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(H/t Regina Rickert)
The University of Kentucky Volleyball team lost today (3-1) in their match against Michigan State (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 20-25). The lost against the Spartans marks the end of the girl’s season. The girls finished with a 22-9 record overall. This is the team’s third straight 20-win season.
Set 1: The Spartans took the largest lead of the set at 15-12, however the Cats score five of the next six to take the lead at 17-16. However, the soon fell behind again at 23-20. UK fell in the set, 25-22.
Set 2: The Cats once again fell behind by three at 8-5, but scored four straight to take a 9-8 lead. MSU once again took the lead at 15-12, but once more the Cats answered back with six straight points to lead 18-15. The run was a huge blow for MSU, who never recovered. The Cats took set 2, 25-21
Set 3: The Cats took an early lead at 13-8 after scoring eight of 11. However, the Spartans clawed back to bring it within one at 16-15, forcing a Kentucky timeout. MSU regained the lead at 20-19 and extended its lead to 23-20 after an attack error by Whitney Billings. The Cats never recovered and Michigan State took the set 25-22.
Set 4: MSU took off early, taking an 8-2 lead, but the Cats responded with three straight points to bring it within three at 8-5. The Cats remained behind the Spartans throughout the set. Although the Cats brought it within two at 19-17, it was not enough at the Spartans took the match 25-20.
Whitney Billings led Kentucky with 18 kills on a .204 hitting clip. She also had one ace and 13 digs. Junior Jackie Napper had an impressive 21 digs and Kelsey Wolf was right behind her with 9 digs.
Thanks for a great season girls! We all look forward to seeing you again next season.
After yesterday’s winter storm laid a sheet of ice over the whole state of Kentucky and postponed the start of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament in Lexington until today, the Kentucky volleyball team proved that a lay off would do nothing to derail their hopes of a deep run in the tournament, defeating Duquesne 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-17) today in Memorial Coliseum and pushing their record to 22-8 on the season.
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) December 7, 2013
The Volleyball Wildcats will take the court again tomorrow at 4pm in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament against Michigan State (22-11), who took down MAC Champion Ohio in straight sets in the early game today. A win tomorrow would likely send the Wildcats to Happy Valley to play against #2 ranked Penn State.
The No. 17 University of Kentucky welcomed three other teams to Lexington this weekend to participate in three matches of the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. An impressive eight SEC teams made it into the tournament this year, with three teams hosting. Overall in the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, the Cats are 14-14 all-time and 9-3 at home.
While the matches were delayed due to yesterday’s weather, the girls looked at it as a chance to get to cheer on UK Hoops as they took on Baylor yesterday.
Here video of it:
In his press conference, head coach Craig Skinner talked about his ‘it’s us or them’ mentality.
“This time of the year it takes it takes 10-15 % more concentration, passion, competitive energy and fire to advance in the tournament.”
Skinner said he believes the team has an advantage of experience on their side. While for some other teams it might be the first tournament, the NCAA tournament is nothing new to the Cats, which will help with the pre-match nerves. He also stated that another advantage the Cats have is the great competitiveness the SEC offers in Volleyball.
Skinner addressed the issue of the girl’s slow starts in first sets throughout the season.
“We did time drills this week in which the girls are on the clock and have to perform within five minutes to execute and we weren’t very good with it to begin with,” Skinner said. “But then they understood why we were doing it, and practice got better as we were going on. The sense of urgency to get things done is important when playing against good teams.”
Here is the schedule and details for round one:
Match 1: No. 20 Michigan State vs. Ohio, today at 2:30
Match 2: No. 17 Kentucky vs. Duquesne, today at 5
Lets look at who the Cats might face.
The Dukes claimed their first Atlantic 10 title ever this year, going 20-9 overall and 12-2 in league play. Duquesne is led by head coach Steve Opperman, who has been with the team for 16 years.
Last year the Wildcats swept the Dukes due in part to performances by Zan Morgan and Sara Schwarzwalder who each posted 10 kills. Duquesne played Michigan State earlier this year, where they lost 3-1.
No. 20 Michigan State
Michigan State went 21-11 in the regular season, with a 10-10 mark in Big Ten play. Overall, MSU finished seventh in league standing. The Spartans are led by Cathy George, who is in her ninth season.
