No. 16 Kentucky Opens SEC Slate at LSU on ESPNU

Sept. 19, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - After suffering its first setback of the season at the hands of in-state rival Louisville, Kentucky returns to action opening up Southeastern Conference play on the road at LSU Sunday. The match between the Tigers and Wildcats marks the first-ever SEC regular season volleyball match to air on the ESPN family of networks as the match is set for a 3 p.m. ET live telecast on ESPNU.

Kentucky (10-1) was the lone SEC team not in action on Friday night, enjoying the first bye of the season. UK ranks in the upper portion of the conference in nearly every statistical category. UK paces the conference in kills per set (14.80) as junior Sarah Mendoza paces the Wildcats with 4.22 kills per stanza to rank third in the conference. Wednesday against Louisville, Mendoza exploded for a 26-kill performance to set a new career-high in that category.

Furthermore, Kentucky is tops in the league and ranks in the top-10 nationally with a .294 hitting percentage. Directing UK's offense is Sarah Rumely, who tops the SEC with 11.93 assists per set. The returning SEC Player of the Year is chasing the all-time Kentucky record of assists for a career and sits around 700 back.

UK's defensive effort has gotten a surge with the excellent play of freshman Stephanie Klefot. The first-year player has tallied 20-dig performances in two of the team's last four matches. Senior BriAnne Sauer continues to be the stalwart of the back row and is just a mere four digs shy of becoming just the second player in school history to amass 1,200 digs for her career.

LSU opened the 2009 SEC slate with a 3-2 victory over Tennessee on Friday evening. The Tigers (7-3, 1-0) hosted captured the victory after posting an incredible 25-12 set four victory and then going on to win 15-11 in the final stanza.

Brittnee Cooper has been the driving force behind LSU's early season success. The middle blocker paces the team in kills (3.63), hitting percentage (.393) and blocks (1.20) per set. Cooper has already been honored twice by the league office for weekly awards--once as the best offensive player of the week and the other as the best defensive player of the week.

LSU head coach Fran Flory began her SEC career as the head coach of the Wildcats. Flory's best year with the Blue and White came when she led the team to a school-best 17-0 start and 29-4 overall record in 1993.

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