Volleyball Opens with Kentucky Classic
Aug. 28, 2008
LEXIGNTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team is set to begin its quest for a fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament when they begin their 2008 campaign against Pittsburgh at home Friday night. UK will host the Kentucky Classic and face the Panthers, Western Carolina and No. 13 Wisconsin in the two-day round-robin tournament.
Kentucky returns 11 letterwinners, including five starters and its libero from a team that claimed 22 victories a year ago. Senior Queen Nzenwa, an All-SEC preseason selection, became Kentucky's first All-America honoree a year ago. Adding to the returning lineup is junior setter Sarah Rumely. Rumely was the 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year and has already eclipsed the 3,000 mark for assists in a career.
Junior Brooke Bartek finished third on the Kentucky team with 2.51 kills per set in her first season in Lexington. Sophomores Sarah Mendoza and Lauren Rapp both claimed an SEC Freshman of the Week nomination in their first seasons. Rapp was picked for the All-SEC Freshman team while finishing the year with 14 matches where she recorded at least 10 kills. Junior libero BriAnne Sauer rounds out the retuning starters. Sauer led the team with over three digs per set as a sophomore and solidified herself as the starter with an excellent spring season.
UK's freshman class was ranked 17th in the country by PrepVolleyball.com earlier this summer. Gretchen Giesler, Christine Hartmann and Becky Pavan will look to immediately help the Wildcats in the rotation.
Pittsburgh will be the Wildcats' first opponent of the 2008 season. Kentucky assistant coach Chris Beerman served as the head coach at Pittsburgh for eight seasons prior to his arrival at Kentucky. The two squads also faced each other this spring in a tournament in early April. UK prevailed by a 2-1 margin.
Western Carolina and Kentucky will meet for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats earned a 3-0 sweep of the Catamounts a season ago at the Georgia Tech Classic.
Kentucky and the 13th-ranked Badgers meet on the hardwood for the first time since the 1992 season. UK holds an all-time record of 4-1 over Wisconsin in the series history, including a 3-1 triumph in the 1992 meeting. Under head coach Craig Skinner's direction, the Wildcats have toppled three ranked opponents and will get their first chance of the 2008 season in Saturday's primetime match-up.
Western Carolina and Wisconsin kick off the Kentucky Classic Friday at 5 p.m., with Kentucky and Pittsburgh to follow at 7 p.m. Kentucky meets Western Carolina at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, with Pittsburgh and Wisconsin following at noon. In the evening session, Pittsburgh and Western Carolina will play at 5 p.m., with the Kentucky-Wisconsin match at 7 p.m.
Live results of the matches will be available at UKathletics.com. Complete coverage of the UK volleyball team and the Kentucky Classic this weekend can be found at Kentucky's official website.