Wildcats Close Out Regular Season at Cincinnati
Coming off its best Southeastern Conference finish (fourth) since the 1993 campaign, the Kentucky volleyball team closes out its regular season Friday night, Nov. 24, when it travels to the Queen City to face Cincinnati. Opening serve in Fifth Third Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats (18-10, 11-9 SEC) split a pair of matches with Auburn and No. 7 Florida over the weekend, defeating the Tigers 3-2 in Lexington and falling 3-0 to the Gators on Sunday in Gainesville. Against Auburn, four Kentucky players notched double-digit kills, led by senior outside hitter Melissa Popp’s who tied a career-high with 21.
Junior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker leads the Kentucky offense with 3.66 kills per game and has tallied a squad-best 13 double-doubles on the season. Freshman setter Sarah Rumely is one ranks in the top 10 in assists and service aces. She is third with 12.40 assists per game and also third in service aces with 0.50 per game, while her 53 aces this season rank her sixth on UK’s single-season record charts. Sophomore Queen Nzenwa ranks sixth in the league with 1.23 blocks per game and her 121 block assists are good enough for eighth on the school single-season record list in that category. Senior libero Jenni Casper, the SEC’s all-time digs leader, is third in the league with 4.74 digs per game.
The Cats lead the all-time series with Cincinnati 13-1 with the only loss in the series coming last season in Memorial Coliseum. Kentucky is 3-0 against the Bearcats when playing in Cincinnati.
The Bearcats are 21-7 this season and finished in a four-way tie for third in the BIG EAST at 10-4. UC fell 3-2 in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship to No. 5 Notre Dame. Jessica Elley leads a balanced Bearcats offense, averaging a career-best 3.57 kills per game and adding 3.36 digs and 0.99 blocks per game.
“Cincinnati has had a great season so far and we expect to have a tough match on Friday night,” said head coach Craig Skinner. “They are a very good offensive team with many weapons, so our defense will be put to the test.”
The Wildcats will learn their NCAA post-season fate when the field of 64 is announced on Nov. 26, between 3 and 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPNEWS.