No. 12 UK Volleyball Travels to Georgia, Hosts LSU

Oct. 16, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Having won 10 in a row, the No. 12 Kentucky volleyball team travels to Georgia Friday before hosting LSU Sunday in Memorial Coliseum. UK faces the Bulldogs Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET, while the Wildcats host the Tigers at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 19.

MATCH CENTER
#12 UK at GEORGIA, vs. LSU
Kentucky at Georgia
Friday, Oct. 17 - 7 p.m. ET
Ramsey Center, Athens, Ga.

Kentucky vs. LSU
Sunday, Oct. 19 - 1:30 p.m. ET
Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.

Tickets:
UKathletics.com/tickets
Match Info: Match Notes (PDF)

COVERAGE
SEC Network +: at Georgia | vs. LSU
Radio:
Fox Sports 1580 AM (vs. LSU)
Online Audio: at Georgia | vs. LSU
Live Stats: at Georgia | vs. LSU
Text Updates: Subscribe

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Both matches can be seen on the SEC Network +, available to SEC Network subscribers on SECNetwork.com and Watch ESPN. Dave Baker and Mandy Robbe will be on the call vs. LSU. Additionally, Dick Gabriel will call Sunday's match on 1580 AM in Lexington, while Robbe will have an audio broadcast from Athens, Ga. on UKathletics.com Friday. Live stats from both contests can be found on UKathletics.com.

Kentucky (16-2, 6-0 SEC) is one of two unbeaten teams in league play after a road win at Tennessee and a win over Auburn, both 3-0 sweeps, last weekend. The Wildcats' 10-match winning streak is UK's longest since 2008, when Kentucky won 12 in a row. Georgia (9-8, 1-4 SEC) is looking to win its second consecutive match vs. UK, while LSU (8-7, 3-3 SEC) has won three in a row after dropping its first three SEC matches, including the league opener, 3-1 to Kentucky.

WILDCATS IN THE POLLS
Kentucky is ranked 12th in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll, its highest ranking since 2012, when UK was No. 10. The Wildcats have been ranked in each of the last 25 polls, the third-longest streak in school history and the second-longest in head coach Craig Skinner's 10 years at the helm. From 2008-2010, UK was ranked for a program-record 31 consecutive weeks. The current streak goes back to the final poll of the 2012 season, including every week in 2013, the sixth time in team history the Wildcats have been ranked in every poll in a season. Kentucky is one of three Southeastern Conference teams in the top 25.

UK is No. 9 in the second NCAA RPI ranking of the season, announced Oct. 13. Used to rank teams based on record and strength of schedule, UK is one of two conference teams in the top 10.
Notes
Click image for UK's Match Notes (PDF)

SCOUTING GEORGIA
Georgia is 9-8 in 2014 and 1-4 in conference play. The Bulldogs, who are 5-3 at home, opened conference play with back-to-back 3-1 defeats to Alabama and at Auburn before a 3-1 win over Missouri. UGA has lost its last two, 3-0 at No. 9 Florida and 3-2 at Arkansas.

The Bulldogs are led by Tirah Le'au, who has 173 kills, 20 service aces, both team-highs, along with 196 digs. Lauren Teknipp has tallied 166 kills with 74 digs and 53 blocks. Gaby Smiley leads the team with 206 digs, while Kaylee Kehoe has a team-best 579 assists in addition to 134 digs. Desiree McCray has tallied a team-high 84 blocks along with 115 kills on .320 hitting.

UGA is coached by Lizzy Stemke, in her fourth season. Stemke owns a 56-53 record after leading the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Tournament since 2004 last season. An All-American and former U.S. National Team member, Stemke was as an assistant coach at Nebraska from 2007-10

SERIES HISTORY VS. THE BULLDOGS
Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Georgia, 36-25. The Bulldogs claimed last year's lone matchup, 3-2 in Athens, snapping the Wildcats' 15-match winning streak, the longest for either team in the series. UK is 16-11 at Georgia, while Kentucky owns a 15-1 record in Craig Skinner's tenure, with seven road wins.

Last season on Oct. 23, Georgia claimed a 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 13-25, 25-21, 23-21) win behind a dramatic fifth set that saw 11 ties and six lead changes with a 23-21 final score. Sara Schwarzwalder had a career-high 14 kills on .207 hitting, while Whitney Billings logged 15 kills and 19 digs. Alexandra Morgan added 11 kills and a team-high six blocks, while Lauren O'Conner notched 10 kills and added a trio of service aces.

SCOUTING LSU
LSU enters the weekend with an 8-7 record and a 3-3 mark in SEC action. The Tigers opened conference play with a 3-1 home loss to Kentucky but have rebounded with wins in their last three contests. After defeats at Alabama and vs. No. 9 Florida, LSU claimed victories over Arkansas and Mississippi State and at Tennessee. The Tigers travel to Missouri Friday before playing UK Sunday.