This year MSI faced top ranked teams in 13 match-ups in which they won 5 against teams like Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska and Oregon. Overall, the Cats have only beat MSU once (1-4). The Cats lone win in the series (3-0) came when the teams last faced each other in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2009. Before that Kentucky was swept by MSU in the NCAAs first round in 2007.
Ohio set a 27-5 record, including 14-2 in league play, this season and took its eighth MAC Title. They are led by Ryan Theis, who is in his sixth season. This season, the Bobcats faced four ranked opponents, and beat two of them. Their top wins included an upset at Oregon and against Western Kentucky. Their losses were against Michigan and North Carolina.
The Wildcats are 6-1 against the Bobcats overall.
The team seems to be in high spirits. However, while Sara Schwarzwalder might feel this way…..
Kelsey Wolf made sure no one else on the team did.
You can get your tickets online at UKathletics.com or head to the Joe Craft Ticket Center. Students can get FREE tickets if they show their idea at Joe Craft.
Follow me on Twitter for updates: @Sealey_KSR
Hey guys! Sorry for tonight’s late start. I’m here at Wilder’s house sans Wilder to catch you folks up on the Kentucky Hoops game vs. Baylor thus far. This is the Hoops team’s first road match up against a ranked team of the season, and who better to play than Baylor. Last year, the Bears beat up on the Wildcats 85-51, and left a sour taste in the mouths of the team after Brittney Griner and her posse demolished our team in every aspect of the game. Tonight, the 5th ranked Hoops are looking for revenge. Baylor is ranked 9th in the country and the Hoops are coming off a big win against Louisville. With Odyssey Sims being the only returning starter from last year’s Baylor line up, the Cat’s deep bench should be able to run all over a young and inexperienced Bear team. Let’s start this off from where we’re at.
#5 Kentucky v. #9 Baylor
FINAL KENTUCKY 133 BAYLOR 130 What a game. What a game. With TWO 40+ scorers in the game (Odyssey Sims and Jen O’Neill) neither team gave up and after the outlook looked grim many times throughout the night, and Kentucky prevailed. 133 points is a single game scoring record for Kentucky, and O’Neill finished with 43 points. Second top 10 win for the Cats this week. 9-0. Wow.
LOL QUADRUPLE OVERTIME Alright but really this game is never ending.
AND HERE COMES TRIPLE OVERTIME I CAN’T DEAL
DOUBLE OVERTIME OH LAWD
OVERTIME After Kentucky built a double-digit lead,
Baylor Odyssey Sims came storming back to bring Baylor back, and after a tense final minute of play in which the refs went to the monitor several times to determine possession, neither team could score and we’re going into extra time…
2nd Half 3:16: Alright guys…I’m nervous. Sims has scored 15 of Baylor’s last 18 points and Kentucky has become stagnant on offense. She is literally unguardable and has 37 points. The Cats look confused and it’s gonna take some players to step up for the Cats not to squander away this game. Janee Thompson going to the free throw line… Baylor now leads 83-82.
2nd Half 6:57: Matthew Mitchell is ecstatic on the sideline as Kentucky has pulled away from Baylor in this second half and have amped up their defense against the Bears. Sims has 29, and probably no team in the country can stop her…but apart from her, BU has nothing. Let’s see if Kentucky can close this one out… Cats lead 79-73.
2nd Half 11:32: While the Cats look good on offense, the Bears are as Louisville’s Coach Walz says “pissing it away” on their offensive end. Baylor has missed countless easy baskets close in the paint, and Kentucky has taken advantage. Jennifer O’Neill is putting up some great looking shots and now has 19 in tonight’s game, two away from her career high. She is officially on #MinogueCareerWatch which has nothing to do with getting a job…..okay she was right, O’Neill now has 21. Kentucky trying to pull away from Baylor, leading 67-61.
2nd Half 15:20: More of the same to start the second half. Good for Kentucky though…Bria Goss just drew another foul on Odyssey Sims, and the Lady Bears star now had three for the game, much to Baylor’s coach Kim Mulkey’s chagrin. Freshman Makayla Epps has been amazing for the Cats tonight. She is perfect from the field on 4-4 shooting, and just stole the ball to complete a personal 5-0 run and regain the lead for Kentucky. The Wildcats are struggling in the paint, as DeNesha Stallworth and Samarie Walker have a combined nine points, but are not getting the looks Mitchell wants from his squad. Absolutely no player is on #MinogueDoubDoubWatch…and she’s pissed about it. Cats winning 56-54.
