Volleyball – No. 13 UK Takes Winning Streak to Tennessee, Hosts Auburn

Wildcats face border rival Tennessee before hosting Auburn on the SEC Network – LEXINGTON, Ky. – Riding an eight match winning streak, the Kentucky volleyball team travels to Tennessee Fridaybefore hosting Auburn Sunday in Memorial Coliseum. UK faces its border rivals Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. ET, while the Wildcats host Auburn at noon on Oct. 12 on the SEC Network. Sunday’s match will air on the SEC Network, with Thad Anderson and Jennifer Hoffman on the call. Both matches can be seen on the SEC Network +, available to SEC Network subscribers on SECNetwork.com and Watch ESPN. Additionally, Dick Gabriel and Mandy Robbe will call Sunday’s match on 1580 AM in Lexington, while Robbe and Katie Eiserman will have an audio broadcast from Tennessee on UKathletics.com. Live stats from both contests can be found on UKathletics.com. Kentucky (14-2, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) is one of two unbeaten teams in league play after home wins over Alabama and No. 21 Texas A&M. The Wildcats’ eight match winning streak is UK’s longest since 2011, when Kentucky won nine in a row. Tennessee (7-11, 0-4 SEC) is looking for its first league win of the season, while Auburn (9-8, 1-3 SEC) is coming off a 3-1 win over Georgia and a 3-2 loss to South Carolina. WILDCATS IN THE POLLS Kentucky is ranked 13th in the latest AVCA Coaches’ Poll for the second consecutive week, its highest ranking since 2012, when UK was No. 10. The Wildcats have been ranked in each of the last 24 polls, the third-longest streak in school history and the second-longest in head coach Craig Skinner’s 10 years at the helm. From 2008-2010, UK was ranked for a program-record 31 consecutive weeks. The current streak goes back to the final poll of the 2012 season, including every week in 2013, the sixth time in team history the Wildcats have been ranked in every poll in a season. Kentucky is one of three Southeastern Conference teams in the top 25. UK debuted at No. 8 in the first NCAA RPI ranking of the season, announced Oct. 6. Used to rank teams based on record and strength of schedule, UK is ranked highest among SEC teams and one of two conference teams in the top 10. SCOUTING TENNESSEE Tennessee is 7-11 in 2014 and 0-4 in conference play. The Lady Vols, who are 2-4 at home, opened SEC action with 3-0 losses at Arkansas and a Missouri before a 3-0 home defeat to No. 21 Texas A&M and a 3-1 loss to Alabama. The Lady Vols are led by Jamie Lea, who has 138 kills for a 2.71 kills per set rate. Lexi Dempsey has dished out 519 assists to go along with 22 kills and 119 digs. Kanisha Jimenez has tallied 162 digs with 107 kills and a team-high-tying 13 service aces, while Bridgette Villano leads the team with 212 digs. Iesha Bryant leads UT with 59 blocks. UT is coached by Rob Patrick, in his 18th season, has amassed a 358-196 record in Knoxville. Patrick has led the Volunteers to two SEC titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances, included eight of nine seasons from 2004-12. SERIES HISTORY VS. THE VOLUNTEERS Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Tennessee, 44-29 after a 3-0 sweep in Lexington last season. UK, who has won three in a row and four of the last five in the series, is 21-9 at home and 12-15 all-time in Knoxville. Under 10th-year head coach Craig Skinner, Kentucky is 9-8 vs. the Lady Vols. Last season, UK used a strong offensive performance and a dominating service game to sweep Tennessee 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-19) in the teams’ only meeting on Oct. 6. Kentucky hit .348 with 42 kills and held the Tennessee offense to 31 kills on a .139 hitting clip. Defensively, the Wildcats had 8.5 blocks as a team, while holding UT to just 3.0. The Wildcats also had a 45-31 advantage in digs and had 10 service aces to the Lady Vols’ one. SCOUTING AUBURN Auburn enters the weekend with a 9-8 record and a 1-3 mark in SEC action. The Tigers opened conference play with back-to-back 3-0 losses to No. 10 Florida and at No. 22 Texas A&M before they rebounded the following weekend for a 3-1 win vs. Georgia. The Tigers are 6-3 at home and 0-4 on the road and open the weekend at Missouri Friday before coming to Lexington. The Tigers are led offensively by Courtney Crable, who has notched 177 kills on .121 hitting and 23 aces, while Stephanie Campbell has 154 kills on .245 hitting. Alexa Filley has dished out 642 assists in addition to notching 190 digs. Breanna Barksdale has tallied 105 kills on a team-high .248 hitting along with a team-best 55 blocks. Alyssa Ivey leads the squad with 223 digs. Rick Nold is in his fourth season as head coach of the Tigers and owns a 56-51 record at Auburn. Nold owns a 228-149 career record after nine seasons at Jacksonville State, where he led JSU to three conference titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances in addition to being named the conference Coach