Wildcats Close Pre-Conference Play in Chicago
The Kentucky volleyball team wraps up pre-conference play this weekend, Sept. 16-17 at the Northwestern Wildcat Classic in Evanston, Ill. There UK faces Brown, Southern Illinois and host Northwestern in its final non-conference action.
Kentucky earned a mid-week win over in-state rival Morehead State, 3-0, Tuesday. Leading UK was Danielle Wallace with 19 kills on. 251 hitting, while freshman Queen Nzenwa had six blocks. Wallace, a senior, is second in the Southeastern Conference in kills per game with 4.78.
The Wildcats currently lead the SEC in opponent hitting percentage, holding their foes to just .124 efficiency. The Cats are second in the league in service aces as well with 2.39 per game.
Brown is still looking for its first win of the season after losing all four matches at the UConn Tournament in Storrs, Conn. The Bears took losses to New Hampshire, UConn, Manhattan and Seton Hall.
Senior tri-captain Lauren Gibbsis coming off a career-best season in which she nearly 4.0 kpg in the Ivy League, earning All-Ivy honors. Coach Diane Short is in her 13th season at Brown. This is the first meeting in the series.
Southern Illinois is 2-4 in the young season, with victories over Evansville and Liberty. The Salukis suffered tough 3-0 losses at California powerhouses UC Riverside and San Diego State to open the year.
Sophomore Johannah Yutzy leads her team with a .377 hitting efficiency and 2.91 kills per game. The Plain City, Ohio native had a career-best 19 kills in NU’s 3-2 win over Evansville last weekend. Brenda Winkeler is in her first season as head coach at SIU after spending the last five seasons at Eastern Illinois, who UK defeated 3-0 last week.
Kentucky and Southern Illinois have met six times in volleyball with the Salukis owning a 5-1 advantage in the series. The first meeting was on Oct. 6, 1978 a 2-0 SIU win. Kentucky’s only win came on Oct. 1, 1983 - a 3-1 score at the Tennessee Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. The teams last battled on Sept. 15, 2000, a 3-0 sweep for Southern Illinois.
Northwestern enters the tournament with best record in the field, getting off to a 6-1 start, including a 3-0 win over No. 20 Georgia Tech on Sept. 2. The Wildcats’ only loss came at 17th-ranked Arizona on Sept. 3, 0-3.
Lindsay Anderson is averaging 3.86 kpg to lead Northwestern, while Cassie McLaughlin’s 3.00 kpg and .375 hitting efficiency make her a solid threat on the frontline. Keylor Chan is in his sixth season at Northwestern and was an assistant in the program for two years.
Kentucky and Northwestern have played four times in school history, but not since 1982. The series is tied at 2-2 and UK won the first match, 2-0, on Dec. 11, 1980. The teams last met on Oct. 15, 1982, a 3-2 Kentucky win at the Purdue Invitational.