Sports

Actions

Wildcats face Murray State in NCAA Tournament’s First Round

Posted at 12:22 AM, Nov 30, 2018
(UK Athletics Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Ready to make its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the No. 10 seed Kentucky volleyball team will face the Murray State Racers inside Memorial Coliseum in a first-round matchup at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night.

UK is coming off capping another conference championship with an undefeated 18-0 record after defeating South Carolina in four sets on the road and sweeping Auburn at home.

UK is still at the top of the Southeastern Conference in hitting percentage at .305, which ranks third in the country, and assists with 13.11 and kills per set at 14.37, good enough for 10th in the country.

Tickets for the first and second rounds can be found online at UKathletics.com/NCAATickets. Volleyball season ticket holders will receive special access to purchase all-session tickets in advance of the general public on-sale date by logging in to My UK Account and selecting “Packages & Requests.” This exclusive presale will run from Sunday at 10 p.m. until Monday at 2 p.m. For complete ticket information, including prices and availability, visitUKathletics.com/NCAATickets.

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE

The Racers won all three Ohio Valley Conference Tournament matches to claim the title, sweeping Austin Peay in the final match. OVC Defensive Player of the Year Becca Fernandez heads up the Murray State defense with 4.99 digs per set. Rachel Giustino led the OVC with 4.02 kills per set while teammate Dacia Brown ranked second at 3.83.

UNDEFEATED IN THE SEC

Kentucky captured its fifth undefeated season, first since 1987 & 1988 (7-0), along with it’s most conference wins in program history (18).

BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPS

Kentucky captured a share of its seventh SEC Championship after sweeping Missouri, the first time its won the title in back-to-back seasons since 1987-88. The Wildcats then won the SEC outright in the win over South Carolina.

 

FASTEST TO 1,000, CHASING RECORDS

Leah Edmond passed Whitney Billings for first all-time in the 25-point rally-scoring era and moved into the top four all-time in the win over Missouri. Molly Dresibach leads all-time with 1,737. Leah Edmond became the quickest Wildcat in team history to reach 1,000 kills. She did so in the first match of the season – the loss to No. 13 Creighton.

CATS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT

UK is one of 10 teams that have made the tournament in each of the last 14 seasons alongside Penn State, Hawaii, Washington, Nebraska, Stanford, Colorado State, Texas, Southern California and Florida.

Under Skinner, the Wildcats have made a school-record 14-straight trips to the tournament. Kentucky has made 19 total trips to the tournament. The Wildcats are 13-6 in the first and second round matchups in the 13 times UK has hosted.

SEC AWARD DOMINATION

Leah Edmond – Player of the Year

  • UK’s first player of the year since 2008 (Sarah Rumely)
  • Only player alongside Rumely in UK history to be honored as freshman of the year and player of year
  • Three-time SEC Player of the Week this season

Gabby Curry – Libero of the Year

  • Fifth different player in program history to claim libero of the year — the award has been given to a Wildcat every year but one since 2011 with Ashley Dusek winning three years in a row (2015-17), Jackie Napper (2014) ad Stephanie Klefot (2011-12).
  • One-time player of the week and defensive player of the week

Alli Stumler – Freshman of the Year

  • UK’s third consecutive freshman of the year honor with Edmond and Lilley winning in back-to-back seasons
  • Two-time freshman of the week

Craig Skinner – Coach of the Year

  • His third coach of the year nod and first second-consecutive honor after winning co-coach of the year last season
  • Only won other coach has won in back-to-back seasons in conference history
  • Has directed his teams to 44 All-SEC honors, four SEC Freshman of the Year awards, ninen Libero or Defensive Player of the Year accolades and 15 All-SEC Freshman Team selections

All-SEC Team: Leah Edmond, Gabby Curry, Madison Lilley, Brooke Morgan

All-Freshman Team: Alli Stumler

Community Service Team: McKenzie Watson