No. 21 Kentucky Set for Road Trip to Alabama

No. 21 Kentucky Set for Road Trip to Alabama

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 21st-ranked Kentucky Wildcats volleyball team looks to bounce back on Friday evening, as the team will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide for the second time this season at 8 p.m. The match, set to take place in Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will be covered on SEC Network + by Hannah Chalker and Jordan Angeli and via radio on UKAthletics.com with Mandy Robbe on the call. 

The last time Kentucky faced Alabama was on Oct. 4, when UK pulled out a 3-1 win at home. The Wildcats had to fend off a late charge by the visiting Tide who rallied to take set three and prolong the match. Kentucky logged 13 total blocks on the night – nine of which sophomore Kaz Brown was involved in. Junior Anni Thomasson registered her fourth double-double of the season to aid the Wildcat cause with 13 digs and 11 kills.

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#21 Kentucky at Alabama
Fri., Oct. 23 – 8 p.m.
Foster Auditorium
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Match Notes: UK
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TV: SEC Network +
Radio: UKAthletics.com
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Last weekend, Kentucky extended its winning streak to nine straight with an exhilarating five set, 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) win on the road against Auburn before dropping its first match of the SEC season, 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 20-25) on Sunday to the No. 17 Florida Gators. 
Against Auburn, the Wildcats relied on an impressive defensive effort once again to earn the five-set win. The team registered 93 digs and 17 blocks – both season highs – to hold the Tigers to .144 hitting. Sophomores Ashley Dusek and Emily Franklin both contributed heavily to the effort with career nights. Dusek logged a career-best 40 digs during the night, setting a new program record for digs in a match and earning her SEC Player of the Week honors. Franklin had a career night with 10 blocks – including two solo stops. The Mesa, Ariz., native also added nine kills and four digs.
In the loss to Florida, Dusek had another impressive match for the Wildcats with a match-high 28 digs. Thomasson and senior setter Morgan Bergren both logged double-doubles for the Blue and White. Thomasson posted 11 kills and 12 digs, while Bergren registered 43 assists and 11 dug balls on the afternoon. Sophomore Darian Mack paced the attack with a team-best 14 kills, while Franklin notched a career-best 13 on a blazing .579 attacking percentage.
For all your information on the matchup with Alabama, read more below:

Dusek Takes Home POTW, DPOW Honors

The Southeastern Conference announced its weekly volleyball honors on Monday, Oct. 19 with Kentucky sophomore Ashley Dusek taking home Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week honors. The recognition marked Dusek’s second Defensive Player of the Week nod of the season and the first time in her career being named the league’s top performer.

Dusek put on an incredible performance during the week’s play, logging a jaw-dropping, league-high 7.56 digs a set, snagging 68 total digs over the span of nine sets. The sophomore’s monster weekend was highlighted by a record-breaking performance at Auburn on Oct. 16. The East Bernard, Texas, native broke a 22-year-old record, setting the all-time record for digs in a single match with 40 against the Auburn Tigers. Dusek followed up her 40 dig performance by logging 28 more in four sets against No. 17 Florida in the lone top-25 matchup in the SEC during the past week. The loss to the Gators snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Cats, including an unscathed record in league play.

Dusek Sets Program Record in Auburn Win

Sophomore libero Ashley Dusek logged a career-best 40 digs during the five-set match with Auburn on Oct. 16, setting a new program record for digs in a single match. The previous record was set 22 years prior when Ann Hall logged 39 against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Oct. 22, 1993. Dusek is one of just six players to record 40 or more digs in a single match this season in NCAA Division I and the only one from a major conference to do so. 

Bergren Closing In On Milestone

Senior setter Morgan Bergren looks to further cement her place in Kentucky volleyball history, as she continues to close in on the 3,500 career assists mark. The Muncie, Ind., native currently sits at 3,382 career assists, needing just 118 more to achieve the benchmark. Only four other Wildcats in Leigh Marcum (2002-05), Jane Belanger (1990-93), Laura Linder (1987-90) and Sarah Rumley (2006-09) have eclipsed the 3,500 assist mark. Additionally, only 20 active players in NCAA Division I have logged 3,500 or more assists in their career. 

Brown, Dusek in National Top 25

Sophomores Kaz Brown and Ashley Dusek find themselves among the top 25 in the nation in respective statistical categroies. Brown ranks in the top 25 in blocks and blocks per set. She ranks 16th in total blocks with 101 in the 2015 campaign, while her 1.44 per set is good for No. 18 in the nation. Dusek currently ranks 21st in the country in digs per set, averaging 5.09 per set. 

Dusek’s Digs Lead Conference

Sophomore libero Ashley Dusek now leads the Southeastern Conference in digs per set, both in all matches (5.09 digs/set) and conference-only statistics (5.38 digs/set). Dusek’s 356 total digs are a team best, with the East Bernard, Texas, native logging including 140 in SEC action.

Next Up:

Ole Miss Rebels (16-5, 3-4 SEC, 76 RPI)

Ole Miss has won three of its last five matchups, taking victories over South Carolina, Georgia, and most recently a five-set victory over  Arkansas. Ole Miss looks to guide the offense through Nakeyta Clair who boasts 3.17 kills a match on .417 hitting, the fourth best percentage in the league. Kathryn Cather is a threat when serving, with a SEC second-best 30 aces. 

Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 11-12. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Omaha, Neb., from the Lexington Region. This marks the third time in five seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

For the latest on the Kentucky volleyball team, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com

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