Wildcats Clash With Western-Division Leaders
The Kentucky volleyball team plays host to an important weekend in Memorial Coliseum as the Wildcats square off with the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in Ole Miss and No. 18 LSU. The Cats face the Rebels at 7 p.m. Friday and the Tigers at 1:30 p.m. Sunday’s match will be televised live on C-WKYT in Lexington.
The Wildcats (15-4, 6-2 SEC) are currently in second place in the SEC Eastern Division. Kentucky leads the league in blocks with 3.09 rejections per game and is second in hitting percentage with a .269 efficiency clip.
“It’s a great weekend of volleyball in Lexington,” said UK head coach Craig Skinner. “We get are fired up to play two of the top teams in the league starting with Ole Miss on Friday and finishing up with LSU on Sunday. All three teams are fighting for position in the league standings. Our fans will definitely get their money’s worth.”
Junior middle blocker Queen Nzenwa (Baltimore, Md.) ranks first in the SEC in hitting percentage (.419) and second in blocks (1.52 bpg), while fellow middle blocker Nicole Britenriker (Cincinnati, Ohio) is tops on the squad and fifth in the league with 4.00 kills per game. Sophomore setter Sarah Rumely (New Palestine, Ind.) is second in the SEC in assists with 12.54 dishes per game.
Kentucky and Ole Miss meet for the 36th time in school history with UK leading the all-time series 27-8. The Wildcats have won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two schools, splitting the season series last season.
The Rebels are in second place in the SEC Western Division with a 15-4 record and a 5-3 league mark. Ole Miss swept Mississippi State and Alabama last weekend marking the first time since 1997 that the Rebels have beaten both teams. Ole Miss, a 2006 NCAA Tournament participant, is led by junior setter Rachel Kieckheafer who is coming off a stellar weekend. She finished finishing a kill shy of a triple-double against Mississippi State on Friday (9K, 52A, 11D) while hitting .421 for the match. She then turned in her second triple-double of the season against Alabama (10K, 44A, 15D) and hit .421 for the match to lead the Rebels to the win.
LSU and Kentucky meet for the 44th time in school history dating back to Oct. 28, 1977 – UK’s first year of volleyball. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 23-20, having claimed 13 of the last 20 matches with the Tigers. LSU swept the season series between the two teams last year.
The Tigers are ranked 18th in the nation and are in first place in the SEC West. LSU also defeated Alabama and Mississippi State last weekend. Sophomore Lauren DeGirolamo was named the SEC
Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Tigers with a .462 hitting percentage, which included committing only five total errors in 65 attempts with 35 kills. In addition, she posted a team-high 1.67 blocks per game, including five solo blocks. DeGirolamo averaged 3.89 kills per game, second best on the team, with 5.11 points per game.