No. 20 UK Welcomes South Carolina, LSU to Memorial Coliseum

Nov. 7, 2013

UK vs. South Carolina: Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 at 7 p.m. ET
UK vs. LSU: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
TV vs. LSU: UK IMG Network, Fox Sports South
Radio vs. LSU:
 1580 AM Radio: vs. South Carolina | vs. LSU
Live Video : vs. South Carolina
Live Stats : vs. South Carolina | vs. LSU
Match Info: Match Notes
Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | 2013 Fact Book

The No. 20 University of Kentucky volleyball team returns to the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum for a pair of contests against South Carolina and LSU this weekend. The Gamecocks come to town Friday at 7 p.m. ET, while the Wildcats host the Tigers Sunday at 1 p.m. in a contest broadcast on the UK IMG Network and Fox Sports South.

Fans can follow all of Friday’s action against USC with a live video stream, audio broadcast and live stats on Sunday’s contest will be broadcast locally on CWKYT and on Fox Sports South in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Dick Gabriel and Katie Eiserman will have the call. A radio broadcast of Sunday’s match against LSU will air on 1580 AM and, with Mandy Robbe behind the mic. Live stats can also be found on

The Wildcats are 16-6 and 8-3 in SEC action. UK is coming off a 1-1 roadtrip, with a 3-1 win at Arkansas before a 3-0 defeat at No. 7 and undefeated Missouri. Kentucky sports a 10-1 record at home, one of just four league teams with one or fewer home defeats on the year. UK is 4-0 in league action in Lexington.

The Gamecocks own a 12-11 record and a 3-7 league mark, which includes a 3-0 home loss to the Wildcats on Oct. 13. The Tigers, 4-5 in conference action, are 14-7 on the year. On the road, USC is 2-4, while LSU is 4-3. South Carolina hasn’t played since a 3-2 win over Coastal Carolina on Oct. 30, and LSU’s last outing before a weekend-opener Friday at Georgia was on Nov. 1 in a 3-1 loss to fifth-ranked Florida.

Single match reserved tickets are just $5, while general admission tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for seniors (65+) and youths (6-18). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge.  Tickets are sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the event. Group tickets (20+ people) are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event at 1-800-928-2287. All UK students and faculty/staff are admitted free to all regular season Olympic sports events with a valid student/employee ID.

South Carolina is 12-11 on the year with a 3-7 SEC record. The Gamecocks are 2-4 away from home, with 3-1 victories at Tennessee and Mississippi. USC’s other league victory came against Texas A&M. Friday’s contest in Lexington is a rematch of an Oct. 13 meeting, where the Wildcats claimed a 3-0 win in Columbia.

USC is led by Scott Swanson, in his third season at the helm in Columbia. He led the Gamecocks to an 18 14 record last season, which marked the program’s second winning season in the last decade. Swanson holds a 44-41 record at South Carolina going into Friday’s match.

The Gamecocks are led by senior Juliette Thevenin, the SEC Player of the Week on Sept. 23, who has registered a team-high 408 kills on a 4.86 kills per set rate. No other USC player has more than 200 kills on the year. Sophomore Darian Dozier ranks second with 176 kills with a team-best .318 hitting clip in addition to posting 99 blocks, a team high. Redshirt sophomore Kellie McNeil has directed the offense with 834 assists while posting 77 blocks. Junior libero Michae Christiaansen has knotted 15 service aces and 329 digs, both team highs.

Kentucky leads the all-time series against South Carolina by a 28-18 margin and is 18-6 in home outings. UK has won four straight, including a 3-0 victory Oct. 13 in Columbia and last season’s lone matchup, a sweep in Lexington. UK head coach Craig Skinner is 14-2 all-time against the Gamecocks.

Coming into the weekend, LSU boasts a 14-7 mark on the season with a 4-5 record in SEC play. The Tigers have a 4-3 record in road contests, with wins at Rice, Miami, Houston and Texas A&M. LSU’s league wins include Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Arkansas. Before coming to Lexington, the Tigers travel to Georgia for a Friday night outing.

