No. 15 Volleyball at Mississippi State Sunday on SEC Network
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With three games left in the regular season, the No. 15 Kentucky volleyball team begins its final roadtrip Sunday at Mississippi State at 2 p.m. ET.
#15 Kentucky at Mississipp State
Sunday, Nov. 22 - 2 p.m. ET
Newell-Grissom Building, Starkville, Miss.
Match Info: Match Notes (PDF)
TV: SEC Network
Live Stats: HailState.com
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Kentucky (23-5, 12-3 Southeastern Conference) has won five of its last six and is second in the SEC standings. The Wildcats, who suffered a 3-1 loss to No. 7 Florida on Nov. 16, are second in the league standings with less than two weeks left on the schedule.
Mississippi State (7-23, 2-13 SEC) is coming off a 3-1 loss at Georgia Friday after a win over LSU on Nov. 16. Its second SEC victory of the season, the Bulldogs also own a league win over Tennessee. Sunday's matchup at the Newell-Grissom Building marks the 46th meeting between the two schools and the first in 2014. UK is 43-2 vs. MSU, but the two losses have both come in Starkville.
One of two SEC teams ranked in both the AVCA Coaches' Poll and the RPI Top 25, Kentucky's No. 15 ranking in the coaches' poll marks the 30th consecutive week UK has earned a spot in the top 25. The longest stretch in school history is 31 weeks, set from 2008-10.
|Click image for UK's Match Notes (PDF)|
Mississippi State is 7-23 in 2014 and 2-13 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are coming off a 3-1 loss at Georgia Friday after a 3-2 win over LSU on Nov. 16 to end a six game losing streak. MSU's first conference victory came on Oct. 17, a 3-2 home win over Tennessee. Against ranked foes in 2014, the Bulldogs are 0-2, with a pair of 3-0 losses to No. 9 Florida.
The Bulldogs are led by Chelsea Duhs, who has 270 kills on .137 hitting. Alex Warren has 266 kills on .131 hitting with a team-best 2.69 kills-per-set rate. Bali Leffall-Young leads the squad with 83 total blocks in addition to having 131 kills. Payton Harris leads MSU with 672 digs and 26 service aces and Shelby Anderton has dished out 644 assists.
MSU is coached by Jenny Hazelwood, in her sixth season. Hazelwood owns a 55-127 record after leading the Bulldogs to eight home wins in 2013, the second most all-time. A setter for MSU from 1996-99, Hazelwood capped her playing career fourth in career assists in SEC history.
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE BULLDOGS
Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Mississippi State 43-2 after two 3-0 victories in 2013. UK is 15-1 all-time vs. the Bulldogs under head coach Craig Skinner, including 3-0 wins in each of the last four matches. UK owns a 15-2 record in Starkville, with the its two losses coming in 1994 and 2011.
UK's first win over MSU in 2013 came on Oct. 25, 3-0 (25-13, 26-24, 25-21) at home. UK's first-set win was one of its biggest of the season, and the Wildcats dominated in nearly every statistical category. Kentucky trailed 24-22 in the second set, but it staved off set point to score the final four points. Whitney Billings led the Wildcats with game highs of 15 kills and a .438 hitting clip, while Thomasson produced 12 kills and a .357 hitting margin.
In a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-14) win on Nov. 15 in Starkville, the Wildcats limited the Bulldogs to a .008 hitting clip, the lowest for a UK opponent since MSU hit -.026 on 2012. Kentucky had 19 blocks, the most since UK recorded 20.5 in 2011 and the most in a three-set match in the 25-point, rally scoring era in Wildcat history. Alexandra Morgan recorded a career-best 11 blocks and added seven kills on .438 hitting, while Whitney Billings posted eight blocks and six kills in addition to eight digs.
UP NEXT: AT AUBURN, VS. ARKANSAS
Kentucky travels to Auburn on Nov. 26 before the Wildcats return home for the regular season finale, a Senior Night contest vs. Arkansas on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. ET.