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 44 BAYLOR 44 Alright guys…after a rocky start (from KSR…not UK) Hayley and I are both here in attendance and streaming this game on ESPN3. In an offense-minded game, there has been nine lead changes and five ties as neither team could gain a significant lead. Junior Jen O’Neill is leading the charge for the Wildcats with 10 points followed by Kastine Evans with seven. As opposed to Kentucky’s “all team depth” where a plethora of players score, Baylor is extremely top heavy as forward Nina Davis is leading the team with 14 points followed by All-American Odyssey Sims with 13. Foul trouble was an issue for both teams, so look for a close, free throw determined finish to this one.
1st Half 3:28 - Makayla Epps showing off her three point shooting AGAIN!! Coach Mitchell commended her on her shooting during the last press conference, and I’m glad to see such consistency in a freshman. This game is extremely fast paced in the transition, and heavy on the offense. Let’s take a moment to pause in awe of these beautiful jerseys… OK moment over. Baylor has FOUR players with two fouls, one of which is Odyssey Sims. That being said, both Samarie Walker and DeNesha Stallworth both also have two fouls… yikes. UK 39- Baylor 36
1st Half 7:51- Finally in here. Kentucky and Baylor have been battling it back and forth so far in this game. Jennifer O’Neill is leading our Cats with eight points. Nina Davis has stepped it up for this Baylor team with nine of their 26 points thus far. Samarie Walker is asserting herself BIG TIME on the blocks with four rebounds, something that she has been spotty on the past few games. UK 28- Baylor 26
The first round of the NCAA Volleyball tournament has been postponed to Saturday due to the weather in the area. The details of time changes have not been released, but KSR will post the information as soon as possible.
*** UPDATE ***
First round matches will take place tomorrow at 2:30, Ohio and MSU, and 5p.m., Kentucky and Duquense.
The second round will take place now at 4 pm on Sunday.
Follow @Sealey_KSR for updates.
Ready to hear the most Kentucky giveaway ever? UK Hoops will give one lucky fan who attends their game against #2 Duke on December 22nd at Rupp Arena a stake in a racehorse. The winning fan will have the chance to be a part owner of a 3-year-old filly named Patinka, receive 10% of her winnings, and be able to travel to at least two of her races.
Fans who attend the game will receive one numbered card per person as their ticket is scanned upon entry. The winning card will be randomly drawn in the second half of the game. The winner must be present with his or her card to win a chance to be a part owner of a 3-year-old filly named Patinka. The winner will receive 10 percent of the owner’s winnings from any of Patinka’s races from Jan. 1, 2014 until Dec. 31, 2014 and also will receive travel expenses for two to at least one of Patinka’s races. The lucky winner will also be able to meet Patinka this winter before the 2014 race season at Dr. Brown’s farm in Versailles, Ky. Brown’s late wife, Christine, was Patinka’s breeder and cared for the filly through a difficult birth.
Sounds like a great deal to me. Tickets are still available at the Joe Craft Center ticket office, UKathletics.com, via the UK ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS, or www.ticketmaster.com (1-800-745-3000).
There is some big news coming from the Kentucky Women’s Track and Field team. In the January issue of “Track and Field News,” they rank the Kentucky women’s 2013 signing class as the 5th best in the country. The ranking is the highest in school history. This is Coach Floreal’s first full signing class since he took over the program in the summer of 2012. The success isn’t new to Floreal however. At Stanford, his women’s recruiting classes were top five in four of his six years there, being No. 1 overall in 2011.
Coach Floreal had a few words on the news. “This is a very small step for our program, but we need to keep perspective. Honors like this don’t mean much unless we prepare our young people for what’s ahead.”
Leading the historic class are transfers Leah Nugent, Dezerea Bryant, Kenyattia Hackworth, and Kendra Harrison. They have combined for 17 USTFCCCA (The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) honors, 16 individual college conference titles, and one junior college national championship before transferring to Kentucky.
With the season a little over a week away, big things are expected for the Women’s Track and Field team. Go Cats! (Information and photo from ukathletics.com)
Follow me on twitter: @Perk_21KSR
The University of Kentucky Volleyball team has accepted a bid as the No. 15 seed to participate in the NCAA Volleyball tournament. They will face the 20-9 Duquesne Dukes THIS FRIDAY at 7 p.m. in Lexington, Ky. Duquesne is the Atlantic 10 champions. In all, eight SEC teams were selected to the tournament.
