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Billings, Thomasson Honored by SEC

Anni Thomasson averaged 2.58 points per set for the week en route to Freshman of the Week accolades.

Anni Thomasson averaged 2.58 points per set for the week en route to Freshman of the Week accolades.

Sept. 16, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Two University of Kentucky volleyball players were honored by the Southeastern Conference for outstanding performances in a 2-1 week for the Blue and White it was announced Monday afternoon. Senior right side hitter Whitney Billings was tabbed the SEC Player of the Week, while freshman Anni Thomasson earned Freshman of the Week accolades.

The honor is the first of Thomasson's career, while Billings has been honored as Player of the Week once as a junior. She's also tallied Defensive and Freshman of the Week honors throughout her career.

Billings began the week with 11 digs in a win over Louisville to become the sixth player in program history to amass 1,000 career kills and digs, and the first since the inception of the 25-point rally scoring era. She contributed nine kills in the win narrowly missing out on a double-double effort.

In the upset-victory over No.4 Minnesota (the highest ranked opponent defeated in the Craig Skinner era), Billings was unstoppable. She went off for 25 kills on a blistering .467 hitting percentage. The hitting percentage is the highest in her career for a five-set match where she tallied 15 or more kills. With the 25 hammers she became the first player in the 25-point rally scoring era to have two matches of 25 or more kills in a single season. She also picked up 12 digs in the victory for her 35th career double-double effort. She had a season-high five blocks and was perfect from the serve-receive line as the Gophers attacked her 23 times.

In the loss to Pepperdine, she reached double-figures in the digs column for the sixth time this season, while also posting a season-best three service aces.

Thomasson continued to provide a spark on the floor for the Wildcats as UK upset No. 4 ranked Minnesota and Louisville who is receiving votes in the AVCA poll. The week began with a career-high 13 kill, 16-dig performance in the victory over in-state rival Louisville. She then continued her streak of 10-or more dig matches with 10 scoops in the loss to Pepperdine.

 

 

In the upset victory over the Golden Gophers, Thomasson registered her fourth double-double in five matches with 10 kills and 10 digs, while also adding a pair of blocks. She was served at 41 times in the three matches, and did not make a single error. She averaged 2.08 kills per set, good for third on the team. Here 3.08 digs per frame was second only to UK's starting libero. Her 2.58 points per game ranked third on the squad.

UK returns to action with a road contest at Lipscomb on Sat., Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. ET. The match will air live on ESPN3.com.

Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports.

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