The Tigers are led offensively by Briana Holman, who has 212 kills on .379 hitting to go along with 15 service aces and 93 blocks, all team highs. Cati Leak has logged 157 kills on .209 hitting with 115 digs, while Haley Smith leads LSU with 244 digs. Malorie Pardo has dished out 585 assists on the year and has 44 blocks, second only to Holman.

LSU is coached by Fran Flory, in her 16th season in Baton Rouge. Kentucky's coach from 1993-97, Flory owns a 306-193 record with the Tigers and is 416-307 in 23 years as a head coach.

SERIES HISTORY VS. THE TIGERS
Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. LSU, 34-23 after a 3-1 win to open SEC play earlier this season. UK owns a 17-6 advantage in Lexington, including a record-setting 3-2 win in 2013. In head coach Craig Skinner's 10 seasons, the Wildcats are 12-6 vs. LSU and have won 10 of the last 12.

On Sept. 24, 2014, UK earned a 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17) win at LSU, thanks to a scrappy defensive effort and 17 kills from senior Lauren O'Conner. UK notched 12 blocks, while five Wildcats had at least eight digs, led by Jackie Napper's 16. At the net, Anni Thomasson, Sara Schwarzwalder and Emily Franklin led UK with four blocks apiece. Thomasson added 13 kills and Workman had eight, while Morgan Bergren dished out 44 assists as UK tallied 57 kills in the victory.

Last season, UK won a five-set thriller, 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-27, 15-13). Anni Thomasson, a freshman, exploded for a record-setting 30 kills and 22 digs to lead UK. After they suffered comeback defeats in the first and fourth sets, the Wildcats scored 12 of the final 18 points in the fifth and deciding set for the win.

UP NEXT: AT ARKANSAS, TEXAS A&M
Kentucky is on the road for both matches next weekend, at Arkansas on Oct. 24 and at No. 20 Texas A&M on Oct. 26. The Wildcats and Aggies will face off on the SEC Network at Noon, ET.

LAST TIME OUT: UK SWEEPS TENNESSEE, AUBURN
Kentucky extended its winning streak to 10 with a 3-0 win at Tennessee on Oct. 10 and a sweep of Auburn on Oct. 12 at home. The 10-match winning streak is the Wildcats' longest since 2008 and the second-longest in head coach Craig Skinner's tenure.

Friday at Tennessee, Kentucky notched a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-13) victory, led by sophomore Anni Thomasson's 15 kills on .452 hitting. UK hit .317 with 44 kills in the sweep with five aces. The defensive effort included 35 digs and nine blocks, six in the final set. UK held UT to .184 hitting and 30 kills, led by freshman Kaz Brown's career-high eight blocks and senior Jackie Napper's eight digs.

Two days later vs. Auburn, Kentucky tallied its third consecutive sweep (25-15, 25-19, 25-17) thanks to a record-setting block total. UK notched 13 blocks and 26 block assists, tied for the most in a three-set match in UK history in the 25-point rally scoring era. Junior Sara Schwarzwalder assisted in turning away 11 Tiger attacks, the most in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era. Kentucky held Auburn to 0.12 hitting with 27 kills, both season-lows for a UK opponent. Offensively, junior setter Morgan Bergren had 33 assists to lead the Wildcats to a .229 hitting percentage, led by junior Shelby Workman's 11 kills and Schwarzwalder's nine.

SCHWARZWALDER'S RECORD BLOCKING TOTAL EARNS SEC DEFENSIVE HONORS
After leading UK to record-setting blocking totals, junior Sara Schwarzwalder was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 13, the fifth SEC honor this season for the Wildcats.

In Kentucky's 3-0 win over Auburn, Schwarzwalder had 11 block assists, the most in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era. Her 11 total blocks, which shattered her career best, are tied for the most in UK history. The middle blocker helped UK to 13 total blocks and 26 block assists, tied for the most block assists by UK in a three-set match in team history in the 25-point rally scoring era.

GETTING OFFENSIVE
The UK offense has posted a 14.37 kills per set rate, the best in the SEC and a .264 hitting percentage, third in the league. Individually, three Wildcats rank in the top 12 in the SEC in kills per set, the most of any school. UK is one of two schools with two players in the top 10 and the only team with three in the top 20.

The offensive production is led by junior Shelby Workman's 221 kills for a 3.40 kills per set rate, the ninth-best in the SEC. Senior Lauren O'Conner is 10th with 3.24 kills per set and 204 kills, while sophomore Anni Thomasson is 12th with a 2.98 kills per set rate and 194 kills.

The offensive charge has been directed by junior Morgan Bergren, who is third in the SEC with 11.17 assists per set and has dished out 726 assists in 2014. In total, UK's 13.09 assists per set rate as a team is the best in the conference.

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.