No. 19 UK Volleyball to Battle Lipscomb in Nashville

Sept. 20, 2013

No. 19 Kentucky Volleyball at Lipscomb

When: Sept. 21, 3 p.m. ET
Where: Allen Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
Live Video:
Live Stats:
Match Info: Game Notes
Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | 2013 Fact Book

Lexington, Ky. -- The No. 19 University of Kentucky volleyball team hits the road for the second time this season when it travels to Nashville, Tenn., to face Lipscomb Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.

The contest, which marks the second meeting between the two teams in the last two years, will air live on It is UK’s second true road match of the season after it began the 2013 campaign with two neutral site matches, a true road game vs. Long Beach State and six-straight home contests. The Wildcats sit at 6-3 with two matches remaining in the non-conference season, while the Lady Bisons are 7-3 and 1-0 in Atlantic Sun play.

Two days later, the Wildcats close out their non-conference schedule at 7 p.m. Monday against Morehead State in Memorial Coliseum. It will be the first match since 2008 between UK and MSU, a series in which Kentucky holds a 24-7 advantage.

UK will have had a week off between contests. Last weekend, as part of the Bluegrass Battle, the Cats fell to Pepperdine, 3-0, Friday before upsetting No. 4 Minnesota on Saturday. The win over the Gophers marked the biggest upset over a ranked team in the Craig Skinner era and the largest for UK since 1993.

Lipscomb is 7-3 on the season after a 3-0 win at Atlantic Sun Conference-foe Northern Kentucky, Wednesday to open the league season. The Lady Bisons began the season with three-straight tournaments, which included a 3-0 record, all sweeps, at the Lipscomb Invitational. Against FBS foes, LU has a 1-3 record, with a 3-0 sweep of South Alabama at home and defeats at Georgia, vs. TCU and at Virginia Tech.

The Bisons are under the direction of head coach Brandon Rosenthal. In his 11th season at the helm, he has led LU to four NCAA Tournament appearances, four Atlantic Sun tournament titles, three regular season conference crowns and a 46-match conference unbeaten streak.

Jewell Dobson leads Lipscomb with 158 kills on the season and a team-high .419 hitting percentage. She also has 19 blocks to lead the squad. Caitlin Dotson has 413 assists on the season, the only Lady Bison with more than nine helpers. Bri McCombs’ 127 digs for a 3.97 digs per set average leads LU. Lipscomb has 515 kills as a team, 157 more than its opponent.

In the Bluegrass Battle at UK’s Memorial Coliseum, the Wildcats suffered a setback to Pepperdine Friday before a 3-2 upset victory over No. Minnesota Saturday. The victory was the biggest win in the Craig Skinner era, capped by a dominating 15-8 fifth-set win. The upset was the highest ranked opponent defeated in the Skinner era, and the highest since UK downed No. 3 Texas in 1993.

Against UM, senior Whitney Billings led the way offensively with 25 kills on a blistering .467 hitting percentage. The clip was the highest in her career for a five-set match where she tallied 15 or more kills. With the 25 hammers she became the first player in the 25-point rally scoring era to have two matches of 25 or more kills in a single season. She also picked up 12 digs for her 35th career double-double effort.

Junior libero Jackie Napper accounted for a career-high 24 digs against Minnesota. She added five assists and an ace and turned in a perfect serve-receive stat line. With 50 digs on the weekend, Napper has now tallied 656 career digs which is the fourth-highest total in the rally-scoring era.

Freshman Anni Thomasson continued her streak of 10-or more digs with 10 scoops against Pepperdine. In the victory over the Gophers, she registered her fourth double-double in the last five matches with 10 kills and 10 digs and a pair of blocks. She was served at a team-high 41 times in the match and did not commit a single error.

The Wildcats return to action two days later when they host Morehead State in the final nonconference match of the season. The 7 p.m. contest at Memorial Coliseum marks the first time since 2008 that the two teams have met and the 32nd time in the history of the series.

Thanks to a 2-1 week, which included wins over No. 4 Minnesota and in-state rival Louisville, UK was honored with two SEC weekly honors on Sept. 16. Senior right side hitter Whitney Billings was tabbed the SEC Player of the Week, while freshman Anni Thomasson earned Freshman of the Week accolades.

Billings began the week with 11 digs in a win over Louisville to become the sixth player in program history to amass 1,000 career kills and digs, and the first since the inception of the 25-point rally scoring era. She also posted nine kills in the win.

In the upset-victory over No.4 Minnesota, Billings went off for 25 kills on a blistering .467 hitting percentage. The hitting percentage is the highest in her career for a five-set match where she tallied 15 or more kills. With the 25 hammers she became the first player in the 25-point rally scoring era to have two matches of 25 or more kills in a single season. She also picked up 12 digs in the victory for her 35th career double-double effort. She had a season-high five blocks and was perfect from the serve-receive line as the Gophers attacked her 23 times.

In the loss to Pepperdine, she reached double-figures in the digs column for the sixth time this season, while also posting a season-best three service aces.

Thomasson continued to provide a spark on the floor for the Wildcats as UK upset No. 4 ranked Minnesota and Louisville who is receiving votes in the AVCA poll. The week began with a career-high 13 kill, 16-dig performance in the victory over in-state rival Louisville.  She then continued her streak of 10-or more dig matches with 10 scoops in the loss to Pepperdine.

In the upset victory over the Golden Gophers, Thomasson registered her fourth double-double in five matches with 10 kills and 10 digs, while also adding a pair of blocks. She was served at 41 times in the three matches, and did not make a single error. She averaged 2.08 kills per set, good for third on the team. Here 3.08 digs per frame was second only to UK’s starting libero. Her 2.58 points per game ranked third on the squad.

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 Sept. 10. 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 1,112 kills and 1,027 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 year. 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 186 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: 367-145 (37 season) .717
Skinner era: 107-24 (9th year) .811

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