Wildcats Entertain Georgia and South Carolina
The Kentucky volleyball team looks to return to its winning ways this weekend when it entertains Georgia and South Carolina in a pair of key Southeastern Conference matches. The Wildcats host the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, and the Gamecocks at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, in a match that will be broadcast locally by the CW Lexington and can be seen live on Insight Cable channel 5.
The Wildcats (9-5, 2-4 SEC) are looking to rebound from a pair of losses to then-No. 10 Florida and Auburn this past weekend. In its last home contest behind the fifth-largest crowd in school history, UK battled the perennial-power Gators to five games for the first time since 1988. Freshman Heather Hausfeld led the way for the Wildcats in that match with a career-high 15 kills, five digs and three blocks.
Junior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker leads the league’s second-most potent offense, averaging a squad-best 4.24 kills per game. As a team, the Wildcats rank second in the league in kills behind No. 10 LSU. Freshman setter Sarah Rumely is the only player in the conference to rank in the league’s top 10 for assists, services aces and hitting percentage. Rumely is second in assists with 12.87 apg, third in service aces with 33, and 10th in hitting percentage with a .338 clip – each of those marks are tops on the Kentucky squad. Senior defensive specialist Jenni Casper leads the defensive effort with 4.59 digs per game, which ranks third in the SEC.
Kentucky and Georgia meet for the 48th time in school history, a series that the Bulldogs lead 24-23. The Wildcats have won two consecutive matches with Georgia, having taken both meetings last season, and six of the last 10. The series is tied 10-10 in matches played in Lexington.
The Bulldogs, coached by former Florida player Steffi Legall, enter Friday’s match with a 4-12 record including an 0-6 mark in league action. Georgia has dropped six consecutive matches and eight of its last 10.
Kentucky and USC meet for the 34th time in school history with the Wildcats holding a 17-16 advantage in the all-time series. The Cats have won four consecutive meetings with the Gamecocks after sweeping the season series each of the past two seasons. UK is 11-6 against South Carolina when playing in Lexington. The teams first met on Oct. 5, 1979, a 2-0 UK win, and have faced one another at least once each year since the Gamecocks joined the SEC in 1991.
South Carolina enters the weekend with a 10-7 record and a 3-3 league mark. The Gamecocks have dropped three of their last four matches after a surprising 3-1 win over Florida in Columbia. Outside hitter Shonda Cole is the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week, averaging 6.12 kills per game and a .352 hitting percentage. The Gamecocks face Tennessee in Knoxville on Friday night before making the trip to Lexington to face the Wildcats.
“Our team is looking forward to the chance to regroup after two close five-game matches last week,” said second-year head coach Craig Skinner. “We’ve had another good week of practice and I can see many reasons why we will come out and perform well this weekend.”