Notebook: Final Rankings, Billings to Play Professionally
Jan. 3, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - For the fifth time under the direction of Craig Skinner the Kentucky volleyball program capped the season ranked among the top 25 in the nation. Following a 22-9 season and an unprecedented ninth-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Blue and White concluded the 2013 season rated as the No. 20 team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
In 2013, Kentucky remained in the rankings during every poll of the season for the second time during Skinner's tenure, also achieving the feat during the 2009 season. With the No. 20 ranking, UK has now finished ranked among the top 25 on 10 occasions in program history.
Two other Southeastern Conference squads (Florida and Missouri) concluded the season ranked in the final poll, while LSU ended the year in the receiving votes category.
Billings to Play Professionally in Puerto Rico
Three-time All-America selection Whitney Billings ended her career as one of the most prolific players to ever don the Blue and White. She became UK's first-ever three-time All-America honoree and the first player in program history to earn recognition to either the first or second teams twice in her career. She was an honorable mention selection as a sophomore before earning second team honors in each of the last two seasons.
The Helena, Ala., native recently committed to play professionally in a premier league in Puerto Rico and joined the team this week. Billings will suit up with the Orientales de Humacao franchise. The team will begin playing a winter schedule on Jan. 26, 2014.
Final Stats Roundup
The Wildcats enjoyed another terrific season in 2013. Kentucky concluded the season ranking among the top 55 nationally in four statistical categories, while four different players were among national leaders statistically as well.
As a unit, Kentucky concluded the season ranking 38th nationally with a .250 hitting percentage. Kentucky was 44th with 2.58 blocks per set, 46th with a rate of 13.82 kills per frame and 53rd with 12.86 assists per stanza.
Billings' 3.66 kills per set was the 75th best mark individually among all national players and her 4.30 points per frame ranked 67th.
Honorable mention All-America selection, Alexandra Morgan was a top-25 performer with a .398 hitting percentage and she ranked 70th with 1.22 blocks per set. Sophomore Sara Schwarzwalder joined Morgan on the blocks per set chart ranking 164th with an average of 1.06 blocks per set.
Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren, in her first season as a full-time starter, ranked 39th with 10.95 assists per set.
2013 Roster in the Record Books
Billings and Morgan both etched their names among the all-time greats in Kentucky history.
Morgan will conclude her career with an All-America nod as well as ranking second in program history with a career hitting percentage of .355. It is the best mark during the 25-point rally scoring era and the best of any Skinner-coached player.
Billings joined 14 players in program history who topped the 1,000-kill plateau and finished among six players to register 1,000 kills and digs in a career. She's the only player to achieve the feat in the 25-point rally scoring era.
The right-side hitter capped her career ranking fourth in kills (1,393) and digs (1,242), sixth in total attempts (3,504) and seventh in sets played (476). She's the only non-libero to rank in the top five in program history for career digs.
Among the 25-point rally scoring era record book, several returning players have inscribed their names among UK's all-time best during the Skinner tenure and will look to climb the charts beginning in 2014.
O'Conner is fifth with 825 career kills and is on pace to become the 15th member of the 1,000-kill club. She ranks fifth in points (991.0), sixth in aces (57) and block solos (33), seventh in total blocks (185) and ninth in block assists (152).
Napper owns the fourth slot in career digs (979) and seventh spot in assists (167). She begins her final campaign just 21 scoops shy of 1,000 for her career. Napper posted 443 digs in her first season as UK's libero a mark that rates as sixth in a single-season in program allure.
Schwarzwalder currently ranks seventh in career hitting percentage (.270) and block assists (169) and eighth in total blocks (181).
Bergren is already third in career assists among 25-point rally scoring era setters with 1,363 assists. The 1,215 dimes she dished in 2013 is the third most in a single-season since 2009.
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