LEXINGTON, Ky. – With two matches remaining in the regular season, the No. 11 Kentucky volleyball team will have a chance to win the Southeastern Conference title outright on Wednesday on the road at 7 p.m. ET when it meets with South Carolina for the second time this season.
UK is coming off clinching a share of its seventh title in program history and first back-to-back titles since 1987-88 after picking up its eighth straight sweep and 19th consecutive win on the road at Missouri on Sunday. The Wildcats posted their second-best offensive performance of the season with a .460 hitting clip against the Tigers.
UK is still at the top of the Southeastern Conference in hitting percentage at .304, which ranks third in the nation, assists with 13.12 and kills per set at 14.37, good enough for ninth in the country.
SCOUTING SOUTH CAROLINA
The Gamecocks enter the match having won four of their last five, coming up short in five sets at LSU on Sunday and sweeping Ole Miss on Friday. Mikayla Shields leads the USC attack with 3.30 kills per set while Mikayla Robinson has compiled a .310 hitting clip for the season. Both rank 10th in the SEC. Setter Courtney Koehler ranks fifth in the SEC in assists (9.93). Aubrey Ezell heads up the defense with 3.57 digs per set.
Kentucky captured a share of its seventh SEC Championship after sweeping Missouri, the first time its won the title in back-to-back seasons since 1987-88. With a win over South Carolina, Kentucky will win the SEC outright.
FASTEST TO 1,000, CHASING RECORDS
Leah Edmond passed Whitney Billings for first all-time in the 25-point rally-scoring era and and moved into the top four all-time in the win over Missouri. Molly Dresibach leads all-time with 1,737. Leah Edmond became the quickest Wildcat in team history to reach 1,000 kills. She did so in the first match of the season – the loss to No. 13 Creighton.
SEC WEEKLY AWARDS
Player of the Week (11/12)
Averaged more than 13 assists per set (13.17) in sweeps of Mississippi State and Alabama with 79 total assists and guided the Wildcats to a .335 hitting clip over both matches, including rally-scoring era program records for kills (62) and hitting percentage (.350) against Alabama. The Overland Park, Kansas, native also posted 2.67 digs per set and 1.5 kills per set for the week
Player of the Week (10/15)
Led both matches in assists and averaged 13.50 assists per set. The sophomore directed the UK offense to 16.86 kills per set and a .352 hitting clip over its two matches against Tennessee and Ole Miss. In addition to posting a career-high six kills against the Volunteers, the setter came up just one dig shy of her sixth double-double and reached a career-best four aces. In the four-setter, Lilley guided the UK offense to a .398 hitting percentage and 64 total kills.
Setter of the Week (11/19)
Averaged more than 13 assists for the week (13.17), 79 in total, and 2.67 digs per set. The sophomore guided UK to a .425 hitting clip for both matches, including it’s second-highest clip in 2018 on Sunday (.460) in the sweep of Missouri. She picked up her ninth double-double and second in three matches.
SEC Co-Setter of the Week (11/5)
Held match highs in assists for both sweeps and picked up 73 in total. The sophomore averaged more than 12 assists (12.17) per set and one block each frame in sweeps of Ole Miss and No. 11 Florida. She posted five blocks against Ole Miss, her most against a conference opponent this season and one short of her career best.
Setter of the Week (10/22)
Lilley picked up back-to-back double-doubles in week eight. The setter posted career-high digs in both matches with 16 against LSU and bettered the number with 19 against Texas A&M, which led to a 4.38 average per set for the week. Lilley accumulated 51 assists against the Aggies – her fifth match with 50 or more assists – and five blocks, which is just one from her career high. She posted 30 assists, two blocks and an ace in the win over LSU. Guided by Lilley, UK had four players average 2.00 kills per set or better.
Setter of the Week (10/1)
Totaled 83 assists (11.80 per set), 20 digs (2.86 per set), and five blocks. The sophomore put up her fifth double-double of the season and third in the last four matches after accumulating 45 assists and a career-high 16 digs against Missouri.
Co-Setter of the Week (9/24)
Put up her fourth double-double of 2018 – her second in as many matches – with 41 assists and 10 digs in the win over Tennessee.
Setter of the Week (9/4)
Named to the All-Tournament team for the Bluegrass Battle, helping guide the Wildcats to their best hitting percentage of the season in the sweep of Dayton (.451) and jump to the top spot in the conference. Her 57 assists in the four-set win against Charleston is her season high and ranks second in the conference only behind Morgan Kath of Mississippi State, who took five sets to grab 63 against Davidson. Averaged 12.25 assists per set with 1.25 digs per set and 10 total blocks.
Player of the Week (11/5)
Averaged more than five digs (5.17) per set for the week in sweeps of Ole Miss and No. 11 Florida, including helping UK’s defense suppress Ole Miss on the road with a match-high 22 digs, just one from her career best. The UK defense limited both Florida and Ole Miss to hitting clips below .199.
Defensive Player of the Week (11/12)
Averaged seven digs per set and posted only one reception error in 30 attempts in sweeps of Mississippi State and Alabama, led both matches in digs and her 20 digs against the Crimson Tide fueled UK to its second-highest dig total (61) in a three-set match in the rally-scoring era, just one from the program record.