By LARRY VAUGHT
Three-time All-American Madison Lilley says being away from the University of Kentucky and volleyball for close to three months has been “weird” for her.
“In the beginning, it was like, ‘This is cool. No structure, sleep in, do my own thing.’ Now I am dying,” said the UK senior. “I am just waiting for (coach) Craig (Skinner) to call and tell me we can get back in the gym.
“I have never gone this long without things on my agenda. It’s a lot now about discipline and self structure every day to make sure you are productive. You can learn a lot now about yourself and how you work best and what structure you need to make you thrive. But it has been an adjustment for sure.”
Lilley is one of the nation’s best setters. She had 1,445 assists in 2017 and then 1,242 in 2018 as a sophomore. Last season she has 1,258 assists to raise her career total to 3,945 assists in three seasons.
She spent most of last summer playing for USA Volleyball and is used to workouts and summer camps with “some freedom” but admits last year was really structured.
“Now it is free reign with no set scheduling at all,” Lilley said.
So what has she been doing to stay in shape and also fill her time?
“YouTube workouts are the new things. I think I could be qualified as an instructor now,” Lilley said. “I send links to my teammates about what (workout) is good. We are exploring different ways of doing things.
“We are also getting workouts sent to us weekly (by UK coaches). We have a lot of support. It’s not like there is no backup from teammates even now. We are trying to support each other the best we can.”
While plans are being put in place to get football and basketball players back on campus, volleyball players and other athletes are still awaiting more information.
Lilley believes the Southeastern Conference — along with UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart — is doing everything possible to get her and her teammates back on campus.
“It’s encouraging to see what they are doing, especially with the way some high schools are already calling off things (for next season),” Lilley said. “That’s encouraging for us athletes to work just like they are working to get us back on campus.
“I don’t know when it’s going to be that we do get back. I am hoping it will be in the next month so we can get to work and I can be back with my teammates.”