LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off a record-setting performance and its 17th consecutive win, the No. 11 Kentucky volleyball team will be back in action on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET at Arkansas in its first of three matches in the upcoming road swing.
The match will be broadcast live on ESPNU from inside Barnhill Arena.
UK is coming off another weekend of sweeps at home, this time over Mississippi State and Alabama. The Wildcats put together a staunch offensive performance against the Crimson Tide, totaling 62 kills, which is a program record for a three-set match in the rally-scoring era. UK also posted 61 digs in the match, just one shy of another program record in the rally-scoring era. Lead Edmond matched her own program record of 21 kills in a three-set match in the rally-scoring era in the win over Alabama. Madison Lilley was named SEC Player of the Week while Gabby Curry picked up defensive player of the week for their performances averaging more than 13 assists per set and seven digs per set, respectively, for the week.
UK is still at the top of the Southeastern Conference with a two-match advantage, leading the league in hitting percentage at .296, which ranks sixth in the nation, assists with 12.98 and kills per set at 14.23, good enough for 14th in the country.
The Razorbacks enter the match having lost three of the their last four with their one win coming in a sweep at home against Georgia and falling short against Auburn in three, and Florida and LSU in four. Hailey Dirrigl leads the Arkansas attack, coming in at seventh in the conference in kills at 3.6 per set, while libero Okiana Valle heads up the defense with more than five digs per set to lead the SEC.
MADISON LILLEY NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK, CURRY DEFENSIVE POW
For the second consecutive week, a Kentucky volleyball player was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week after sophomore setter Madison Lilley received the conference’s top weekly award in addition to her setter of the week honor. Classmate Gabby Curry was also named defensive player of the week after being the league’s player of the week last week.
Lilley, who was named co-setter of the week last week, hauled in her seventh SEC weekly award of the season and second player of the week honor in 2018 for her performances in sweeps of Mississippi State and Alabama. The sophomore averaged more than 13 assists per set (13.17) for the week with 79 in total 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. In UK’s sweep of Alabama, Lilley grabbed her eighth double-double of the season and matched her own top mark in the conference for assists in a three-set match with 45 for the third time this season. It was the 13th time she’s reached at least 40 assists in a match in 2018 and the second in the last three matches. She now ranks first overall in the conference in assists at 11.11.
While UK’s offense was hot all week, it was Curry stepping up again as the defensive player of the week. The sophomore followed her stellar week with another outstanding week of play, averaging seven digs per set and posting only one reception error in 30 attempts. Curry led both matches in digs and came up with 22 in the sweep of Mississippi State, which is just one shy of her career best and ranks fourth among three-set matches in the SEC this season. 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.
GABBY CURRY NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the first time in her career, sophomore libero Gabby Curry was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. It’s UK’s fourth player of the week honor this season and her first career SEC weekly honor while sophomore setter Madison Lilley received her then 15th weekly award and sixth of the season as the SEC Co-Setter of the Week. The duo teamed up for a pair of honors after spectacular performances in sweeps over No. 11 Florida and Ole Miss.
Curry averaged more than five digs (5.17) per set for the week, including helping UK’s defense suppress Ole Miss on the road with a match-high 22 digs, just one from her career best. After her second-best defensive effort of 2018, the Buford, Georgia, native has now combined for 45 digs (7.5 per set) against Ole Miss this season. She set her career-high of 23 in the sweep of the Rebels at home last month. The UK defense limited both Florida and Ole Miss to hitting clips below .199 and has done so to the last 14 opponents. Curry has posted at least 12 digs in 10 of the last 12 matches and ranks fourth overall in the SEC in digs per set with 4.21, third among conference matches with 4.76.
Lilley grabbed her sixth SEC weekly award of the season after she held match highs in assists for both of this week’s sweeps and 73 in total. The sophomore averaged more than 12 assists (12.17) per set and one block each frame. Lilley came just one dig shy of her eighth double-double in the win over Florida, but her five blocks against Ole Miss matched her most against a conference opponent this season and was only one short of her career high. With her 40 assists in the triumph over Ole Miss, the Overland Park, Kansas, native has posted 40 or more dishes in 11 matches this season and totaled at least 30 in 11 of the last 12. Lilley is ranked second overall in the SEC in assists per set at 10.96 and first among conference matches with 11.29.