Coach Skinner had the entire team and coaches over at his house to watch.
And this is what they looked like when hearing the news:
This marks the school’s ninth consecutive NCAA tournament and number 15 in school history. The nine consecutive tournaments is a feat only 14 other schools in America have achieved.
All of the tournaments have been reached in huge part thanks to Head Coach Craig Skinner. Skinner’s direction has given UK 20 or more win in six of the last seven years. The Cats have also spent an unprecedented school-record run of 31 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 25 of the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
In the NCAA tournament, 64 teams participate. Here’s what Kentucky’s road to the Sweet 16 looks like:
Lexington is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16. Kentucky will host the NCAA Regionals again on December 13-14. On December 13, semifinal matches will take place at 5 and 7 p.m., while the regional final will take place on December 14 at 4 p.m. The winner of the semi-final will advance to the Final Four in Settle, Washington.
The Wildcats are 14-14 overall in the tournament, including two trips to the Elite Eight. The Cats are coming off of back-to-back Sweet 16 losses. Last year Kentucky lost to Penn State in the Sweet 16, 3-0, in Louisville. In 2011, Kentucky lost to Texas, 3-1, in Lexington.
This year the Cats are 10-1 at home, including a 4-0 mark in SEC contests, a 3-2 over then-No. 4 Minnesota, and a five-set win over rival Louisville. Overall at Memorial, the Cats have a .720 winning percentage in 37 seasons. In Skinner’s nine years with the team, he has a .821 winning percentage.
Michigan State and Ohio University will play at Memorial at 5 p.m Friday. You can view the full bracket at: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/volleyball-women/d1
For tickets to the tournament visit UKAthletics.com/tickets. The Cats have posted record-breaking attendance marks in all four years it has hosted the NCAA tournament, so let’s make sure to continue that statistic.
For updates, follow me on twitter: @Sealey_KSR
The Kentucky Hoops team, and I mean ENTIRE team, fought their way back from being down 14 points in the first half to beat the Louisville Lady Cards 69-64. The Hoops team came out in the first half overly emotional, flat footed, and lackadaisical, while the Cards came out looking like the #4 team in the country. Our two post players, Samarie Walker and DeNesha Stallworth combined for only 3 points in the first half, and Walker had to take a considerable amount of bench time because of two early fouls. Sophomore guard Janee Thompson was our saving grace in the first half, and seemed to be our only player who had the mental mind set for a physically and emotionally challenging game. She had eight points in the first, and finished off with 13 points.
The first half performance from our Hoops team had me scratching my head… This team has played so well so far, and just came out completely rattled. I understand that our first game against a ranked opponent would have to be a little shaky, but it was down right ugly. At any given time, three of the five ladies on the court were visibly shaken. Coach Mitchell attributed the first half completely to a mindset that his team had. Good thing that mindset changed at halftime.
In a first half where none of our upperclassmen were stepping up, especially Stallworth or Walker, there was a sophomore… Janee Thompson put the team on her back in the first half, and showed up ready to play. Thompson has been one of the players on the team who has completely changed her mental game between this season and last season, and it is showing through with her more consistent game play. She completed the game with 13 points, as well as four assists.
There was a bit of deja vu during this game…there was a bit of deja vu during this game… In the first half, Makayla Epps came into the game when the team needed a little extra pep. She hit two back to back 3′s, giving Kentucky a six point boost, and lighting a spark. That was all we saw of her the rest of the game. Then, in the second half, we saw Bernisha Pinkett do the exact same thing. Her two 3′s gave us the lead, and we were never down again. Both ladies finished with those six points.
Coach Mitchell and DeNesha Stallworth both commented on the chat they had at halftime. Mitchell talked about how it is important to know how to talk to different players and take a different approach depending on who you’re talking to, but said, “there comes a time in a game like this where there is only one tone you can take.” Stallworth said that she recognized she was playing selfishly, but that hearing Coach Mitchell tell her at halftime to “help your team” made all the difference in her mindset.
Ahh Coach Walz, we meet again. My all time favorite sassy Coach provided us with another great heap of quotes this year. As you all may remember, last year he very angrily said, “I don’t care about the rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky.” This year, he made sure once again not to credit coaching or players, but instead went with this; “Back to back years we had a great opportuniity to win the game, but more or less WE PISSED AWAY THE GAME.” Let that sink in folks…
Sara Hammond, Shoni Schimmel, and Asia Taylor were delightful in the press conference, commending this Kentucky team for their second half performance. Hammond said, “I’m sure their coach challenged their post players at halftime,” and also that, “Stallworth is one of the top 30 players in the country.” Shimmel finished out their portion of questioning by stating, “losing to a rivalry school is never fun…we put this one behind us and move on.” Fingers crossed we don’t play them in the post season..
