Wildcats Look To Regain Winning Ways
Sept. 30, 1999
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The UK volleyball team returns to action this weekend in dire need of a win after dropping its first two conference games of the season last weekend -- Sept. 24 at South Carolina and Sept. 26 at Georgia. The Wildcats (7-6, 0-2 SEC) have never started an SEC season 0-3.
The Wildcats’ opponents this weekend, Alabama and Auburn, have begun the SEC season with perfect 2-0 records after wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi St. last weekend. The Cats meet the Crimson Tide on Friday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. and then Auburn on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.
UK went 2-0 against the two Alabama-based schools last season and will look to duplicate those performances this year by improving their consistency and continuing to fight hard until the last point. Katie Eiserman is still leading the Wildcat attack as she is averaging 4.13 kills per game in two conference matches while also pacing the team with an average of 17 digs per match. Sophomore April Barnhorst stepped in admirably for injured starting middle blocker Jaclyn Homan last weekend. Making her first two career starts, Barnhorst was credited with six blocks at South Carolina and a career-high 10 at Georgia. In terms of conference games played, Barnhorst currently stands as the second leading blocker in the SEC with 16 total blocks and 2.0 per game.
Judy Green’s Crimson Tide have turned the corner after a poor 1-4 start and have improved to 8-6 after winning seven of their last nine matches. The Tide is led by left-side hitter Michelle Green, no relation to the coach, who is anchoring ‘Bama with team-highs of 242 kills and 162 digs this year.
Auburn, coached by Kris Grunwald, is an experienced squad that finds itself on top of the SEC West after a three-match win streak. AU had a seven-match win streak earlier this season. Fueling the Tiger attack is junior Brooke McCarley who is the top attacker in the SEC at 4.57 kills per game.
The Cats would get a much needed boost this weekend if junior Stephenie Taylor is able to return to the lineup as she and UK coach Jona Braden hope. Taylor began practicing with the team again this week after being inactive since suffering a back injury in a match on Sept. 4.
"Stephenie playing will be dependent on her being able to regain the timing that is so important for an outside hitter," said Braden. "But whether she plays or not, it will just be great for her and her teammates to see her back in uniform and on our sideline."