Volleyball Cats Prepare to Open League Play Against Arkansas
Sept. 18, 2001
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Cats Return to Court for SEC Opener
The University of Kentucky volleyball team will open Southeastern Conference play on Friday, Sept. 22, when the Wildcats play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.
The Cats (4-3, 0-0 SEC) will take the court for the first time in 13 days against the Hogs. Kentucky postponed its match with Louisville on Sept. 11 after the national tragedies in New York and Washington, D.C. UK was set to hold the Kentucky Conference Challenge with Middle Tennessee State, San Jose State and Virginia, Sept. 14-15, but canceled the event after the conference office postponed all events in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
"Anytime you have a break in your rhythm, it's a concern as to how your team will respond," Coach Jona Braden said. "I feel we've been using the time off to our advantage, because its given us the opportunity to fine tune and prepare. We've treated several practices as competitive experiences, which has allowed our players a shortened time in between game situations."
In their last outing, the Wildcats used a 3-0 sweep of James Madison to take second place honors at the Radisson Invitational in Kalamazoo, Mich. Three Cats earned All-Tournament honors, including senior April Barnhorst, junior Kristen Batt and sophomore Sissy Canfield. It was the second honor of the season for Batt and Canfield.
Canfield's .325 hitting percentage leads the Wildcats, as does her 1.39 blocks per game. Batt has totaled 115 kills on the season for a team-leading 4.26 average. On the rise for the Cats is freshman Sarah Spinner, who is averaging 2.78 kpg and 2.96 dpg. Spinner also posted a career-high five service aces against Western Michigan on Sept. 7.
The Razorbacks (1-5, 0-0 SEC) have struggled early in the season, counting losses to two top-25 opponents. Arkansas returns two All-SEC selections from last season in junior Libby Windell and senior Eftila Tanellari.
This marks the 10th meeting between the two squads, with the Hogs holding the 5-4 advantage. The Wildcats, however, hold a 2-1 lead in Memorial Coliseum. The last meeting was on Oct. 8, 2000, a 3-0 UA win in Fayetteville, Ark.
"Arkansas is a great rivalry for us," Braden continued. "It will be a great opportunity for us to open SEC play against a competitive team that can challenge us from the blocking position. We've always played them well here in Lexington, and we're looking forward to the match. "
Admission to the match is free, but donations will be accepted for the American Red Cross to help the victims of last week's tragedy.