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Kentucky volleyball sweeps SEC honors

Craig Skinner (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four Kentucky volleyball players earned All-Southeastern Conference honors on Sunday, headlined by Leah Edmond winning Player of the Year, Gabby Curry claiming Libero of the Year and Alli Stumler picking up Freshman of the Year. Edmond and Curry alongside Madison Lilley and Brooke Morgan made the All-SEC Team while Stumler made the All-Freshman Team. Head coach Craig Skinner was named Coach of the Year, grabbing the honor in back-to-back seasons.

“With the success of our team this year, we are honored for the recognition of these players,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “We had so many great individual performances this year, which led to the championship. The power of our 15 players came through with these awards.”

Edmond garnered Kentucky’s first player of the year honor since 2008 when Sarah Rumely earned the nod. The Lexington, Kentucky, native has now been honored as the SEC Freshman of the Year and the SEC Player of the Year during her career, matching Rumely as the only players in program history to achieve the feat. Edmond has been named to the All-SEC team in every season of her career.

Edmond is a three-time SEC Player of the Week this season and leads the UK offense with 4.61 kills per set, ranking second in the SEC and 14th in the country. In 2018, she became UK’s all-time kills leader in the 25-point rally-scoring era with 22 terminations against Missouri, tied for the most in a three-set match in the SEC this season. The junior outside hitter has eight matches this season with 20 or more kills, has hit for .297 in total and has posted three double-doubles. She’s guided the Wildcats to a league-best .305 hitting percentage while the team also ranks first in kills at 14.37. The Wildcats have pieced together a 21-match win streak and finished undefeated in the SEC. behind She’s hit above .300 in 14 matches this season.

Curry became the fifth different player in program history to claim SEC Libero of the Year honors. The award has been given to a UK player every year but one since 2011 with Ashley Dusek winning three years in a row (2015-17), Jackie Napper in 2014 and Stephanie Klefot (2011-12).

Curry averaged 4.35 digs per set for the season and picked up SEC Player of the Week honors as well as defensive player of the week honors earlier this season. Heading up the UK defense, the sophomore has eclipsed the 20-dig mark eight times this season and has yielded just 18 serve-receive errors on 509 attempts for a .965 reception percentage.

Stumler picked up UK’s third consecutive freshman of the year honor with Edmond and Lilley winning back-to-back in each of the last two seasons. A two-time SEC Freshman of the Week award winner, Stumler has 12 matches this season with double-digit kills and averages 2.37 kills per set and 2.18 digs per set. She’s posted three double-doubles and her career-best 15 kills three times this season while compiling a .966 reception percentage as well with just 15 errors on 439 attempts.

Lilley made the All-SEC team for the second time after being named SEC Setter of the Week six times and Player of the Week three times over the course of the 2018 season. Leading the SEC in assists with an 11.21 average that also ranks in the top 25 in the nation, the setter has posted nine double-doubles and 40 or more dishes 14 times this season. She’s guided the team to a league-best .305 hitting clip and a 13.11 assist average while also ranking first in kills at 14.37. She’s also averaged 2.47 digs per set while leading the team in aces with 0.33 per set.

Brooke Morgan picked up her first All-SEC Team selection. She was named to the All-Freshman Team her first season. The senior has posted 2.28 kills per set and ranks second in the league in hitting percentage at .399, which is good enough for 13th in the nation. Having accumulated nine matches with five or more blocks during her senior campaign, Morgan has also swung above .400 on 10+ attempts in 15 matches this season.

Skinner claimed his third SEC Coach of the Year award and first second-consecutive honor after winning Co-Coach of the Year last season. Skinner has led UK to back-to-back SEC titles, as well as an undefeated conference season for the first time since 1987-88. UK went 11-4 against the AVCA top 50 this season and holds an RPI of nine. Skinner has directed his teams to 44 All-SEC honors, four SEC Freshman of the Year awards, nine Libero or Defensive Player of the Year accolades and 15 All-SEC Freshman Team selections. The Wildcats have won at least 20 matches in eight straight seasons under the direction of Skinner.

Kentucky has earned the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UK will learn its draw at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 tonight. Fans can watch the selection show with the team inside of Memorial Coliseum. Admission is free and the doors open at 8 p.m.

The All-SEC Team, which consists of 18 student-athletes, along with the eight-member All-Freshman squad were chosen by the league’s 13 coaches.

 

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