#19/22 Kentucky Begins Second Half of SEC Slate
Oct. 23, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 19/22 Kentucky volleyball team hits the road again this weekend for two match-ups. UK first visits Mississippi State on Friday night to begin the second half of the Southeastern Conference schedule. The Wildcats went 9-1 in the first stretch of conference play, including a perfect record against SEC West foes.
Kentucky (18-3, 9-1) ensured their fourth straight 17-win season last weekend with a pair of wins at home. UK swept Arkansas behind a splendid hitting performance from senior Queen Nzenwa who hit with a career-best .867 clip. Following that, UK got career-high kill efforts from sophomores Lauren Rapp and Sarah Mendoza in their come-from-behind victory over Ole Miss on Sunday. Rapp's 21 kills became Kentucky's first 20-or more kill tally from any player this season. Mendoza added 19 kills to help give the victory.
On Tuesday, Oct. 21, the Kentucky Wildcats found themselves among the top-20 teams in the nation according to media outlets. The Wildcats cracked the Molten/Volleyball poll for the first time this season and came in with the No. 19 ranking overall.
Mississippi State stands at 6-14 overall, and 1-8 in the SEC. Their lone win came at the hands of Auburn.
The last time the two teams met Kentucky used a suffocating offense hitting a season-high .405 for the match as they took a 3-0 win over Mississippi State, on Sept. 21. With the win, Kentucky won their eighth straight match for the first time since 1993. Additionally, UK's 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-8) victory gave them back-to-back sweeps of SEC opponents to open conference play for the first time since they swept their first two opponents in 1989.
It was a total team effort for Kentucky which saw eight different players record a kill. Mendoza led the way for the Cats with 14 kills on .423 hitting and a team-high 15.5 points. Nzenwa added six kills on a team-high .667 percentage while also recording three blocks. Junior Sarah Rumely chipped in with five kills and a team-high five blocks to go along with 28 assists. Kentucky's defensive effort at the net was another major factor as the Bulldogs attacked with only a .010 clip and tallied 23 hitting errors.
Kentucky is 35-1 overall against Mississippi State in the history of the program. The lone loss came in 1994 in a five-set match. The winning percentage against Mississippi State is the best of any SEC opponent.
Match time in Starkville is slated for 8 p.m. EST. A complete recap following the match can be found at UKathletics.com.
Fans keep in mind that UK's next match against Alabama, on Sunday, Oct. 26 will be aired live on FSN South. Match time is set for 2:00 p.m. EST.