of the Year on three occasions. SERIES HISTORY VS. THE TIGERS Kentucky owns a 33-10 advantage all-time vs. Auburn, including a 3-0 road win in 2013. The Wildcats are 13-3 all-time in Lexington and have won six in a row in the series and seven in a row at home. Kentucky has won 13 of the last 14 meetings after falling in four consecutive matches from 2004-06, UK’s longest losing streak in the series. In the Craig Skinner era, the Wildcats are 13-3 against the Tigers and 7-1 at home. In 2013’s lone meeting, the Wildcats downed Auburn 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-20) on Sept. 27, thanks to a spectacular defensive effort with 60 digs, which ranked as a three-set high in the Craig Skinner era. UK’s defense, which included 12.5 blocks, held the Tigers to a .102 hitting percentage. Kentucky was led defensively by Alexandra Morgan’s nine blocks and Jackie Napper’s 16 digs, one of three players to notch double-digit digs. UP NEXT: AT GEORGIA, VS. LSU Kentucky has another away-and-home weekend, traveling to Georgia on Oct. 17 before hosting LSU two days later onOct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Both contests will air on SEC Network +. LAST TIME OUT: UK DOWNS ALABAMA, SWEEPS NO. 21 TEXAS A&M UK secured a 3-1 win over Alabama on Oct. 3, led by double-doubles from Anni Thomasson and Shelby Workman. Two days later, Kentucky rallied late in the second and third sets to sweep No. 21 Texas A&M. Against Texas A&M, senior Lauren O’Conner paced the offensive attack with a match-high 16 kills and became the 15th player in program history to amass 1,000 career kills. Junior setter Morgan Bergren led the offensive effort that saw the Cats notch a .306 hitting percentage, while six players logged at least 1.29 kills per set. Bergren averaged 13.00 kills per frame and directed an offense that charted a staggering 16.7 kills per frame. Senior libero Jackie Napper continues to lead the defensive charge, with 31 digs in the two matches and 10 assists, including a season-high six against A&M. Freshman Kaz Brown averaged a team-best 1.14 blocks per set in addition to a career-high six kills against the Crimson Tide. BERGREN, NAPPER NAMED SEC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK Junior setter Morgan Bergren was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week and senior libero Jackie Napper earned Defensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 6. Napper earned SEC defensive honors for the third time in the last four weeks, while Bergren was named Player of the Week for the first time in her career. The duo helped guide UK to wins over Alabama and then-No. 21 Texas A&M, teams that entered the we
ekend with a combined 23-5 (.821) record. Bergren directed the Wildcats to a .306 attacking percentage for the weekend with six players averaging 1.29 kills per set or better. Bergren had 43 or more assists in both victories and added 11 on a blistering .579 attacking percentage. She did not commit a single error in 19 attacking attempts. UK posted 54 kills in the win over Texas A&M which marked a three-set record in the 25-point rally scoring era. For the week, Bergren assisted on an average of 13 of UK’s 16.70 kills per set. Napper averaged 4.43 digs per set in the two matches and logged 15 or more digs in each contest. In addition to leading the UK defense, Napper contributed offensively with 10 assists in the two matches – including a season-high six against the Aggies. RECORD WATCHING – Head Coach Craig Skinner became UK’s all-time winningest coach with his 210th victory Sept. 13 vs. Georgia Southern. – Senior Jackie Napper has 1,263 career digs, second in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and fourth in the all-time top 10. Sophomore Anni Thomasson is 10th in the modern era with 418 career digs. – Senior Lauren O’Conner, who leads all current SEC players with 1,014 kills, is became the 15th Wildcat to notch 1,000 career kills on Oct. 5 vs. Texas A&M and is second in program history in the rally scoring era. O’Conner is also second in attack attempts with 2,819 and fourth with 1,216.5 points. – Junior Morgan Bergren is third all-time in the rally scoring era and 10th in UK history with 2,025 career assists. Napper is sixth in the rally scoring era with 222 career assists. In the single season record books, Bergren’s 662 assists in 2014 is seventh in the modern era. – O’Conner is fourth in the rally scoring era with 38 solo blocks, seventh with 215 total blocks and eighth with 177 block assists. Junior Sara Schwarzwalder is sixth in the rally scoring era with 232 total blocks and sixth with 216 block assists. – Schwarzwalder is fifth in the rally scoring era with a .285 attacking percentage. – O’Conner is third in the rally scoring era with 76 aces. – Napper is fourth in sets played with 419 and O’Conner fifth with 403 in the rally scoring era. Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.

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