Wildcats Close Pre-Conference Play at Lobo Invitational
Sept. 18, 2003
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., this weekend for the Albuquerque Marriott Lobo Volleyball Tournament boasting its best start since the 1997 season when UK enjoyed an 8-1 start.
The Wildcats, who finished second in last weekend's Kentucky Conference Challenge in Lexington, had a seven-match win streak entering Saturday night's championship match against Virginia, the longest UK streak since 1993. However, the Cavaliers were able to snap the run, handing the Cats a 3-1 loss.
With just one weekend remaining before the competitive Southeastern Conference schedule begins, Kentucky boasts a very balanced attack. Sarah Spinner is averaging 3.89 kills per game to lead the squad, while setter Leigh Marcum's .408 hitting percentage is tops for the team. Senior Sissy Canfield is solid in the middle, adding 3.17 kpg while hitting .316.
Liz McCaslin is having a solid senior campaign thus far, averaging 2.70 kpg and 2.42 dpg as a starter. Freshmen Melissa Popp and Jenni Casper also have been heavily relied on from the start, as Popp contributes 3.09 kpg and 2.31 dpg, while Casper leads the team and the conference with 3.57 dpg.
Kentucky's 7-2 record marks the best start in Coach Jona Braden's UK tenure. Kentucky opened the 1998 and 1999 seasons at 6-3, and matched that start again last season. New Mexico plays host to its second tournament of the season after a tough 3-6 start. The Lobos have been shut out in four of their six losses, despite winning the Comcast Lobo Invitational two weeks ago.
UNM went 0-3 at Washington State's tournament last weekend. Senior outside hitter Anna Reines leads her team this year with 3.94 kpg average, while hitting .266 on the season. The Lobos use two setters in the lineup, including Monica Meihack, a junior averaging 4.60 assists per game, and Lindsay Smith, a freshman contributing 5.89 apg. Meihack is the team's leading digger, tossing in 1.67 dpg.
Sacramento State travels to New Mexico with an even 5-5 record. The Hornets have won four of their last five matches, but most recently suffered a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the road. Despite the loss, SSU captured the Panther Invitational title.
Junior hitter Sandra Bandimere leads her team with 3.63 kpg, while senior Kazmiera Imrie is close behind with 3.34 kpg and a .284 hitting percentage. Setter Lisa Beauchene accounts for 10.71 assist per game.
Head coach Debby Colberg is in her 28th season at the helm of the Hornets' program and captured her 700th career victory last weekend. She's 700-254 all-time, ranking her seventh on the NCAA's list of winningest active coaches.
Kentucky and Sacramento State have never met on the volleyball court.
Kentucky will close out the weekend against an Ohio squad which has earned several solid wins, including a 3-1 victory over then No. 23 Missouri, en route to a 6-3 start.
Laura Hageman averages 4.00 kpg to pace the team, while Michaele Blackburn's 3.48 dpg are tops for the squad. Geoff Carlston is in his first season as head coach of the Bobcats.