MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Ready to make its second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance, the No. 10 seed Kentucky volleyball team will face the Nebraska Cornhuskers inside Maturi Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota at 2 p.m. ET on Friday on ESPNU.
UK is coming off back-to-back sweeps in the first and second rounds at home in Memorial Coliseum against Murray State and No. 12 Purdue.
Kentucky and Nebraska met in the NCAA Regional Finals a season ago before the Cornhuskers went on to win the National Championship. With a win, UK will match its longest win streak in program history of 24 (1987).
UK ranks in the top 10 in the country in hitting percentage at fourth with a .305 mark for the season and eighth in kills per set at 14.50. The Wildcats also come in at 20th in assists with 13.22 per set. Senior Brooke Morgan ranks sixth in the nation in hitting percentage with a stout .409 clip while junior outside hitter Leah Edmond ranks 13th in kills (4.63 per set) and sophomore setter Madison Lilley is 14th in assists with 11.33 per set.
The Cornhuskers finished tied for third in the Big Ten and swept both opening rounds against Hofstra and No. 24 Missouri. Mikaela Foecke leads the offense with 3.74 kills per set and a .317 hitting clip while Kenzie Maloney heads up the defense with 4.07 digs per set. Setter Nicklin Hames posts 10.32 assists per set.
Kentucky continued to rack in awards, this time in the form of AVCA All-Southeast Region. Sophomore setter Madison Lilley was named the Player of the Year, while head coach Craig Skinner was tabbed the Coach of the Year. Lilley was joined on the region team by Leah Edmond, Brooke Morgan and Gabby Curry. Alli Stumler was an honorable mention recognition. This marks the second straight season the Wildcats hauled in coach of the year honros and player of the year accolades. Edmond was the player of the year a season ago, while Lilley was the freshman of the year.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Kentucky is making its second straight and fifth appearance under Craig Skinner in the NCAA Regional Semifinals. UK also advanced to this round in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2017. This is the ninth time in program history the team will play in the round of 16. The matchup in Minneapolis is the second time in program history the team will play in Minnesota during the NCAA Tournament. Then unseeded UK last made an appearance in the NCAA Regional Semifinals against No. 3 seed Florida State and lost in a heartbreaking five-set match.
UNDEFEATED IN THE SEC
Kentucky captured its fifth undefeated season, first since 1987 & 1988 (7-0), along with it’s most conference wins in program history (18).
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. The Wildcats then won the SEC outright in the win over South Carolina.