Volleyball Cats Head to Western Michigan Invitational
Sept. 6, 2001
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Wildcat volleyball squad looks to build on a strong opening performance at the Southern Methodist Invitational last week when it heads to Kalamazoo, Mich., Sept. 7-8, for the Western Michigan Invitational. The Cats face host WMU on Friday at 7:30 p.m., before facing James Madison and Valparaiso on Saturday.
Kentucky posted a 2-1 record in Dallas, with wins over host SMU and Weber State. Kentucky finished as runner-up to Duke, falling short in a comeback effort to knock off the Blue Devils. UK was down 2-0 in the match before regrouping and taking game three after a 25-18 deficit. Kentucky also fought back in game four to force a fifth tiebreak game. Duke answered the Cats' charge, however, taking the win with the 15-9 game.
The Wildcats suffered a setback in their home opener with Western Kentucky on Tuesday, Sept. 4, falling to the Hilltoppers, 3-1. It was the first time this season that UK hit below .200, while the Toppers tallied a .217 percentage.
"We're excited about the chance to get back on the floor after a tough loss to Western Kentucky," Coach Jona Braden said. "We had a good opening weekend, and we want to build on the positive aspects of all four of our games."
Kentucky again will look to the talents of sophomore middle blocker Sissy Canfield, who shined last weekend by posting 47 kills for the tournament including a career-high 18 vs. SMU. Junior Kristen Batt and senior April Barnhorst also posted solid performances, each tallying two double-doubles in the tourney. Canfield and Batt each earned All-Tournament team honors.
Batt again led the Cats against Western Kentucky with 17 kills, while Canfield was close behind with 16. Spinner recorded her third double-double in four games as a Wildcat with 10 kills and 14 digs.
Kentucky is 2-1 all-time against host Western Michigan. The Wildcats and Broncos last met on Sept. 17, 1988, a 3-2 UK win in Lexington. WMU's last win over the Cats came on Sept. 7, 1985, when the Broncos defeated UK, 3-0, in Kalamazoo. Western Michigan is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Michigan State Invitational. The Broncos tallied wins over Dayton and Auburn, while falling to host MSU and Denver.
The Cats faced the Dukes of James Madison nearly a year ago in the Kentucky Conference Challenge in Lexington with JMU grabbing the 3-1 decision. The teams are tied at one win apiece in the series, with UK's win coming on Sept. 13, 1997, a 3-1 decision at the Ohio University Invitational in Athens. The Dukes went 1-2 in opening weekend play in their JMU/Days Inn Classic. Their only win came against SEC opponent Ole Miss, a 3-0 sweep. Xavier knocked off the tourney host, 3-0, before the Dukes succumbed to Rutgers on Saturday, 3-1.
UK will face the Valparaiso Crusaders for the first time in school history on Saturday. Valpo is still looking for its first win of the season after going winless in its Valparaiso Tournament. Valpo returns four starters from its 2000 squad, which went 9-26 and 7-7 in Mid Continent Conference play.