LAST TIME OUT: UK DOWNS OLE MISS, FALLS TO NO. 7 FLORIDA
Fueled by dominate runs to close the second and third sets and a season-high-tying 18 kills by Anni Thomasson, Kentucky defeated Ole Miss 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-23) on Nov. 14 in Oxford, Miss., to open the weekend. The Wildcats recovered from a first-set loss with a balanced offensive attack and 12 blocks after the Rebels out-hit UK .241 to .071 in the first set. Kentucky recorded a .520 hitting percentage with at least 15 kills in the second and third sets before hitting .353 with 16 kills in the final frame. UK's 12 blocks are tied for the most in a four-set match and the third-highest total this season. Morgan Bergren led Kentucky with six blocks, while Brown and Franklin each assisted on five. After one kill on -.600 hitting in the first set, Thomasson recovered to record a season-high-tying 18 kills on .406 hitting. The sophomore added five digs and two block assists.
Two days later in a battle between the top two teams in the SEC, Kentucky lost to No. 7 Florida, 3-1 (19-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-16) in front of a season-high 2,743 fans in Memorial Coliseum. In UK's second-set win, UF was held to its fewest points in a set this season in the Gators' first set loss in over a month. Two Wildcats reached double-digit kills, led by Shelby Workman's 12 on .391 hitting. Anni Thomasson added 11 kills and one block, while both Thomasson and Workman logged five digs.
2014 TEAM NOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS
Now with 225 career wins, head coach Craig Skinner became UK's all-time winningest coach with his 210th victory Sept. 13.
Kentucky has recorded 20 or more wins in each of the last four seasons and seven of the last eight. UK has also notched 17 or more victories in all 10 seasons under Skinner - the longest streak in program history. Before Skinner arrived in 2005, Kentucky hadn't won more than 16 games since 1993.
UK has been ranked for 30 consecutive weeks, the second-longest stretch in team history.
Kentucky's 11-match winning streak from Sept. 13-Oct. 17 was its longest since the Wildcats won 12 in a row in 2008.
UK players have been named SEC Player of the Week eight times in 2014, the most in a single season in program history. Jackie Napper has earned four defensive accolades, the most by a Wildcat in one season in team history. Lauren O'Conner has been named Player of the Week twice, while Morgan Bergren and Sara Schwarzwalder have each been recognized once.
2014 INDIVIDUAL NOTES AND MILESTONE WATCH
Senior Lauren O'Conner had 39 kills in 70 attempts but did not commit a single attacking error in nearly 10 consecutive sets over four matches from Oct. 29-Nov. 9. In the four contests, O'Conner totaled 63 kills on 116 swings with just 6 errors and a .491 attacking percentage.
O'Conner had back-to-back 19-kill matches, including in a 3-0 win vs. Tennessee on Oct. 29, marking a program record for kills in a three-set match in the 25-point rally scoring era.
Sophomore Anni Thomasson recorded double-doubles in three consecutive matches from Oct. 19-26, the first Wildcat to post more than two double-doubles in a row since Whitney Billings had four to open the 2013 season.
In UK's win at Louisville, its first at U of L since 1993, junior Shelby Workman exploded for a career-high 21 kills, including 13 in the third set, a program record for kills in a set in the modern era.
O'Conner, who leads all current SEC players with 1,158 kills, became the 15th Wildcat to notch 1,000 career kills on Oct. 5 vs. Texas A&M and is second in program history in the rally scoring era.
Senior Jackie Napper joined the 1,000th career dig club on Aug. 30. Now with 1,424 digs, she is second in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and fourth in the all-time top 10. Her 445 through 28 matches in 2014 is sixth in a single season in the rally scoring era.
Junior Morgan Bergren is third all-time in the rally scoring era and ninth in UK history with 2,481 career assists. In the single season record books, Bergren's 1,118 assists in 2014 is sixth in the modern era. Her career-high 55 assists at Louisville is a program record in a four-set match.
Junior Sara Schwarzwalder's 11 block assists on Oct. 12 were a program record in a three-set match in the 25-point rally scoring era, while her 11 total blocks, and UK's total of 26 block assists in the match, tie a modern-era record in a three-set match. Schwarzwalder's 245 career block assists and 261 total blocks are fifth and sixth, respectively in UK history in the 25-point rally scoring era.