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No. 7 UK Travels To Alabama

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Britney Howard - UK Athletics Britney Howard - UK Athletics

 The No. 7 Kentucky volleyball team (20-3, 11-1 SEC) travels to Alabama (16-10, 4-8 SEC) on Wednesday for a midweek matchup live on the SEC Network. First serve is set for 8 p.m. ET inside Foster Auditorium with Courtney Lyle and Jenny Hazelwood on the call.

Kentucky and Alabama met earlier this season, with UK coming out with a 3-1 win inside Memorial Coliseum. UK is currently No. 4 in the latest Rating Percentage Index, while the Crimson Tide are No. 54.

After Wednesday, the Cats will be back in action at Auburn on Sunday. First serve is set for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Scouting the Opponent – Alabama

Alabama is 16-10 overall this season and 4-8 in the Southeastern Conference, with league wins over South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Arkansas. Kentucky faced the Crimson Tide earlier this season inside Memorial Coliseum, where the Cats won in four sets. Avery Skinner led Kentucky with 19 kills, while Madison Lilley dished out 54 assists and produced 11 digs in the victory.

The Crimson Tide are led by Ginger Perinar at 3.04 kills per set, but she has only appeared in 20 matches. Leah Lawrence and Christine Jarman have played every match this season and average 2.42 and 2.40 kills per set, respectively. Meghan Neelon averages 10.1 assists per frame while Bama has hit .186 as a team this season.

Bouncing Back in a Big Way

Coming off a loss to Florida, UK bounced back with a 3-1 win over South Carolina. Leah Edmond led the way with her fifth double-double of the season after posting 19 kills and 11 digs, and also recorded a career-high five aces in the win. Edmond is the first Wildcat to record five aces this season, and the first since Anni Thomasson did the same at Tennessee in 2015.

Already in the Season Record Book

Leah Edmond’s 359 kills this season is already the ninth-best single-season kill mark in the 25-point rally scoring era. Her .313 season attacking average is the ninth best in a single season.

Madison Lilley’s 980 assists this season are already the 10th most in a single season in the 25-point rally scoring era.

Record Crowd

When Kentucky hosted Florida on Nov. 1, the Big Blue Nation showed up in a big way with 5,236 fans in attendance for the top-ranked matchup. The crowd was the third largest in Memorial Coliseum history, and the largest at Memorial in the Craig Skinner era. The Wildcats have had three other matches in front of 5,000 or more people. Kentucky lost the match, 3-0. 

14 Straight Wins

UK won 14 straight from Sept. 9 to Oct. 29. Emily Franklin was on fire, hitting .495 while averaging 2.29 kills per set and 1.22 blocks per frame in the streak. Leah Edmond led the team with 4.20 terminations per set and was stellar defensively as well, with 2.02 digs per frame. Kentucky as a team has held its opponents to a .182 attacking percentage in that time and just 11.3 kills per set.  The winning streak was Craig Skinner’s longest as a coach. UK had a 13-match winning streak last season.

Efficient Terminator

Senior Emily Franklin leads the team in attacking percentage at .424, and has been incredibly efficient this season. She has hit .500 or above 10 times, and had an 11-match streak where she hit over .400 from Sept. 9 to Oct. 15.

Highest Ranking In the Craig Skinner Era

The Wildcats reached No. 6 in the nation for three weeks between Oct. 16-30. Kentucky coach Craig Skinner had never had the program ranked higher. UK’s highest ranking ever is No. 5, and the Wildcats hadn’t been ranked No. 6 since 1993. The team has been ranked for 110 weeks, and currently has appeared in the poll for 20-consecutive weeks.

Kentucky in the National and SEC Rankings

Freshman Madison Lilley is No. 8 in the nation in assists per set at 11.81. She leads the SEC, while Rachel Rippee of Arkansas is second.

Leah Edmond is currently No. 19 in the nation in kills per set at 4.33 and second in the SEC, behind the national leader, Pilar Victoria of Arkansas.

Emily Franklin is No. 12 in the nation in hitting percentage at .424. She’s second in the league behind Rachael Kramer of Florida.

As a team, Kentucky is sixth in the nation in hitting percentage at .313. UK is the highest-rated SEC team in that category. UK sits at No. 6 in kills per set at 14.71, also the best among the league.

Chasing Records

Kaz Brown is climbing the 25-point rally scoring era record book in multiple categories. The Waterloo, Iowa, native is currently in first in solo blocks (56), block assists (467) and total blocks (523). The senior is also fifth in kills at 917 and ninth in attack attempts at 1,884.

Emily Franklin is currently ninth in block solos with 31, third in blocks assists at 332 and third in total blocks at 363. Franklin also has the fifth-highest attacking percentage in the rally scoring era at .334.

Darian Mack is moving up the 25-point rally scoring era record book in kills and points. Mack is ninth all-time with 774 kills and seventh in attacks with 2,045. In total points, she is in 10th with 879.0.

Ashley Dusek is currently third in the rally scoring era with 1,386 digs and ninth in assists at 227.

Leah Edmond is eighth all-time in kills at 809.

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