No. 18 Kentucky Returns to Action for Final Road Swing
Nov. 10, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 18th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team returns to action with a two-match road swing against Southeastern Conference Western Division foes beginning at Alabama Friday night at 8 p.m. ET. This weekend marks the final time the Wildcats will endure back-to-back road matches during regular season action as UK finishes the stretch at Ole Miss on Sunday.
The Blue and White enters the final five-matches of the regular season possessing a 22-4 overall record and a 13-2 clip in SEC action. Kentucky sits just a game back in its quest for an SEC title. Up first for the Wildcats is Alabama on Friday night. The Tide own an 11-16 overall clip and a 4-12 mark in league action.
Kentucky has enjoyed a week away from competition after earning an impressive 3-0 sweep of Mississippi State on Nov. 4. Seniors Ann Armes and Becky Pavan provided the spark for the Blue and White to increase its home record in league action to a perfect 8-0 in the victory.
Armes paced the attack with a match-high 10 kills on a career-best .769 hitting percentage. Pavan led the defensive effort as she was a part of nine of UK's 13 total blocks in the match. Pavan has led the Wildcats in blocking in six consecutive matches.
Junior setter Christine Hartmann continues to lead a dynamic Wildcat offense that is the most balanced in the conference. Six different players record between 2.27 and 3.12 kills per frame. The Blue and White strike for 14.10 kills per set and lead the conference with 2.57 rejections per stanza.
Junior libero Stephanie Klefot leads the back-line defensive presence with a league-best 4.78 digs per set. Six UK players record 1.41 digs per set or more to couple a strong defensive showing with a versatile attack.
For the Crimson Tide, Kayla Fitterer leads the offense with 4.08 kills per set on a .228 hitting clip. The Tide charts 15.57 digs per set led by 3.38 from Cristina Arenas. In the first meeting of the season between the two squads, UK captured a 3-0 win over Alabama in early October.
Kentucky's defense enjoyed a terrific outing limiting Alabama to a -.012 hitting clip and a mere 16 kills for the match in a 3-0 (25-12, 25-8, 25-17) sweep. UK's defensive effort held an opponent to a negative hitting percentage for the sixth time under Craig Skinner's tutelage. UK last held a team to a negative clip in a 3-0 victory over Georgia in 2010. The last opponent to registered 20 or fewer kills was Tennessee State in 2008.
UK charted six blocks, but the defensive front was a constant factor for Alabama's attackers. Freshman Lauren O'Conner and Pavan both recorded three rejections. Klefot led the back row effort with a match-high 12 digs.
On the offensive front, the Blue and White posted a .368 hitting percentage with 45 kills. Sophomore Whitney Billings reached double-figures for the second consecutive match to lead the way with 11 kills. Junior Ashley Frazier notched nine kills and O'Conner chipped in with eight. Armes added six, and Pavan knocked down five. Kentucky's offense also added a season-high 10 aces with O'Conner and Klefot both recording a trio.
Hartmann directed a balanced attack with nine players recording at least one kill in the match. Hartmann totaled 39 dimes in the win.
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 9-10. UK is one of four sites selected for Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas, from the Lexington Region.
Opening night matches are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. ET. Saturday's final is set for a 4:30 p.m. ET first serve.
Tickets are now on sale through the UK Ticket Office. All-Session Tickets are reserved for all ages at $14. General Admission tickets for adults are priced at $12 and students or seniors' general admission is slated for $8.
Single session tickets are priced at $8 for reserved for all ages. General admission for adults is priced at $7, with students and seniors priced at $5. Youth single session tickets are $4.
For tickets or more information feel free to call, 1-800-928-CATS.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the UK volleyball team and all of Kentucky's 22 teams.