Volleyball to Host NCAA First and Second Rounds
Nov. 30, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team was selected to host the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday and Friday at Memorial Coliseum. No. 17 Kentucky's first round match-up is against 20th-ranked Michigan at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Playing in the 5 p.m. match-up is #22 St. Louis and Alabama A&M. The two teams that advance from the first round matches will meet on Friday at 7 p.m.
"We're excited to get to play in front of our fans again," said Head Coach Craig Skinner. "There will be some great match-ups here in Lexington. Getting the chance to host really speaks of the respect our program and our fans have earned."
This marks the fourth consecutive season the Wildcats (26-5, 17-3) have been selected to appear in the NCAA Tournament. Last year's three straight selections was a school record, which makes Skinner the only Kentucky coach to lead his team to post-season play in every season he has coached.
Kentucky captured second place in the Southeastern Conference overall standings, their best finish since taking second in 1990. UK's 26 victories in 2008 are the seventh most in school allure. Under Skinner the Blue and White has increased its win total in each of his four seasons at the helm.
Lexington was chosen as a host site for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993. During that season, the Wildcats dropped their first round match to Duke, 3-0. In the last three seasons under Skinner in the NCAA tournament, Kentucky has been on the road traveling to Louisville, Purdue and Dayton.
UK's first round match-up is against Michigan (24-8, 12-8) which finished fifth overall in the Big Ten Conference. They are led by Juliana Paz and Beth Karpiak who both average over three kills per set. Their setter Lexi Zimmerman is outstanding and distributes the ball well to the tune of 11.44 assists per frame.
The Wildcats and Wolverines have faced three times in school history. UK holds a 2-1 series record over Michigan, with the last meeting coming in 1992. In that match-up at Memorial Coliseum, it was Kentucky coming away with a 3-0 sweep.
Also in the Lexington pod is the NCAA Tournament's 13th overall seed St. Louis. The Billikens captured the Atlantic 10 Championship with a 28-4 overall record and a perfect 13-0 clip in A-10 action. St. Louis has two players average over three kills per stanza and they average over an ace per set as a squad. Kentucky and St. Louis have never met on the volleyball court before in school history.
Alabama A&M won an at-large bid after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference's tournament with an overall record of 14-16. Three players average over two kills a set for the Lady Bulldogs. Alabama A&M would also be a first-time match-up for the Blue and White should both teams advance to the second round.
The SEC had four teams advance to the NCAA Tournament. Florida, Tennessee and LSU are the other SEC members who earned bids. This marks the fourth season in a row that the SEC has had four or more teams advance into the tournament.
A Tournament Central site is available at UKathletics.com with information on all four teams, a seating chart and parking information. Follow along all week at Kentucky's official homepage for up-to-date information and news regarding the NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
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