Wildcats Host Tennessee in Mid-Week Showdown
Fresh off a weekend sweep of Georgia and Auburn, the Kentucky volleyball team returns home Wednesday to play host to Southeastern Conference and border-rival Tennessee in Memorial Coliseum. Opening serve is set for 7 p.m. and live statistics will be available at ukathletics.com with live video available through Extreme Access.
The first 100 fans through the turnstiles will receive UK volleyball long-sleeve t-shirts, while the next 100 fans will receive a $5 voucher to the concession stand. Single match tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for Seniors and Youth. Group tickets for 20 or more persons are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event. Anyone wishing to purchase tickets can do so by visiting the UK ticket office, by phone, at (859) 257-1818, or online at www.ukathletics.com.
Kentucky (12-3, 3-1 SEC) has been successful due in large part to their successful blocking, as they have registered double-digit blocks in five consecutive contests and 11 times this season. The Cats are the leading blocking team in the league, averaging 3.13 rejections per game. UK’s dynamic offense ranks second in the conference in kills with 15.87 put-downs per game.
Junior middle blocker Queen Nzenwa (Baltimore, Md.) leads the SEC in both hitting percentage (.426) and blocks (1.62 bpg) and is one of three UK players in the league’s top 10 in blocks. Senior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman right-side hitter Lauren Rapp (Indianapolis, Ind.) each are tied for ninth place with 1.24 blocks per game.
Rapp is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, having now earned that honor twice this season. She recorded 22 kills and hit .388 for the weekend with 18 digs and eight total blocks.
Britenriker is sixth in the SEC with 3.96 kills per game, while sophomore setter Sarah Rumely (New Palestine, Ind.) is third in the league in assists with 12.15 dishes per game.
Kentucky and Tennessee meet for the 61st time in school history on Wednesday. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 37-23. UK swept the season series with the Lady Vols last season, including a 3-2 victory in Memorial Coliseum against then-No. 18 Tennessee that marked the Cats’ first win over a ranked opponents since the 1993 campaign. Prior to last year, Tennessee had taken four of the previous five match-ups with Kentucky.
The Lady Vols (7-4, 2-2 SEC) are tied for third place in the SEC East, one game behind the Wildcats. Tennessee is in last place in the league in terms of hitting percentage and service aces. Leah Hinkey ranks fourth in the SEC in blocks with 1.42 rejections per game and eighth in hitting percentage with a .340 clip.
“Tennessee is always a tough match and we expect the same on Wednesday,” said UK head coach Craig Skinner. “The SEC East race will be heated all season long and this rivalry only adds to the excitement of the event here at the Coliseum. We will need to be well prepared to get the win.”