Kentucky Travels South for SEC Road Swing
The Wildcats will look to rebound from a home loss to Ole Miss with a road swing to Arkansas and LSU this weekend. Kentucky stands at 2-6 in Southeastern Conference play this season and is hoping to grab its first win in Arkansasí Barnhill Arena since the 1995 season on Friday.
UK captured its first home SEC win against Mississippi State last Friday, 3-1, before being upset by Ole Miss in Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon. It was the Rebelsí first victory against the Wildcats since stealing a win in Lexington during the 1997 season.
Junior Amy Kaplan had a career day against the Rebels, however, giving the Cats something build on with 21 kills on .625 hitting, both career bests. Senior Sarah Spinner had her career night in the win over MSU Friday, tying her career-best with 26 kills on .404 hitting. She followed with a career-high six blocks in the loss to Ole Miss.
Arkansas enters the weekend with a 7-10 overall record but stands at 5-3 in SEC play after a challenging non-conference schedule. The Lady Razorbacks suffered a setback last weekend with road losses at Georgia (2-3) and Florida (1-3), which snapped a five-match SEC win streak. UA has faced five ranked teams this season, including reigning SEC Champion Florida twice.
Senior Jennifer Haaser leads the Razorbacks with 3.01 kills per game on .236 hitting. She also adds 1.41 digs per game and 1.32 blocks per game. Arkansas also relies on offensive production from Denitza Koleva, who averages 2.54 kills per game, Jessica Dorrell with 2.24 kpg and Kele Brewer with 2.32 kpg.
Chris Poole is in his 11th season as head coach of Arkansas and holds a 257-111 record there. Heís led the Razorbacks to three consecutive SEC West titles and nine overall in 10 seasons. This is the 15th meeting between the two teams, with Arkansas holding a 10-4 lead. Kentucky took the first four series meetings from 1994-96 and UA has won the last 10 in a row.
The LSU Tigers head into Sundayís match with a 10-8 record and a 2-6 mark in league play. However, the Tigers have dropped seven of their last eight matches, including road sweeps to Georgia and Florida last weekend. LSUís two conference wins came against Georgia in Baton Rouge and at Auburn.
The Tigers are led by four hitters averaging nearly three kills a game. Jelena Mijatovic leads the group with 2.95 kpg, while Regan Hood adds 2.82 kpg. Ivana Kuzmic adds 2.78 kpg on team-leading .278 hitting, while Kassi Mikulik rounds out the group with 2.56 kpg.
Fran Flory is in her seventh season at LSU after serving as Kentuckyís head coach for five years. She owns a 101-97 record in Baton Rouge and a 211-211 career record. Kentucky leads the all-time series with LSU, 22-16, and has won three of the last four meetings.