LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -- The Kentucky Volleyball team earned the No. 9 national seed for the 2019 NCAA Volleyball Championship, and will host the first and second rounds at Memorial Coliseum this weekend in Lexington.
"You're just always honored to get the chance to host an NCAA tournament,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “You get to the beginning of the year and there's expectations because of where you are seeded and ranked, but it's really hard to go through a season and do what you do and give yourself the best chance to do it so, just honored to have the chance to get after it with this team and a chance to do it on our home floor."
Also earning an at-large bid into the 2019 NCAA Lexington Regional was Michigan out of the Big Ten. Southeast Missouri State won the Ohio Valley Conference and earned an automatic qualifying spot, along with Northern Kentucky, who won the Horizon League’s auto berth.
Michigan and Northern Kentucky will play the first match on Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET. Kentucky and SEMO will follow at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Television and broadcast information for all three matches will be announced at a later time.
Kentucky earned its hosting spot by winning the Southeastern Conference for the third year in a row, and concluding the season with a 23-6 overall record including 16-2 in the SEC. Leah Edmond was named the SEC Player of the Year earlier on Sunday and junior libero was named the 2019 SEC Libero of the Year for the second-consecutive season.
Kentucky is making its program-record 15th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Wildcats are one of just 10 teams in the nation who have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 15 seasons. UK last hosted the first and second rounds in Lexington a season ago. All told, Kentucky has hosted the NCAA Tournament 13 times in program history including the opening rounds seven times under Skinner.
The first round opponent for Kentucky on Friday night will be the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks. SEMO is 23-10 overall and 12-4 in their conference. SEMO won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship in a 3-0 sweep against Morehead State. Junior middle blocker Maggie Adams and junior outside hitter Laney Malloy were named to First-Team All-OVC honors.
Michigan is 20-10 overall and 13-7 in the Big Ten Conference, with its last win coming against Indiana, 3-1. Senior outside-hitter Sydney Wetterstrom had a season-high of 20 kills and career-best .562 hitting percentage in that game. The Wolverines earned an at-large bid from the NCAA selection committee.
The Northern Kentucky Norse has a 19-12 overall record and 9-7 in Horizon Conference play. The team won the Horizon Conference Championship for the first time beating Milwaukee, 3-0. Sophomore outside-hitter Anna Brinkmann and redshirt freshman middle blocker Abby Kanakry combined for 20 kills in the championship game. This is the third NKU sport to advance to the NCAA Tournament since Northern Kentucky’s transition to Division I.
First Round – Friday, December 6th
Game 1 - 5:00pm – Northern Kentucky vs. Michigan
Game 2 - 7:30pm – Southeast Missouri vs. Kentucky
Second Round – Saturday, December 7th
Game 3 – 7:00pm – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2