Wildcats Hit Road for SEC Weekend
The Kentucky volleyball team looks to get back on the winning track this weekend as it hits the road for its first Southeastern Conference road matches of the season. The Wildcats face Georgia at 7 p.m. Friday in Athens, Ga., before meeting Auburn at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Auburn, Ala. Friday’s match will be televised live on FSN South, while a webcast of Sunday’s match is available for a nominal fee at AuburnTigers.com.
Kentucky (10-3, 1-1 SEC) split a pair of matches to Mississippi State and Alabama in its opening league weekend. The Wildcats are the conference’s top blocking team and rank 15th in the nation, averaging 3.19 rejections per game. UK has three players ranking in the top 10 of the league’s individual blocking statistics, led by Queen Nzenwa (Baltimore, Md.), who ranks second with 1.62 bpg, while Lauren Rapp (Indianapolis, Ind.) ranks eighth with 1.28 bpg and Nicole Britenriker (Cincinnati, Ohio) is 10th with 1.26 bpg.
“Georgia and Auburn have had very good pre-conference seasons and are playing good volleyball right now,” said UK head coach Craig Skinner. “It will be another good weekend of high-level volleyball in the SEC. Our team can’t wait to get back on the court on Friday night in Athens.”
Nzenwa leads the league in hitting percentage with a .431 clip, while Britenriker is tops on the team and sixth in the SEC with 3.83 kills per game. Junior libero Alisa Pierce (Louisville, Ky.) heads the defensive effort with 4.00 digs per game.
Kentucky and Georgia meet for the 50th time in school history with UK leading the all-time series 25-24. The Wildcats have won four straight matches with Georgia and eight of the last 12. UK posted a pair of sweeps against the Bulldogs last season.
Kentucky and Georgia (10-2, 1-1) are currently tied for second place in the SEC East. The Bulldogs lost a 3-1 decision at Florida last Friday before rebounding to sweep South Carolina in Columbia. Georgia is the second-most efficient hitting team in the league with a .297 efficiency clip on the year. The Bulldogs’ Maria Taylor leads the SEC with 5.05 kills per game, while Lindsay Gehan is the conference’s top blocker with 1.66 rejections per game.
UK and Auburn meet for the 31st time in program history with the Cats owning a 21-9 lead in the all-time series. Kentucky has won seven of the last 13 meetings between the two teams with the Tigers dating back to the 2000 season. The Wildcats snapped a four-match losing streak to Auburn with a 3-2 win on Senior Day in Memorial Coliseum last season.
The Tigers (9-4, 1-1) have won five of their last seven matches and are tied for third place in the SEC West. Rachel Shanks leads Auburn with 3.67 kills per game, while Whitney Jacob is hitting a squad-best 337.