The Tigers are led by former UK head coach Fran Flory, in her 16th season as head coach in Baton Rouge. The 2009 SEC and AVCA South Region Coach of the Year, she has led LSU to six NCAA Tournament berths in the last eight seasons and a SEC title in 2009. Flory was head coach of the Wildcats from 1993-1997, where she led Kentucky to a 29-4 record and an NCAA appearance in her first season. She left UK with a 78-80 record.

Going into the weekend, LSU is led by Briana Holman, who has been named the SEC Player of the Week once and the Freshman of the Week twice this season. The freshman has 246 kills with a .330 hitting clip in addition to 130 blocks, all team highs. Junior Malorie Pardo has directed the offense with 921 assists in addition to 15 service aces. Sophomore Katie Lindelow leads the squad with 27 aces, while Haley Smith has notched a Tigers-best 302 digs.

Kentucky has a 32-23 record all-time against LSU, including a 16-6 mark in Lexington. The Tigers claimed last year’s only contest, 3-1 in Baton Rouge. After not playing from 2006-08, the two teams have met just once each season since 2009. The last time the two squads played twice in one season was 2000.

Behind the blistering offensive performance from senior right side hitter Whitney Billings, Kentucky claimed a 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-23) win at South Carolina on Oct. 13. Billings ignited for 18 kills and added 10 digs for her 38th career double-double effort in the win.

USC’s Juliette Thevenin entered the match ranking eighth nationally in kills per set and was limited to just nine by UK’s defense, who registered 11 blocks on the night.

Billings was the difference maker for UK as she tossed down her 18 hammers on a blazing .484 hitting percentage. Five other Wildcats logged five or more kills with junior Lauren O’Conner notching six. Senior Alexandra Morgan, freshman Anni Thomasson and sophomores Morgan Bergren and Sara Schwarzwalder all had five. Bergren had 40 assists in the three-set win and led the offense to a .287 hitting clip.

UK split its two-match series with LSU last season, with a 3-2 loss on Sept. 21 before a 3-0 sweep at home on Oct. 21.

Despite career-high dig totals from Stephanie Klefot and Jackie Napper, UK suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11) loss at LSU in 2012’s first meeting. Klefot matched a career-high with 29 kills and Napper topped the 20-dig plateau for the first time in her career in the loss to highlight the day for the Wildcats.

Exactly a month later, UK used a 16-6 run to close out the third set in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-22) home sweep of LSU. Whitney Billings tallied her 23rd career double-double effort with team highs in kills (16) and digs (14) to lead the way for the Blue and White.

Billings provided a dynamic showing in all phases of the match and also posted team-high totals in hitting percentage (.400) and blocks (5) to lead the charge. Lauren O’Conner notched 14 kills on .281 hitting and setter Christine Hartmann had a double-double with 40 assists and 13 digs.

Kentucky posted a 3-1 victory at Arkansas to open November before a 3-0 defeat at seventh-ranked Missouri on Nov. 3.

On the strengths of 15 blocks for the second consecutive match, and a balanced offensive attack, UK posted a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18) win at Arkansas Nov. 1. After a pair of close, back-and-forth sets to begin the match, the Wildcats closed out the contest over the Razorbacks with two strong frames for a 3-1 win.

Offensively, Kentucky posted 59 kills, tied for the third-highest total this season and the most in a four-set contest. The Wildcats hit .388 and held the Razorbacks to 52 kills and a .197 hitting clip. UK servers notched four service aces, including one that was the winner in the first set. Kentucky had a 52-45 edge in digs and limited UA to two aces.

The Wildcats were led by senior Whitney Billings’ 16 kills on a .407 hitting clip with nine digs and five blocks. She was followed closely behind by fellow senior Alexandra Morgan, who notched 14 kills with six blocks and two digs. Sophomore Sara Schwarzwalder led UK with a career-high nine blocks and added three kills, while Bergren dished out 48 assists in addition to four kills and five digs. Junior libero Jackie Napper had 20 digs with three assists in a strong defensive effort to lead Kentucky.

