Volleyball Cats Close Out Regular-Season League Play with Home Stand
Nov. 8, 2001
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
The University of Kentucky volleyball team will close out the 2001 home slate this weekend against Georgia on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. before facing seventh-ranked Florida on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. It marks the final regular-season weekend in conference play before next week's tournament .
Kentucky will join both the Bulldogs and Gators in the 2001 SEC Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., next weekend, Nov. 16-18. It's the first appearance for UK since the 1999 season, while Florida is the reigning tournament champion. Georgia saw postseason action last year, but was missing from the bracket in 1999.
Georgia comes in just behind UK in the SEC standings with a 4-8 record in conference play this season. The Bulldogs are an even 10-10 overall after dropping their match to South Carolina in Athens and falling to Georgia State, 3-0, in Athens on Tuesday. Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Boller has posted 82 kills in UGA's last 10 matches after posting only 14 in the first nine matches of the year.
Friday's match marks a homecoming for two members of the Georgia staff. Head Coach Mary Jones Buczek played at UK from 1986-89, while assistant coach Jane Belanger-Thomas was a 1993 All-American for the Wildcats in her senior year.
Kentucky took the first meeting between the teams this year, 3-1, in Athens on Sept. 30. Freshman Sarah Spinner led the way in that match with a career-high 22 kills, while junior Kristen Batt added 16 kills and 14 digs. UK trails the Bulldogs 18-20 in the series, which dates back to Oct. 5, 1979, a 2-0 UK win in Athens.
Florida moved up two spots in this week's AVCA Top 25 to seventh place after defeating then-No. 19 South Carolina. The Gators stand at 18-1 overall, with a perfect 12-0 mark in league play. They have won 15 consecutive matches for the seventh straight year.
The Gators have hit above the .300 mark an impressive nine of the last 10 matches, with help from sophomore outside hitter Aury Cruz. Cruz leads the conference in kills and service aces per game in all games and in SEC games only. She has grabbed SEC Player of the Week Honors twice this season.
Head Coach Mary Wise recorded her 350th career win this season and also holds some ties to the Bluegrass State. She served as an assistant coach at UK under Kathy DeBoer from 1986-90.
Sunday also marks the final home match for three people who are very special to the UK program. Middle blocker April Barnhorst and setter Whitney Sample will be recognized in a special pregame ceremony. Joining the players is student manager Chris Boots, who has worked tirelessly for the program since the 1998 season.
All home volleyball games are played at Memorial Coliseum with free admission.