Coach Mitchell, as you can see above, was very pleased with this Wildcat victory. He believes that victories in games like this are the key to getting a good seed in the tournament. He commented that he has a “tremendous respect” for Louisville and their hard work. With a total of four games against top 25 teams this month, Kentucky is going to have to get consistent play from all of their starters for the full 40 minutes, but for now, they remain undefeated!!!
Next up for the Wildcats is 9th ranked Baylor. Baylor returns only one starter from last year, but will none the less be a tough opponent for the UK Hoops team. The men’s and women’s teams will play in Dallas this coming Friday, with the women starting the double header at 7:30. Before that game, the Hoops will have to work on their mindset, rebounding, and energy level, while I’ll have to work on getting Wilder declawed. #ouch
The Battle of the Bluegrass. Kentucky vs Louisville. Good vs Evil. Whatever you wanna call it, it’s here, and today showcases one of the top college women’s basketball games this season. The Kentucky Wildcats enter today’s game at #7 in the country, boasting an undefeated 7-0 record. The Cardinals of Louisville are 4th in the country and also undefeated at 7-0, coming off of a national championship runner up appearance just a season ago. Both teams have posted impressive numbers on both offense and defense this season, as the Cats have five players averaging double-digits in scoring. It should be an thriller as Memorial Coliseum is packed to the brim, and make sure to watch on Fox Sports. Let’s do this.
#7 Kentucky v. #4 Louisville
FINAL KENTUCKY 69 LOUISVILLE 64 What. A. Game. After being down by 14 points in the first half, Kentucky used a poised, focused and balanced 2nd half to take down the 4th ranked Louisville Cardinals at home, and push their record to 8-0 on the year. After failing to score a field goal in the first half, Stallworth came roaring back and finished with 16 points. I have never been so excited. Wow, just wow. Full postgame soon…
2nd Half 3:15: Hayley: Wilder has now dug his nails into a fixed stop in my thighs and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get rid of the scars. I should have had him declawed before this game. We’re under four minutes at this point and can’t seem to get the clock to work. My favorite sign today has been “Turnover’ville,” and if I could get the WiFi to work I would give you an exact number.. just know its enough for that name to be true. This could be our last post until the game is over, so I hope you’re tuned in to watch how this all plays out. Things over here are getting rowdy. Wilder just asked if it would be ok if he asked the ref to get out of his way… Here we go… UK62 UL58
2nd Half 4:35 Wilder/Hayley: MY GOSH. Kentucky has crawled back and now LEADS the Louisville Cardinals 51-45. Bernisha Pinkett came off the bench for her for first points of the game to hit two straight 3-pointers. I have never heard Memorial Coliseum so loud in my entire life…and not gonna lie…I almost cried. #whoops…sadly there is still game to play, and Louisville isn’t done… Kentucky continues to chip away at a team that just won’t seem to die. I want so badly to just visibly see a shaken Louisville team but it just isn’t happening. UK62- UL58
2nd Half 11:08: Hayley- It’s getting to be that point in the game where Wilder cannot contain himself, and posting updates gets harder. I can barely take my eyes off the game to look at the computer to type, which makes me wish I had worked a little harder at my WPM count in computer class…. We are FINALLY seeing the Hoops team that we know so well, and just in the knick of time to be honest. DeNesha Stallworth is finally getting into her rhythm and has seven points in what is a surprisingly low scoring game. Stallworth isn’t playing BAD per say, she just isn’t playing at the level we’re used to seeing her at. Hopefully she’ll hit a burst of energy and we’ll see her go off. 43UK-45UL
2nd Half 13:58: Wilder- Oh boy oh boy oh boy. It’s getting intense. Kentucky was able to survive a brutal stretch of basketball and hang around just long enough, and now the Cats are nipping at the heels of the Cardinals. Janee Thompson has kept her team in it and Stallworth finally recorded her first field goals of the game. Walker and Stallworth both have been much more focused this half. Kentucky is ON THE BOARDS and within two points!!! I can’t. I’m geeking. I can’t. Louisville leads 42-40.
