildcats host No. 3 Florida, Friday at 7 p.m. ET to begin the Southeastern Conference schedule.

This marks the first time since 2006, Lexington, Ky., will host the first of the two meetings between the squads. The opening match in the previous three seasons has been played in Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators dominated the series for a number of years, but the series has heated up in the previous two seasons. The home teams earned a victory in 2008 with the visitors posting wins on the road in 2009. Each of the last four meetings between the squads has needed extra sets to determine the winner.

Kentucky (6-4) has out-blocked its opponents in every match this season except for the season-opening loss to Nebraska. The Blue and White rank 11th in the nation and lead the SEC with 2.85 turn-backs per frame. Senior Lauren Rapp is leading the way for the Wildcats in that category with 1.07 rejections per set which is the 123rd highest total in the nation and sixth in the conference. Freshman Alexandra Morgan currently leads the team with 1.12 blocks per set which is the fifth-highest total in the league.

Whitney Billings was named the SEC's Freshman of the Week after averaging 3.28 kills per set and earning UK Invitational All-Tournament team honors. Billings is UK's top offensive performer with over 3.20 kills per frame. She broke-out this weekend for a career-best 23-kill performance against No. 17 Florida State. Billings became the first Kentucky player this season to record 20 or more kills in a match and did so on a career best .360 hitting percentage.

During Kentucky's 2-2 week, she reached double-figures in three matches and had a pair of double-double efforts including a 14-kill, 16-dig effort in a five-set win over Kansas State. Her 16 scoops against the other Wildcats is a career-high.

Florida enters the match-up with the Blue and White holding a No. 3 national ranking and a 6-1 overall mark. The Gators have been impressive to begin the season knocking off four top-15 opponents to begin the season, including a pair of top-five foes. Do-everything player Kelly Murphy leads Florida in a number of statistical categories including kills (2.71), hitting percentage (.345) and assists (5.14).

In the last meeting between the teams in Nov., of 2009, the 10th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team fell to the 13th-ranked Florida Gators in a back-and-forth battle at Memorial Coliseum. Florida posted a 3-1 (31-29, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21) win over the Wildcats in a match that featured two sets that needed extra points to decide, 33 tie scores and 14 lead changes.

Becky Pavan led the offensive attack for the Wildcats with a career-high 17 kills. Pavan used a .364 hitting percentage in her feat. Blaire Hiler just missed the double-figure mark with nine kills in the match. Sarah Rumely passed out 40 assists despite missing the final set and a half due to illness. Christine Hartmann filled in impressively for the Blue and White with a then career-best 13 assists, eight digs and a kill.

The Blue and White had their chances in every set as it reached 23 points faster than Florida in all four sets. The back-and-forth battle began in the very first frame when the Gators outlasted the Wildcats in 31-29 set affair. It was the longest set played this by Kentucky in 2009.

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

Promotions
-FREE UK sunglasses for the first 50 UK fans
-UK Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night - FREE admission for all UK faculty & staff and up to three guests with UK ID
-UK Student Night - any UK students who attends all 10 SEC home matches are entered to win ROUND TRIP AIRFARE FOR TWO!
-FREE hot dogs for the first 50 UK students
-SEC "Together We Can Food Drive" - FREE admission if you bring at least five canned items to be donated to God's Pantry
-AVCA Night

Parking Information In addition to the surrounding "E" lots located near Memorial Coliseum, Parking Structure #5 located next to Kennedy's bookstore is offering free parking to volleyball fans.