Volleyball Looks to Even Season Series with Alabama
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off an upset victory against No. 18 LSU last Sunday, the Kentucky volleyball team heads to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday looking to avenge an early-season loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide when the two teams square off at 8 p.m. EDT in The CAVE. Live statistics will be available at ukathletics.com.
The Wildcats (16-5, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) are currently in second place in the SEC Eastern Division and rank in the top two of four of the league’s seven statistical categories. Kentucky is first in the league in blocks per game with 3.09. The Cats are second in the conference in hitting percentage, assists per game and kills per game.
Kentucky is 6-2 on the road this season, including a 3-1 mark in league action away from home.
“Our matches with Alabama are typically very exciting,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “There will be a lot of firepower on the court at all times. Our block and defense will need to step up on Friday night so that we can come away with the victory.”
Junior middle blocker Queen Nzenwa (Baltimore, Md.) ranks first in the league in hitting percentage (.418) and blocks (1.57/gm). Nzenwa ranks 10th and 13th nationally in those categories, respectively. Senior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker (Cincinnati, Ohio) is sixth in the SEC and tops on the squad with 3.78 kills per game, while sophomore setter Sarah Rumely (New Palestine, Ind.) ranks third in the conference in assists with 12.30 dishes per game.
The Wildcats and Crimson Tide meet for the 29th time in school history with Kentucky leading the all-time series 17-11. The two teams have split the last four meetings, including a 3-2 Alabama win in Memorial Coliseum in the first weekend of conference action this season.
Alabama enters Friday night’s match with a 10-9 record and a 7-3 mark in Southeastern Conference play. The Crimson Tide managed just a 3-6 record heading into league action, but since have won seven of their last 10 matches to pull above the .500 mark at 10-9. Alabama is the league’s leader in digs, averaging 18.04 scoops per game, but the Crimson Tide have had a hard time stopping potent opposing offenses. Alabama ranks second-to-last in the conference in opponent hitting percentage by allowing foes to hit .219.
Senior middle blocker Crystal Hudson is a major force on both sides of the ball for the Crimson Tide. She leads the team in kills (4.11/gm), hitting percentage (.359) and blocks (1.05/gm), while also ranking second on the squad with 17 service aces. Hudson is fifth in the SEC in kills and hitting percentage.
Following Kentucky’s match at Alabama on Friday, the Wildcats prepare for a trip to Starkville, Miss., where they will face Mississippi State at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday in a match broadcast regionally by Fox Sports Net South.
Quick Notes and Milestones
Kentucky-Alabama Series Notes