Volleyball Embarks on League Road Trip
Coming off a four-match homestand, the Kentucky volleyball team hits the road this weekend to face Southeastern Conference foes Tennessee and South Carolina. The Wildcats, who have won three of their last four matches, will face the Lady Vols at 7 p.m. Friday in Knoxville, Tenn., and the Gamecocks at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Columbia, S.C.
Kentucky (12-6, 5-3 SEC) is coming off a 3-1 win over Georgia on Sunday in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats out-blocked the Bulldogs 10-3 in the match and had four players register double-digit kills, led by senior middle blocker Amy Kaplanís team-high 17. Senior Danielle Wallace tallied 16 put-downs, while freshmen Ashlee Fisher and Queen Nzenwa posted 15 and 14, respectively. Nzenwa also added five blocks. Junior libero Jenni Casper led three players with double-digit digs with 25 scoops and the Cats hit .293 as a team.
Kaplan leads the Wildcats with a .364 hitting percentage, which ranks fourth-best in the conference. Wallace is the teamís kill leader with a squad-best 4.19 put-downs per game, which ranks eighth in the league. Casperís is averaging 4.67 digs per game to lead the defensive effort, good for third in the conference.
Kentucky and Tennessee are meeting for the 57th time in school history with the Wildcats holding a 35-21 advantage in the all-time series. The Lady Vols took both meetings from the Cats last season.
Tennessee enters Fridayís contest with an 11-7 record, including a 5-3 mark in league play. The Lady Vols are being led by sophomore outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova, the leagueís leader in kills. Stoyanova is averaging 4.66 put-downs per game, while senior middle blocker Kristen Andre has a squad-best .382 hitting percentage, third in the league. Setter Julie Knytych is second in the conference, dishing out 13 assists per game.
This marks the 32nd meeting in the all-time series between Kentucky and South Carolina. The Gamecocks hold a narrow 16-15 advantage in the all-time series. The Wildcats swept the season series with South Carolina last year for the first time since the 1993 season.
The Gamecocks enter Sundayís contest with a 10-8 record and a 3-5 league mark. South Carolina, under the direction of first-year head coach Nancy Somera, is being led by junior outside hitter Shonda Cole, who is averaging a squad-best 4.31 kills per game. Cole is fifth in the league in kills per game. Senior middle blocker Nicole Miller is averaging 1.27 blocks per game which ranks seventh in the conference.