No. 15 Volleyball Hosts Arkansas in Senior Night Matchup
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In its regular season finale, the No. 15 Kentucky volleyball team hosts Arkansas Saturday in a Senior Night matchup at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum.
#15 Kentucky vs. Arkansas
Friday, Nov. 7 - 7 p.m. ET
Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
Match Info: Match Notes (PDF)
Video: SEC Network +
Radio: Fox Sports 1580 AM
Live Stats: UKathletics.com
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Before the match, the senior class of Alyssa Gergins, Jackie Napper and Lauren O’Conner will be honored. They have helped the Wildcats advance to the NCAA Tournament in every season of their career, advanced to the Sweet 16 twice and won at least 22 matches every year.
Kentucky (25-5, 13-3 Southeastern Conference) has won seven of its last eight after a 3-1 win at Auburn on Wednesday. The Wildcats have clinched a second-place finish in the SEC and are expecting to earn an NCAA Tournament bid for the 10th consecutive season.
Arkansas (15-15, 9-8 SEC) is coming off a 3-1 win at Tennessee on Wednesday. The Razorbacks have won four of their last six, with three wins on the road. Earlier this season, UK recorded a 3-0 win at Arkansas.
|Click image for UK's Match Notes (PDF)|
Arkansas is 15-15 in 2014 and 9-8 in conference play. The Razorbacks, who have won four of their last six, are 4-6 on the road. UA is 1-4 vs. ranked opponents in 2014, including a 3-1 win at No. 20 Texas A&M and a 3-0 loss to No. 16 Kentucky on Oct. 24 in Fayetteville.
The Razorbacks are led by Meredith Hays’ 500 kills on .167 hitting. An All-SEC Team honoree, Hays leads Arkansas with 4.27 kills-per-set and is second on the team with 21 service aces and 288 digs. Bailee Hankenson has dished out 1,057 assists with 196 digs, while Chanell Clark-Bibbs his first on the team with 24 aces and 120 blocks and second with 295 kills. Monica Bollinger has a squad-high 423 digs.
Arkansas is coached by Robert Pulliza, in his seventh season. Pulliza, a UK assistant from 2005-07, owns a 105-110 record after leading the Razorbacks to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012 and ‘13.
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE RAZORBACKS
Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Arkansas, 19-15 after a 3-0 win in Fayetteville on Oct. 24. UK has won the last two matches vs. Arkansas after the UA won both contests in 2012. The Wildcats are 9-4 all-time vs. Arkansas at home and 15-4 in 10 seasons under head coach Craig Skinner.
At Arkansas on Oct. 24, UK earned a 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-19) sweep as the Wildcats had five service aces and held the Razorbacks to .162 hitting with 21 attack errors. Anni Thomasson recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs as Shelby Workman led Kentucky with 12 kills on .250 hitting with nine digs. Morgan Bergren directed the UK offense to .248 hitting with 40 kills.
PLENTY OF HISTORY BETWEEN UK’S Craig Skinner, ARKANSAS’ ROBERT PULLIZA
Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner and Arkansas head coach Robert Pulliza were teammates at Ball State in 1993. Both played four seasons for the Cardinals under legendary head coach Dr. Don Shondell. Pulliza also served as an assistant coach under Skinner at Kentucky from 2005-07 and helped UK reach three NCAA Tournaments. Additionally, current UK assistant coach Anders Nelson was an assistant coach for the Razorbacks during the 2012 season.
UP NEXT: NCAA SELECTION SHOW
Saturday’s match vs. Arkansas marks the end of the regular season. UK’s postseason fate will be decided Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET when the NCAA Tournament field is announced live on ESPNU.
Kentucky is expected to earn its school-record 10th-consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and the 16th in program history. The Wildcats are 15-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament action, with two trips to the Elite Eight. UK has advanced to the Sweet 16 in two of the past three years.
LAST TIME OUT: UK BATTLES FOR 3-1 WIN AT AUBURN
Kentucky rallied to win the fourth set to earn a hard-fought, 3-1 (25-14, 20-25, 25-22, 25-23) win at Auburn Wednesday night.
The offensive attack was led by Lauren O’Conner, who had a match-high 16 kills. Anni Thomasson added 11 kills with 15 digs for her 14th double-double of the season, while Emily Franklin had a career-best 10 kills on a career-high-tying .500 hitting percentage. Morgan Bergren directed UK to a .331 hitting percentage with 60 kills. Bergren, who had 42 assists, joined Kaz Brown and Shelby Workman as one of six Wildcats with at least seven kills in the win.
Jackie Napper had a match-high 20 digs to lead the Wildcats defensively as UK logged seven blocks. Bergren led UK with five blocks and Franklin added four, two solo.
NAPPER NAMED LIBERO OF THE YEAR, FIVE EARN ALL-SEC HONORS
Five Wildcats earned All-Southeastern Conference honors and senior libero Jackie Napper was named the SEC Libero of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. Napper, senior Lauren O’Conner, junior Morgan Bergren and sophomore Anni Thomasson were named to the All-SEC Team, while freshman Kaz Brown earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors.
The four All-SEC accolades are tied for the most in program history since 1993. Four Wildcats were also named to the All-SEC team in 2008, ’09 and 2011.
Brown’s recognition on the All-Freshman team continues a streak of at least one UK player being named to the team in head coach Craig Skinner’s 10-year tenure, including Thomasson in 2013 and O’Conner in 2011.
Napper earned her first career All-SEC accolade and Kentucky’s fourth Libero of the Year award since 2010. Napper, a Louisville native is the sixth Wildcat to earn SEC Libero or Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining three-time honoree Stephanie Klefot and two-time winner Jenni Casper.
O’Conner and Thomasson were named to the conference’s postseason award list for the second time in their careers after being named to the All-Freshman Team in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Bergren and Brown each earned postseason honors for the first time in their careers.
2014 TEAM NOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS
Now with 227 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 31 consecutive weeks, tied for the longest stretch in team history. UK was ranked for 31 weeks from Oct. 6, 2008 - Sept. 20, 2010, also under head coach Craig Skinner.
Kentucky’s 11-match winning streak from Sept. 13-Oct. 17 was its longest since the Wildcats won 12 in a row in 2008.
Five Wildcats earned All-SEC honors, and Jackie Napper was named the SEC Libero of the Year. Napper, senior Lauren O’Conner, junior Morgan Bergren and sophomore Anni Thomasson were named to the All-SEC Team, while freshman Kaz Brown earned SEC All-Freshman Team accolades. The four All-SEC accolades are tied for the most in program history since 1993.
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 honors, the most by a Wildcat in one season in team history.
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. Thomasson leads UK with 13 double-doubles in 2014.
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 1,178 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 1,461 digs, she is second in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and fourth in the all-time top 10. Her 482 through 30 matches in 2014 is fifth in a single season in the rally scoring era.
Junior Morgan Bergren is third in the rally scoring era and ninth all-time in UK history with 2,560 career assists. In the single season record books, Bergren’s 1,197 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.
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.