LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky capped off one of its finest seasons in school history Friday evening when it fell to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament First Round. The Wildcats finished the year 22-10 and made a school-record third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
In just three years as the head coach at Kentucky, Craig Skinner has returned the Kentucky program to national prominence.
The Skinner Effect has produced:Three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history. The school’s first 20-win season since 1993 and an improvement in wins each of his three seasons. Three consecutive 17-win seasons for the first time since 1991-93 and back-to-back 19-win seasons for the first time since 1992-93. The team’s most road victories in 2007 (9) since the 1993 campaign. The school’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 1992. Three upsets of Top 25 foes. Prior to Skinner’s arrival, the Wildcats hadn’t won a match against a Top 25 opponent in their previous 66 attempts dating back to the 1993 campaign. Back-to-back top 30 recruiting classes, including the nation’s eighth-ranked incoming class in 2007. Nine All-SEC selections, including the 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year and the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Also mentored the school’s first SEC First Team selection in 2007 since the 2003 campaign. Seven SEC Freshman of the Week selections in the past two years. Ten Academic All-SEC selections. Two AVCA Second-Team Academic All-District Selections. The second-best attendance in the SEC in back-to-back seasons, including averaging 1,000 fans per match in the 2006 campaign. The school’s first AVCA All-Region team member (Nicole Britenriker – Honorable Mention – 2006) since 1993. The 2005 SEC Coach of the Year.
Britenriker Ends Outstanding Two-Year Career
Senior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker (Cincinnati, Ohio) transferred to Kentucky from Ohio State prior to the 2006 campaign and, in just two years, made an impressive mark on the Wildcat volleyball program.
Britenriker finished her collegiate career with 1,262 kills, including her first two seasons at Ohio State. Her kills total would rank seventh all-time at UK if each of her kills had come as a Wildcat. In keeping all-time career lists, Kentucky record books only account for those statistics accumulated while at UK.
Britenriker registered double-digit kills in each of the team’s 32 matches her final campaign and had double-digit kills 57 times in her two-year Kentucky career. She played in each of the team’s 63 matches as a Wildcat.
Britenriker notched a team-leading 20 double-doubles in 2007 and concluded her Kentucky career with 35 double-doubles over the two-year span.
Britenriker was the only middle blocker in the Southeastern Conference to play all the way around (every rotation) this season.
Nzenwa Block Assists Watch
Junior middle blocker Queen Nzenwa (Baltimore, Md.) became the school’s all-time career and single-season leader in block assists on Oct. 28, 2007 vs. Georgia. She now has 437 block assists for her career and looks to become the first player in school history to accumulate 500 or more block assists in a career. She needs 20 more block assists to move her into the SEC’s all-time top-10 career chart for block assists.
Nzenwa concluded the year with 174 block assists, which is the school’s all-time single-season record. Her 174 block assists in a single season ranks her eighth all-time on the SEC’s single-season block assists list.
SEC Single-Season Block Assists List
1. Stacey Samuels – 190 - (LSU) – 1985
T2. Amy Allison – 189 – (Arkansas) – 2005
T2. Stacey Samuels – 189 – (LSU) – 1986
4. Libby Windell – 186 – (Arkansas) – 1998
5. Sarah Blum – 185 - (Tennessee) – 2006
6. Jessica Field – 184 - (Arkansas) – 1999
7. Cassie Brill – 178 – (Georgia) – 1995
8. Queen Nzenwa – 174 (Kentucky) – 2007
9. Jennifer Haaser – 173 - (Arkansas) – 2001
10. Karla Crose – 172 – (Arkansas) – 2004
Nzenwa Third All-Time in Hitting Percentage
Nzenwa led the Southeastern Conference in hitting percentage for most of the season and finished the year with a .371 hitting efficiency. That mark ranks fourth all-time on the school’s single-season hitting percentage chart. After finishing last season in seventh-place all-time on UK’s single-season hitting percentage list, Nzenwa now holds two of the school’s all-time top-10 hitting efficiency marks.
For her career, Nzenwa ranks third all-time in school history with a .333 hitting percentage through three seasons with the Wildcats.
