Wildcats Travel to Tennessee Wednesday
Fresh off a weekend sweep of Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the Kentucky volleyball team travels to Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday looking to sweep the season series with the Lady Vols. Opening serve between the Cats and Tennessee is set for 7 p.m. in Stokely Athletics Center.
Kentucky (14-8, 7-7 Southeastern Conference) defeated the then-18th ranked Lady Vols, 3-2, earlier this season in Lexington marking the first time that the Wildcats had beaten a ranked opponent since the 1993 season.
The Wildcats are coming off a pair of home wins last weekend. Freshman middle blocker Heather Hausfeld was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week for her performance against the Rebels and Bulldogs. Hausfeld recorded 25 kills in the two matches combined. The Cincinnati native led the Cats and had a career-high 16 kills in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss. She hit a season-best .351 in that match, committing just three hitting errors on 37 attempts.
Junior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker directs the Kentucky offense, registering a squad-best 3.93 kills per game, which ranks her eighth in the SEC. Britenriker has tallied a team-leading 10 double-doubles this season. Sophomore Queen Nzenwa tied her career-high with 11 blocks in the win over Ole Miss to give her three double-doubles for the season. Nzenwa has had three matches with 10 or more blocks this season, including a career-best 11 in the Cats’ win over the Lady Vols earlier this year.
Kentucky and Tennessee meet for the 60h time in school history on Wednesday. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 36-23. Prior to the October Wildcat win, the Lady Vols had taken four of the last five match-ups and nine of the last 11. The Cats are 8-12 against the Lady Vols when playing in Knoxville. UK’s last win over UT in Knoxville came on Nov. 12, 1995 – a 3-1 Kentucky victory.
The Lady Vols (17-7, 8-6 SEC) rebounded from a four-match losing streak this weekend when they also defeated both Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Junior outside hitter Yuliya Stoyanova leads the way for Tennessee, averaging 3.97 kills per game.
“This will be a great match for two teams that are so close in the SEC standings,” said head coach Craig Skinner. “Tennessee presents many challenges for us, so we will need to be well prepared. We have a lot of respect for what they are capable of on the volleyball court.
“Because of this rivalry, players on both sides of the net will have no lack of motivation to compete at the highest level,” added Skinner. “It should be an exciting match for both the fans and athletes.”