2nd Half 16:41: Hayley- Second half is off to a much better start. We’re seeing a Wildcat team that has completely put the shortcomings of the first half behind them and have come out focused and ready to make some changes. Janee Thompson is pretty much carrying this Kentucky team with 12 points and is shooting 4-7 on field goals. What began as a very frustrating game to watch is slowly turning into something that we are having to try so hard not to cheer for. Coach Mitchell and his team made the adjustments at halftime, now it’s time to see how they pan out. UK33- UL38
HALFTIME KENTUCKY 27 LOUISVILLE 36 Wilder-Well, Kentucky played probably the worst half of basketball I have ever witnessed them play, and Louisville played pretty great…and we’re only down nine. Janee Thompson put the team on her back and led the Wildcats with eight points, as it was a monumental struggle for Kentucky to make even one shot. The crowd has been irate with the refs today’s game as the Cats were called for 12 fouls and Louisville took advantage with 10 points from free throw line. DeNesha Stallworth and Samarie Walker combined for just three points, and when that happens…yeah, that’s not good. Louisville has packed in their zone and not allowed UK anything in the paint. Luckily, Kentucky has 20 minutes to correct things.
1st Half 3:53 Wilder- Kentucky is desperately trying to chip into the Louisville’s lead, because as soon as they do Memorial might explode. The refs are…questionable at best and the Wildcats are notably frustrated at themselves after missing numerous easy break away layups. Plain and simple: Kentucky can’t catch a break. Everything is going the Cardinals way. They are getting every rebound, every free throw, and every shot. The Cats look defeated, you can see it in their face. Kentucky needs a quick attitude adjustment as Louisville has taken it to them early, and continue to lead 32-19.
1st Half 7:29 : Hayley- Alright here we go. A few quick subs and Coach Mitchell seems to given us a line up that is super focused and bursting with the energy we need so badly right now. Makayla Epps sees her first minutes of the game and has back to back three pointers to set the team off. The emotion in Memorial is coursing through my veins at this point, and I may have to take a trip to the stands here soon. Every single block is a foul, every single body to body contact is a foul… It’s a lot for a gal to handle. Louisville is forcing us to take the long shots, with 12 of our 16 points being 3′s. That’s ironic considering how last year’s game ended…. UK 16- UL 24
1st Half 11:57: Wilder- My heart can’t handle this. The atmosphere and environment in Memorial Coliseum is absolutely electric, and Kentucky is trying to weather this early storm from Louisville. Whistles are blowing nearly every possession as the refs are making sure to limit the physical play on both sides. Kentucky has not converted buckets inside like they need to early on, and the Cardinals have gotten some key offensive rebounds. The Cats have been able to get more stops on defense, but can’t buy a bucket on the offensive end. Louisville leads 17-7.
1st Half 15:49: Hayley- We’re off to a rough start here in Memorial with some shooting difficulties and some heavy whistles by the refs. They are absolutely not going to “let the girls play” today. Samarie Walker has already had to grab some early bench with two personal fouls early on, and four of Louisville’s starters also have each grabbed a foul. Louisville is getting whatever they want on offense, whether it be the rebound or just the uncontested shot. If Kentucky wants to stop this current run before it gets too late in the game, they’re going to have to stop the inside balls and knock down some shots. UL 15- UK 4
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
It’s here. The top 10 showdown between the University of Kentucky Wildcats and University of Louisville Cardinals that everyone’s been waiting for…well…since last time these two teams matched up. Both teams are undefeated. The Cats are ranked 7th, and the Cards are ranked 4th coming off of a national championship runner-up season a year ago. It’s gonna be a blood-bath. Are you ready?
The Cats have five players averaging double-figures in scoring, including Samarie Walker who is averaging a double-double, but they have yet to face as stout of a defense as that that Louisville brings to the table. The two teams are very similar with their constant pressure mentality and always rank near the top of the nation in defensive efficiency. The Cards also have four players averaging double-digits, including star guard Shoni Schimmel. It will need to be a colloborative effort from the Wildcats as Louisville will surely try to pack the paint in to guard All-American candidate DeNesha Stallworth from scoring anything inside. Guards Kastine Evans, Janee Thompson, Bria Goss, and Jen O’Neill will have to knock down their open opportunities from behind the arc to generate offense for Kentucky.
