(h/t Regina Rickert)
#21 UK Volleyball started the Eight-Annual Kentucky Classic today at noon at Memorial Coliseum. The team recently dropped in the polls from #17 after starting the season with losses to Florida State and Illinois.
The Cats are 1-2, but are coming out of one of the most prestigious tournaments in Women’s Volleyball this season. All the teams they played were either ranked or had received votes in the preseason rankings.
Four teams will participate in two days of matches. Kentucky has won the classic 6 times and placed once. The Cats are also on a 12-match winning streak in the classic. Teams competing with the Cats this year include: VCU, Liberty, and ETSU. Here is the classic line-up:
Friday, Sept. 6
12 p.m. – VCU vs. Liberty
5 p.m. – ETSU vs. Liberty
7 p.m. – Kentucky vs. VCU
Saturday, Sept. 7
11 a.m. – Kentucky vs. Liberty
1 p.m. – ETSU vs. VCU
7 p.m. – Kentucky vs. ETSU
Scouting the Opponents
Virginia Commonwealth University started their season 3-0 after attending the IUPUI Hampton Inn Invitational this past week. They swept Florida Gulf Coast, defeated Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (or IUPUI) 3-2–who has a school name that long?!–, and then beat Illinois State 3-1.
While their perfect record is a bit intimidating, their laid back schedule leaves little impression. UK has a perfect 2-0 record against them. Those two games took place in 2010 (3-0) and way back in 1978 (2-0). VCU has a new coach this year, Jody Rogers. Rogers is the first coach in program history to start 3-0, so we can at least say VCU has made a change for the better.
Player to watch: Romana Kriskova. In the IUPUI tournament Kriskova averaged 4.42 kills per set and hit .278. She was named Tournament MVP.
Liberty has had a rough start to the season, as they started 0-3 at the NIU Invitational. They lost to #23 Ohio State, Northern Illinois, and Green Bay. The Flames finally got their first win against Georgetown Tuesday. The win against the Hoyas was the 700th win in program history. (Congratulations).
Kentucky Women’s Volleyball and Liberty have NEVER met. In fact, Kentucky has never played any of the current volleyball teams in the Big South Conference. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
Player to watch: Gabrielle Shipe. The junior averaged 5.22 digs per set at the NIU invitational and was named to the All-Tournament team.
East Tennessee State University started its season 0-2, but then posted back-to-back wins against East Carolina and Furman making their record 2-2. The first two matches they lost to UNC Greensboro 3-2 and Wake Forest 3-1. They then went on to sweep ECU, and later at home swept UNC Greensboro as well.
Their coach Lindsey Devine is only 5 wins away from being the most winningest coach in program history. She is in her 11th year and at 167 wins. If history is a factor it doesn’t look like she’ll get one against UK, however. The Cats are a perfect 5-0 against ETSU, and have only lost 2 of 14 sets played between them. The two teams haven’t met since 2004.
Player to watch: Khadijah Wiley. Sophomore Wiley racked up 21 kills and 12 blocks with a .364 attack percentage at the Deacon Invitational. She was named to the All-Tournament Team.
So head on over to Memorial to watch a day of Volleyball, or at least go to watch the Cats play tonight at 7! It is sure to be a great tournament. The girl’s said they play better with a crowd, so the more the merrier!
Parking around Memorial isn’t accessible today until after 2:30 because of classes. You need to park at Parking Structure #5 by Kennedy’s Bookstore.
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