Wildcats Announce Four-Week Spring Slate
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After enjoying another successful run under head coach Craig Skinner that culminated in a 12th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Kentucky volleyball team and fans alike are anxiously anticipating the start of spring action, which is slated to begin April 1. Skinner and his staff have once again put together a challenging slate for its offseason development.
“As usual, we try and schedule in the spring to address the team’s needs,” Skinner said. “We have a large roster this spring and the schedule will allow us to explore all of our options with this group.”
The schedule will feature four weekends of play. Kentucky is scheduled to participate in the annual KIVA Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky on April 1 to begin its spring season. UK will also face Xavier, Purdue and Tennessee in head-to-head matchups.
Fans will have the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the 2017 squad on April 9, as the Wildcats host Xavier in Memorial Coliseum at 4 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend the home match against the Musketeers. Admission is free to all patrons and the doors to Memorial Coliseum will open one hour prior to first serve.
In addition to the KIVA Tournament and the home date vs. Xavier, Kentucky will also face Purdue on April 13 and travel to Tennessee to take on the Lady Volunteers on April 20.
The Wildcats concluded 2016 with a 23-8 mark, finishing third in the Southeastern Conference at 15-3 in league play. Kentucky made its unprecedented 12th-consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament boasting four players who earned All-SEC recognition for the second-consecutive season. All four of those recipients return in 2017 in Kaz Brown, Leah Edmond, Ashley Dusek and Olivia Dailey.
Brown won her second AVCA All-Region award and All-SEC nod after a phenomenal season. The Waterloo, Iowa, native was third in the SEC and 16th in the country in blocks per set at 1.42. Her 151 blocks were the second-most from any UK player during the 25-point rally scoring era, trailing herself from 2015.
Edmond earned AVCA All-Region Freshman of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and third-team All-America honors after a prolific freshman campaign. She finished the year second in the conference in kills per set at 4.25 and was the third-best freshman in the nation in that category. The Lexington, Kentucky, native finished with 450 kills during the season, which was the second-highest season total from a Wildcat during the 25-point rally scoring era.
Dusek repeated as the SEC Libero of the Year and once again earned All-America honors. She averaged 4.78 digs per set, good for second in the SEC. Dusek became the fifth player under Skinner to total 1,000 or more career digs when she achieved the feat this season.
Dailey earned her first All-America honorable mention honor after being named All-SEC earlier in the year. Dailey was a catalyst for a team that was 20th in the nation in kills per set at 14.23. The Trussville, Alabama, native finished the season fourth in the country in assists per set at 11.78. Dailey sits tied for sixth in the single-season 25-point rally era record book with 1,202 helpers.
Kentucky will also see the return of major contributors in outside hitter Darian Mack, middle blocker Emily Franklin, opposite side hitter Brooke Morgan and defensive specialist McKenzie Watson.