Two days later, Kentucky fell to No. 7 and undefeated Missouri, 3-0 (21-25, 23-25, 22-25) in three tightly contested matches in front of a lively crowd of 3,925 in Columbia, Mo. UK came back to tie the second set at 23 and got within two in the third set, at 24-22, but were unable to complete the comeback.

Kentucky was held to .229 hitting with 45 kills, while Missouri hit .350 with 47 kills. The Wildcats registered five blocks to the Tigers’ nine, while UK notched three service aces.

Freshman Anni Thomasson led the way for UK with a match and career-high 15 kills to go along with seven digs, the second highest total for the Wildcats. Morgan posted eight kills on .316 hitting, while Billings notched seven kills, three blocks and five digs.

The Wildcats return to the road for a pair of matches in the Magnolia State. UK and Mississippi State square off Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. ET, while Ole Miss hosts Kentucky Nov. 17 at 2:30 p.m. Fans can follow along with a live radio broadcast and stats on

Kentucky owns a 42-2 record against Mississippi State and a 37-11 all-time mark against Ole Miss. UK beat both the Bulldogs and Rebels by 3-0 scores earlier in the year in Lexington.

Greenberg Named to Academic All-District Team
Senior Jessi Greenberg was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team. The Melbourne, Fla., native is one of six named to the District 2 NCAA Division I team, it was announced Thursday. Greenberg automatically advances to the national ballot for Academic All-America honors.

Greenberg is an International Strategic Communications and Marketing major. She has played in 18 games for the Wildcats with four starts and has registered 37 digs and two service aces in addition to a kill and an assist on the year.

Through 22 matches, the Wildcats have been involved in 14 three-set contests. UK has posted a 10-4 record in 3-0 outings, including a 4-2 mark in Southeastern Conference action.

The 10 sweeps by the Wildcats on the season were fueled by a seven-match winning streak, where UK posted five 3-0 wins. The winning streak included a run in which Kentucky recorded victories in 19 of 20 sets. After claiming the fifth set in UK’s upset win over No. 4 Minnesota, only Alabama was able to win a set against the Wildcats.

In UK’s eight matches this season that went longer than three sets, Kentucky has played three four-set contests and five matches that have gone the distance.

The habit of making quick work is nothing new for the Wildcats, who notched a 12-4 record in three-set contests last season.

In SEC play, the Wildcats lead the conference with an average of 2.91 blocks per set. In conference action, sophomore Sara Schwarzwalder ranks second in the league, averaging 1.34 blocks per set, while senior Alexandra Morgan is fourth with a 1.26 average. No other team has two players in the top five.

On the year, the Wildcats have totaled 204 blocks, for a 2.59 blocks per set rate. Morgan’s 1.11 blocks per set average and 88 blocks on the year are both team highs.

As a team, UK has out-blocked its opponent 12 times, with wins in all 12 contests and eight victories in SEC play. The Wildcats are 4-6 in matches where they have notched equal or fewer blocks then their opponent. Kentucky has 204.5 blocks on the season, while it has held the opposition to 172.5.

On Oct. 27, a season-high 15 blocks propelled the Wildcats to a 3-1 win over Alabama, a feat they matched in their next contest, also a 3-1 victory, Nov. 1 at Arkansas.

Three players registered six or more block assists in the victory over Alabama, including a career-high eight from senior Whitney Billings. Schwarzwalder matched her with eight, and Morgan totaled six. Kentucky out-blocked the Crimson Tide 5-0 in both the first and fourth sets.

At Arkansas, Schwarzwalder posted a career best nine blocks as UK once again totaled 15 blocks. Morgan added six and Billings five in the win. The Wildcats had five blocks in the second set before a six-block performance in the third frame.

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.

This year, Kentucky is 10-1 at home. The mark includes a 4-0 mark in SEC contests, a 3-2 upset win over then-No. 4 and undefeated Minnesota and a five-set win over in-state rival Louisville. The Wildcats also won their seventh Kentucky Classic on their home court to open the home campaign.

Overall: 372-145 (37th season) .720
Skinner era: 112-24 (9th year) .824

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