LEXINGTON, Ky. – For an unprecedented fourth time in five seasons the Kentucky volleyball team will begin the season ranked among the top 25 teams in the country. The Wildcats begin the 2013 campaign slated as the No. 17 rated team it was announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association on Monday afternoon. It marks the first time in school history UK has a run of preseason rankings of four times in five years.
With the preseason ranking the Wildcats have now been among the ranked squads in 45 polls under ninth-year head coach Craig Skinner. This marks the fourth preseason accolade under Skinner, with UK also earning early season rankings in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
The Wildcats are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance for the third time in four seasons. UK charted a 22-11 overall record in 2012 and a 14-6 mark in Southeastern Conference action. The Blue and White have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the eight seasons under the direction of Skinner, becoming one of just 14 teams to achieve an eight-run stretch.
Kentucky returns five starters and five additional letterwinners from the 2012 squad. UK begins the 2013 season at the Long Beach State tournament. UK takes on Florida State, Illinois and the host 49ers in the three-day season-opening event.
UK will face four preseason ranked squads during the 2013 campaign in Minnesota, Florida, Louisville and Florida State. UK will also take on Pepperdine, Illinois, Long Beach State, and Texas A&M who are all receiving votes to the poll.
Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.