Coach Mitchell talked of the importance of today’s game for both programs by saying, “I think any time we get together in any sport it’s certainly important for our fans, so no matter what the records are I think it’s an important game, very important for us at Kentucky. Now, you put in the mix that both teams are really playing at a high level, highly thought of around the country. It’s still very early in the season, but where we are right now, both teams are in the top 10 and it’s an important game.”
Expect a fast paced, brutal, extremely physical game. With a packed house in Memorial, it’s sure to get loud, and maybe a little ugly…but isn’t that what this rivalry is all about? This begins a tough stretch for UK Hoops, who play four top 25 teams this coming month. I already have knots in my stomach….
Last season when these two teams matched up in Louisville, Kentucky overcame a 16 point deficit in the second half to rally, and defeat the Cardinals with last minute 3-point jumper from Janee Thompson. The Wildcats have won the past three meetings in the series, and lead it overall 31-18. Hayley and I will be here on KSR with a live diary starting at 1, so make sure to tune in as we fight the urge to cheer and throw things at Louisville head coach Jeff Walz.
It’s already been announced as a sellout, so unless you are carrying a ticket with ya, be sure to tune in to this “instant classic” on Fox Sports South, UK IMG Network, or online as Neil Price has the call. CATS.
@WilderTreadKSR Tweet Hayley and I if you’re at the game, or with any snide remarks you have about Louisville. Let’s do this.
The No. 17 University of Kentucky Volleyball team finished the season after falling 3-2 (11-25, 26-28, 25-22, 25-18, 10-15) tonight in a blood-tingling match against No. 6 Florida. The Cats rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth frame, but fell short of the victory. The Cats finished the regular season 21-8, 13-5 in the SEC.
Kentucky head coach, Craig Skinner, talked about the two teams he felt like he saw play for Kentucky tonight.
“I’ll coach the team that played the last three and a half sets any day of the week,” Coach Skinner said. “The team that played the first set, I have a big problem with. I feel a lot better about what we did as the match progressed. ” – @UKAthletics
Skinner also said he felt the upperclassmen really stepped up.
“Between now and the next time we practice, we have to learn what it feels like to play like we did, especially in sets three and four,” Skinner said. “Some good individual performances by Whitney and Zan, played very competitive all night. If those two seniors play like that, we’ll follow them anywhere.”- @UKAthletics
Set 1: UK fell behind early 5-4 after being tied and the gap continued to spread as the Gators rolled over the Cats with a 16-6 run. The Cats fell in the first set 25-11
Set 2: The Gators took an early lead once more, however the Cats tied the set ten times before taking the lead at 10-11. The set continued to tie until the Cats pulled out a two point lead at 16-14. The Gators came back and tied it several more times until the Cats led at 22-20. Once again Florida came back and tied it at 24-24. The set was tied at 26-26 before the Gators scored the final two points and won the set, 28-26.
Set 3: The Cats came out of the break and started out with a kill from Whitney Billings. However, they were behind early, 10-8, after hitting .133 in the set. After going back-and-forth, again, the Cats pulled out a 16-15 lead and continued the lead at 19-17, which forced a Florida timeout. Kentucky stretched their lead to four at 23-19 and the Gators never recovered. The Cats took the set 25-22, forcing a fourth set.
Set 4: After tying the game at 4-4, Florida went on a four point run to lead, however the Cats answered back with a four point run of their own. Kentucky continued to answer back with a 11-3 run to lead Florida 21-15. The Cats continued to run over the Gators and took the set 25-18, tying the match at 2-2 all.
Set 5: The Cats fell behind early, 8-4, but soon cut the deficit to three after scoring two straight at 13-10. Sadly that would be the last point the Cats scored, and Florida won the last set, 15-10, and won the match, 3-2.
Senior Whitney Billings went out with a bang. She had 20 kills on a .255 hitting percentage. On top of that, she also registered 18 digs. Zan Morgan at 11 kills and racked up 13 points for the Cats. Anni Thomasson had 16 kills on a .295 hitting percentage and 9 digs. Jackie Napper registered 20 digs and Morgan Bergren had 13 digs.
The girl’s post-season fate will be decided Sunday at 9:30 p.m. when the NCAA selection show will be aired on ESPNU. The NCAA Volleyball tournament welcomes 64 teams to the tournament and the Cats are expected to be selected to a school record ninth-consecutive NCAA Tournament. Memorial Coliseum will host the NCAA Regional’s on Dec. 13-14.
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