Road Trip to Test Volleyball Cats
UK visits South Carolina in Conference Road Opener
The University of Kentucky volleyball team will be put to the test Friday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m., when the Cats travel to South Carolina for their conference road opener. UK (4-8, 2-0 SEC) has not played on the road since competing in the Ohio State Invitational on Sept. 10.
"It's always more difficult playing on the road. We will not be familiar with the court or have the fan support that we have playing at Memorial Coliseum, but I do not expect it to affect our play," said coach Jona Braden.
The Cats enter the contest riding a two-game winning streak, with both wins coming against Southeastern Conference opponents. Kentucky's play has improved over the course of the last week, and the team is beginning to play up to its own expectations.
"The last couple of games, we have started putting things together and eliminating the amount of mistakes," commented senior outside hitter Megan Weiskircher. "We are pleased that our performances are improving, but we can always get better."
If UK is to upset the Gamecocks, it must continue to receive excellent play from each team member. Sophomore Liz McCaslin will be looking to extend her consecutive double-double streak to five matches and Kristen Batt must duplicate the type of performance she had against Ole Miss in which she recorded a career-high 24 kills.
South Carolina (11-3, 2-0 SEC) enters the contest on the heels of a 3-1 upset of SEC Western division favorite Arkansas. The Gamecocks boast one of the most talented players in the conference in sophomore Cally Plummer. Plummer was a first-team all-conference selection during her freshman season of 1998, but was forced to redshirt last year with a shoulder injury. Plummer has regained her form this season, being recognized as the SEC player of the week Sept. 11-18.
USC has also received excellent play from Nia Mackie. The junior middle blocker posted a team-high 13 kills against Arkansas. South Carolina coach Kim Christopher thinks Mackie is the most improved player on the team.
Winning on the Gamecocks home court will not be easy. USC has posted a record of 21-7 since opening the Volleyball Competition Facility in 1996. The teams split their two regular season meetings last year, but UK upset USC 3-0 in the SEC tournament.
UK leads the overall series 13-8. Kentucky will host South Carolina on Nov. 5.