UK’s All-Time Top Five Career Hitting Percentage List
1. Marsha Bond (1980-83) -- .380
2. Eunice Thomas (1990-93) -- .342
3. Queen Nzenwa (2005-Pres.) -- .333
4. Lisa Bokovoy (1985-88) -- .329
5. Karolyn Kirby (1983) -- .311
UK’s Single-Season Hitting Percentage List
1. Lisa Bokovoy (1987) -- .389
2. Eunice Thomas (1991) -- .384
3. Marsha Bond (1983) -- .380
4. Queen Nzenwa (2007) -- .371
5. Lisa Bokovoy (1988) -- .358
6. Amy Kaplan (2005) -- .352
7. Queen Nzenwa (2006) -- .341
8. Lisa Dausman (1987) -- .336
9. Sissy Canfield (2003) -- .334
10. Eunice Thomas (1993) -- .331
Rumely Heads Into Junior Campaign In Fifth All-Time in Assists
Sophomore setter Sarah Rumely (New Palestine, Ind.) on Friday became just the fifth player in school history to eclipse the 3,000-assist mark for her career. In just two seasons, Rumely now has 3,004 career dishes and ranks fifth all-time at UK for assists.
She concluded the 2007 campaign with 1,516 assists, which ranks her fifth all-time on UK’s single-season assists list. Rumely broke the freshman school record for assists last season with 1,488 dishes. Jane Belanger still holds the sophomore school record for assists after tallying 1,664 assists during the 1991 campaign, which is also the school’s single-season record (all classes).
Through two seasons, Rumely is averaging 1,502 assists per season. Should she continue on that pace over her final two seasons, Rumely would end her career with 6,008 assists, which would break the school’s career assists record by nearly 600. Laura Linder (1987-90) holds the school’s all-time record with 5,425 career assists.
Rumely played every point of every match for the Wildcats during the 2007 campaign.
UK’s All-Time Top Five Career Assists List
1. Laura Linder (1987-90) – 5,425
2. Jane Belanger (1990-93) – 4,861
3. Leigh Marcum (2002-05) – 3,683
4. Irene Smyth (I1983-86) – 3,195
5. Sarah Rumely (2006-Pres.) – 3,004
UK’s Single-Season Assists List
1. Jane Belanger (1991) – 1,664
2. Jane Belanger (1993) – 1,590
3. Leigh Marcum (2003) – 1,561
4. Jane Belanger (1992) – 1,541
5. Sarah Rumely (2007) – 1,516
6. Laura Linder (1990) – 1,513
7. Sarah Rumely (2006) – 1,488
8. Laura Linder (1988) – 1,477
9. Laura Linder (1987) – 1,404
10. Irene Smyth (1986) – 1,362
Rumely Close to Breaking into Top 10 for Aces
Rumely is also close to breaking into the school’s all-time top 10 list for career service aces. Rumely and freshman right-side Lauren Rapp (Indianapolis, Ind.) tied for the team lead this season with 39 aces.
After finishing seventh on the school’s all-time single-season aces list a year ago with 54, Rumely now has 93 career service aces. She needs five more to break into the school’s all-time top 10 for assists. Terri Crabb (1996-99) is 10th all-time with 98 service aces.
Kentucky Tied for Second in SEC in All-Time NCAA Tournament Appearances
With its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history in 2007, Kentucky became one of only four SEC teams in league history to make nine or more NCAA Tournament appearances.
Florida made its league-leading 18th NCAA Tournament appearance this season, while LSU earned its ninth berth in school history this year. Tennessee also has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances in school history, but did not make the field this season.
The SEC continued its postseason standard of excellence this season as five league schools made the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season.
NCAA Appearances by SEC SchoolsFlorida (18) Kentucky (9) LSU (9) Tennessee (9) Arkansas (8) Georgia (8) South Carolina (6) Alabama (3) Ole Miss (2)
Florida Still Alive in NCAA Tournament Field
Following the first weekend of NCAA Tournament matches, the Florida Gators are still alive in the field as they prepare to host their second consecutive NCAA Regional.
Results of SEC Teams in the NCAA Tournament
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007
Florida 3, College of Charleston 0 (Gainesville, Fla.)
Friday, Nov. 30, 2007
LSU 3, New Mexico State 2 (Austin, Texas)
Florida 3, Oklahoma 0 (Gainesville, Fla.)
Michigan State 3, Kentucky 0 (Dayton, Ohio)
Brigham Young 3, Ole Miss 0 (Seattle)
Clemson 3, Alabama 1 (Clemson, S.C.)
Saturday, Dec. 1, 2007
Texas 3, LSU 0 (Austin, Texas)