No. 14 UK Opens SEC Slate at LSU Wednesday

Sept. 23, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After a 10-2 nonconference slate, the No. 14 Kentucky volleyball team opens Southeastern Conference play Wednesday at LSU at 9 p.m. ET.

The match will be televised by ESPNU, with Melissa Lee and Missy Whittemore on the call. An audio broadcast of the match, with Mandy Robbe, can be found on UKathletics.com. Additionally, live stats from Wednesday’s match at the Maravich Center can be found on LSUsports.net.

#14 UK at LSU MATCH CENTER
When: Wednesday, Sept. 24 - 9 p.m. ET
Where: Pete Maravich Center, Baton Rouge, La.
Match Info: Match Notes (PDF)
COVERAGE
TV: ESPNU
Radio: UKathletics.com
Live Stats: LSUsports.net
Text Updates: Subscribe

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Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. LSU, 33-23 after a 3-2 comeback victory last season in Lexington. The Wildcats have won two in a row and nine of the last 11 vs. the Tigers. In Baton Rouge, UK is an even 10-10 against LSU after a 3-2 loss in 2012.

The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back 3-1 wins at home, over Lipscomb and Xavier. Kentucky was led by Shelby Workman’s 15 kills vs. Lipscomb and Anni Thomasson’s 14 vs. Xavier. Morgan Bergren led UK in assists in both matches, while Jackie Napper and Emily Franklin posted team-high totals in digs and blocks, respectively, in both contests.

Napper, who is averaging a career-high 5.18 digs per set, was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. In two victories last week, the senior libero had 44 total digs and seven assists. Napper has logged 20 or more digs in six matches this season, including in four of UK’s last six outings. She is the first Wildcat to repeat as Defensive Player of the Week since Stephanie Klefot achieved the feat Sept. 6 and Sept. 12, 2011.

SCOUTING LSU
LSU enters SEC play with a 5-4 record and is on a three-match winning streak. The Tigers boast two wins over Baylor on back-to-back days last weekend. Against top-25 teams, LSU is 0-3, with losses to No. 14 San Diego, at No. 8 Purdue and at No. 7 Florida State.

The Tigers are led by Briana Holman’s 135 kills on .374 hitting, 12 service aces and 54 blocks. Cati Leak has 113 kills on .231 hitting with 10 aces and 84 digs, while Malorie Pardo has dished out a team-high 357 assists to go along with 93 digs. Defensively, Haley Smith has a team-best 143 digs.

LSU is coached by Fran Flory, in her 16th season in Baton Rouge. Kentucky’s coach from 1993-97, Flory owns a 303-190 record with the Tigers and is 413-304 in 23 years as a head coach.

Notes
Click image for UK's Match Notes (PDF)
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE TIGERS
Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. LSU, 33-23 after a home 3-2 win in last season’s only meeting. The series is tied 10-10 in Baton Rouge, with the Tigers claiming a 3-2 win in 2012. In head coach Craig Skinner’s 10 seasons, the Wildcats are 11-6 vs. LSU and have won nine of the last 11 meetings.

Last season, UK won a five-set thriller over LSU, 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-27, 15-13) thanks to a record-setting match from Anni Thomasson. Thomasson, a freshman, exploded for 30 kills and 22 digs to lead UK along with double-double efforts from Whitney Billings and setter Morgan Bergren. The Wildcats scored 12 of the final 18 points in the fifth and deciding set to put away a Tiger team that continued to fight back throughout the match. UK was just as tough, however, and despite suffering comeback defeats in the first and fourth sets, never let go.

Thomasson became what is believed to be the first freshman in program history and just the second in UK history to tally 30 or more kills and 20 or more digs in a single match. Molly Dresibach had 33 kills and 26 digs in Nov. 26, 1994 vs. Duke. Thomasson was the first SEC player to turn the 30-20 trick since Alabama’s Kayla Fitterer in 2010. The last UK player to record 30 kills in a match was Sarah Spinner’s 36 in 2004.

UP NEXT: AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Kentucky is back on the road four days later, at South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. UK’s next home matches will be Oct. 3 and 5 vs. Alabama and No. 21 Texas A&M.

LAST TIME OUT: UK DOWNS LIPSCOMB, XAVIER
UK posted back-to-back 3-1 wins over visiting Lipscomb and Xavier last week to extend its winning streak to a season-high-tying four matches.

Junior Morgan Bergren led the Wildcats this week which included her first career double-digit kill effort with 11 hammers in a win over the Musketeers. The 11 kills-37-assist performance marked her fourth double-double of the year.

Senior Jackie Napper continued to lead the defensive effort with 44 digs in the two matches including a 24-dig performance in the win over Xavier. Napper has logged 10 or more digs in every match this season and has catapulted herself into the top five all-time at UK for career digs.

Freshman Emily Franklin has started each of the last four matches for the Blue and White and in each match she has led the team in blocks. In the win over Xavier she contributed seven of UK’s 11 total blocks in the victory.

NAPPER REPEATS AS SEC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Senior libero Jackie Napper was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week on Sept. 22.

Napper has charted 10 or more digs in all 12 matches this season. The Louisville, Ky., native has posted 228 digs in the 2014 season and has moved into fifth place all-time in UK career records books for digs with 1,207. She’s currently averaging a career-high 5.18 digs per set. Napper has logged 20 or more digs in six total matches this season, including in four of UK’s last six outings.

In two wins this week, Napper corralled 44 total digs. In the victory over Lipscomb, she notched 20 digs, a kill and four assists. Against Xavier, she posted 24 digs and added a trio of assists.

Napper earned her first career Defensive Player of the Week honor on Sept. 15 after an 80-dig, 15-assist week. She averaged 5.00 digs per set and posted match-high dig totals in each contest, including a career-best 26 at Louisville and another 26 three days later at No. 17 North Carolina.

Napper is the first Wildcat to repeat as Defensive Player of the Week since Stephanie Klefot achieved the feat Sept. 6 and Sept. 12, 2011.

RECORD WATCHING
- Head Coach Craig Skinner became UK’s all-time winningest coach with his 210th victory Sept. 13 vs. Georgia Southern.
- Senior Jackie Napper has 1,207 career digs, third in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and fifth in the all-time top 10, 35 digs away from moving up in both lists.
- Senior Lauren O’Conner, who leads all current SEC players with 943 kills, is 57 shy of becoming the 15th Wildcat to notch 1,000 career kills.
- Junior Morgan Bergren is third all-time in the rally scoring era in UK history with 1,838 career assists, 90 shy of breaking into the all-time top 10.
- O’Conner is tied for fourth in the rally scoring era with 37 solo blocks, eighth with 209 total blocks and eighth with 172 block assists, while junior Sara Schwarzwalder is sixth in the rally scoring era with 220 total blocks and sixth with 205 block assists.
- Schwarzwalder is sixth in the rally scoring era with a .278 attacking percentage.
- O’Conner is third in the rally scoring era with 73 aces.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.