By LARRY VAUGHT
She came to Kentucky confident she could help UK not only reach the Final Four, but win a national title.
Setter Madison Lilley of Kansas has not done that yet, but she certainly has helped elevate the Kentucky program to a national level of prominence.
“It has been very rewarding time for (libero) Garry (Curry) and I along with the other seniors the last few years,” Lilley said.
In Lilley’s three seasons, her class has helped UK compile an 80-16 overall record, that includes a 7-3 mark in NCAA play. Kentucky has won three straight Southeastern Conference titles with a combined mark of 51-3, including 18-0 in 2018.
“I think everyone pulls from different experiences to make our team thrive on the court and off,” Lilley said. “The seniors met with (volleyball coach) Craig (Skinner) in January to talk about things that were going to happen.
“It was, ‘When we do make the Final Four, when we do XYZ.’ No other options. No if we make the Final Four.
“We have been doing a lot of training of our minds. We are going to make history this year. It’s not if we get a championship ring but what will our ring look like. We are bringing all kind of experiences to the team this year and it all comes down to how we apply that.
Lilley, a three-time All-American, admits she anxious for the season even though the volleyball team has yet to be told when it will be allowed to return to campus.
“I think I am the most excited of anybody on that team because everyone is going to be more ready and hungry to work than ever,” Lilley said. “There won’t be much Craig has to ask for when it comes to effort, motivation and drive because we have not been in the gym for so long we are all going to be ready to go.
“I truly believe this team has the ability to do something really cool and we are hungry to do that and more.”