Wildcats Open NCAA Tournament at Purdue

Dec. 2, 2010

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team will open its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament at No. 24 Purdue, Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. UK takes on the Boilermakers for the second time in four years in the NCAA Tournament in West Lafayette, Ind. Live stats, video and radio will be provided by the host institution with links available at UKatheltics.com

Kentucky (17-13) is among just 18 teams in the country to appear in the NCAA Tournament in six straight seasons. Kentucky and Purdue last played in the national tournament in 2006 with the Boilermakers earning a 3-0 victory in the second round of play. The squads last met on the court in 2009 at the Kansas State Tournament with UK earning a 3-1 win.

Kentucky coach Craig Skinner continues his successful stint as the leader of the Wildcats. Under his tenure the Blue and White have charted six consecutive winning seasons with 17 or more victories in each campaign. UK has also been in the NCAA Tournament in each of his six seasons - something no other coach has ever been able to accomplish at Kentucky.

The Wildcats are led by All-SEC performers Lauren Rapp and Stephanie Klefot. Rapp was named to the All-Tournament team at the NCAA Regionals a season ago. Rapp posted a career-high 10 blocks in helping the Blue and White knock off 14th-seeded Oregon in the second round. Rapp then led the Wildcats with a season-high 18 kills against Florida State before the Wildcats dropped a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat to the tournament's No. 3 overall seed.

Klefot was named the SEC Libero of the Year as a sophomore after pacing the conference in digs per stanza. The Louisville native also charted the most total number of scoops in league play. Klefot became just the fifth player in school history to tally 500 or more digs in a single season with 511 thus far on the year.

Purdue (21-10, 12-8) is the tournament's 16th overall seed. The Boilermakers have victories over two similar opponents with the Wildcats. Purdue captured a 3-1 win over Louisville and a 3-0 win over Ohio State. Kentucky also earned victories over the Cardinals and Buckeyes in the early portions of the non-conference season. Both teams also dropped a match to Cincinnati, with Purdue falling by a 3-0 margin and UK by a 3-2 score.

The Boilermakers are led by Ariel Turner's 3.61 kills per frame. Jaclyn Hart delivers 1.35 kills per set on a team-high .372 attacking clip. As a unit, the Purdue offense strikes for 13.63 kills per stanza with Hart dishing out 10.58 assists per frame. On the defensive side, Carly Cramer earns 4.01 digs per set and Kristen Arthurs posts 1.03 blocks per set to lead the way at the net. Purdue charts 2.56 blocks per set and 14.96 digs per stanza.

Should the Wildcats earn a victory over the host Boilermakers, UK would advance to face the winner of the Middle Tennessee State-Louisville match. It would mark the first time in school history that Kentucky has met either squad in the national tournament. The second round match is slated for a 7 p.m. ET start on Saturday, Dec. 4.

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