Trio of Wildcats to Participate in National Team Tryout
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three University of Kentucky volleyball players are set to participate in the U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts taking place Feb. 19-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co. The sophomore class of Kaz Brown, Ashley Dusek and Darian Mack will be among 231 athletes from 88 colleges and universities participating.
The athletes are vying for spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team, U.S. Collegiate National Team and the U.S. Junior National Team.
Craig Skinner’s program has enjoyed a great tradition of players earning selection to various teams within the U.S. program including Morgan Bergren, Whitney Billings, Ashley Frazier, Stephanie Klefot, Alexandra Morgan, Jackie Napper and Sarah Rumely.
Brown enjoyed an explosive sophomore season in which she earned All-Southeastern Conference accolades after earning All-SEC Freshman team honors in her first season. Brown put together a phenomenal sophomore season, ranking among the top-10 nationally in total blocks per set (3rd, 1.61) and total blocks (7th, 180). With 160 block assists this season, she placed second in UK’s single-season block assists for Kentucky all-time. She also led the conference in SEC-only blocks and blocks per set. Brown earned multiple accolades over the season, being named Player of the Week once, twice the SEC Defensive Player of the Week and MVP of the Bluegrass Battle.
The 2015 SEC Libero of the Year, Dusek led the SEC in digs from wire-to-wire, averaging 5.05 per set. For her efforts she earned AVCA All-America honorable mention accolades. Her season was statistically highlighted by a 40-dig performance at Auburn, breaking a 22-year-old UK record for most digs in a single match. Her 40 digs was also the most in a single match for any player in the SEC this year, and the only 40-dig performance from a Power Five institution. Only four other Division I players were able to achieve the feat. Dusek was a model for consistency over the regular season, only registering two matches during the regular season with less than 10 digs.
Mack became a full-time starter for the 21-10 Wildcats in 2015. She paced the offense with 3.24 kills per set while playing a full six rotations. Mack ranked 13th overall in the SEC for points per set with 3.51 in league competition. She finished the year with a team-high 363 kills and also added 229 digs which ranked third on the team. Mack led the team in kills on 16 occasions and topped 10 or more hammers in 22 matches. She earned All-Tournament team accolades at the Shocker Volleyball Classic after 39 kills and 29 digs in three matches for the Cats.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff will direct the entire tryout process. The tryout will involve four sessions with three waves per session. Friday’s first session goes from 2-8 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s sessions are at 8 a.m. (focus on serve/receive and individual work) and 2 p.m. (middle-centered and out-of-system focus). The tryout concludes on Sunday at 8 a.m. with tournament style play, along with 16-18 athletes selected by the staff to participate in a “USA” training session.
Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, Calif., as early as the spring of 2016, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.
The U.S. Collegiate National Team program has three competition options:
• Tour of China (12 athletes): June 18-July 1
• Tour of Europe (12 athletes): July 5-16
• USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (projected 36 athletes): June 21-30 in Indianapolis
Selections for the U.S. Collegiate National Teams will be made by the end of March.
Follow along with the Cats on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.