LEXINGTON, Ky. – Wednesday marks the first time in school history that an ESPN telecast volleyball match will air live from Memorial Coliseum when the seventh-ranked Kentucky Wildcats host Tennessee beginning at 7:04 p.m. ET. The match will air live on ESPNU and air as a Campus Connection match.
The Wildcats (19-1, 9-0) have enjoyed a successful start to the first slate of conference matches charting a perfect 9-0 clip. Wednesday’s match with Tennessee marks the final match of the first half of the conference schedule.
UK has also maintained an incredible 8-0 record at home. UK is 48-7 at Memorial Coliseum in the last four seasons combined.
Tennessee enters the date with the Wildcats with a 14-5 overall clip and a 7-2 mark in league play. The Lady Vols losses in conference action have come at the hands of No. 10 Florida and No. 20 LSU. Tennessee is led by All-SEC player Nikki Fowler who averages a team-best 3.29 kills per set. Tennessee as a unit puts down 12.75 kills per frame on a .217 hitting percentage. The Lady Vols use a two-setter rotation and both have notched over 330 assists on the year. Tennessee is a good blocking team that generates 2.67 blocks per frame led by Farren Powe’s 1.28 per set. Kentucky leads the all-time series 40-24, but the two squads split a year ago with each team picking up a road victory.
Freshman Stephanie Klefot was honored by the conference office as the Freshman of the Week. It was the fifth time this season a UK player has earned a weekly honor from the SEC. Klefot’s achievement lists her among four other current Wildcats to earn an SEC Freshman of the Week honor in their first seasons.
The Blue and White’s offense has been a force in UK’s torrid start. Kentucky ranks among the nation’s leaders in kills per set (14.71), hitting percentage (.292) and assists per frame (13.62). All of those numbers also lead the conference. Senior setter Sarah Rumely ranks ninth nationally while leading the SEC with an average of 11.78 assists per set. Junior outside hitter Sarah Mendoza is 27th in the nation and tops in the league with 4.25 kills per stanza.
Rumely directed UK’s offense to a near .400 average in road wins over Mississippi State and Alabama last week. UK used a .393 attack percentage and tallied a blistering 99 kills for a 16.50 kill per set average. Five UK players averaged over 2.00 kills per set – and all five of those players hit over .340 for the weekend in UK’s two sweeps.
Five Wildcats have achieved career-highs in kills this season – a true testament to the offensive firepower of the 2009 edition of head coach Craig Skinner’s squad. Juniors Blaire Hiler (14) and Sarah Mendoza (26), and sophomores Ann Armes (15), Gretchen Giesler (11) and Becky Pavan (16) have all charted tremendous offensive outputs this season in reaching career-best highs.
Wednesday’s match against Tennessee also marks one of the final opportunities for students to receive a wristband to the student only men’s basketball practice on Friday. The first 2,000 fans at the UK vs. Tennessee volleyball match will receive a wristband and access to the basketball practice on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Students from the University of Kentucky will assist with the production of the ESPNU telecast on Wednesday. A crew of more than 10 students will serve in a variety of production roles, such as play-by-play announcer, reporter, field producer, graphics assistant, audio assistant and camera operator.
Working with students, professors and athletic departments, ESPNU Campus Connection incorporates student-generated content across multiple ESPN platforms since a basketball game Jan. 9, 2008, at the University of North Carolina. Nearly 100 schools now participate in ESPNU Campus Connection.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date news, highlights and features from the Kentucky volleyball team.
Promotions for the Tennessee Match
· The first 250 UK fans will receive a FREE UK pom-pom
· The first 50 UK students will receive a FREE hot dog
· The first 2,000 UK students will receive a FREE “MEMBER OF THE BIG BLUE NATION” wristband, good for the student-only men’s basketball practice on Oct. 23. MUST show a UK student ID to receive the wristband.
· Junior Wildcat Club Night
· UK pep band and drumline will be performing