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    No. 18 UK Begins SEC Play at Auburn, Alabama

    Sept. 26, 2013

    NO. 18 KENTUCKY VOLLEYBALL AT AUBURN, ALABAMA
    UK at Auburn: Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET
    UK at Alabama: Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ET

    UKathletics.com Radio: at Auburn | at Alabama
    Live Video: at Auburn | at Alabama
    Live Stats: at Auburn | at Alabama
    Match Info: Game Notes Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | 2013 Fact Book
    The No. 18 University of Kentucky volleyball team opens Southeastern Conference competition this weekend with contests at Auburn Friday at 8 p.m. ET and Alabama Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

    This weekend’s matches marks the beginning of SEC play for UK after an 8-3 non-conference slate. The Wildcats went 6-1 at home, 2-0 on the road and 0-2 in neutral site contests in non-league action. Kentucky’ will play 18 conference matches, with nine held in the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum.

    Auburn owns a 9-3 record on the season and a 2-2 mark at home. Alabama, who is 12-2 overall, is a perfect 5-0 at home. Both teams will be making their SEC season debuts against Kentucky.

    Both of UK’s matches to open SEC competition will feature live audio and live stats on UKathletics.com. Additionally, fans can find a live video stream of Friday’s contest with AU on AuburnTigers.com, while RollTide.com will have video of Sunday’s outing against the Tide.

    SCOUTING AUBURN
    Auburn is 9-3 on the year, a mark that includes a 2-2 record at home. The Tigers beat No. 10 Nebraska in the second match of the season, while their home wins have been against Mercer and Troy as part of the four-team Active Ankle Challenge. A common opponent between AU and UK is Florida State, which both teams suffered 3-2 losses too.

    Rick Nold is in his third season as head coach of the Tigers. He owns a 37-35 record going into the weekend after a 17-13 mark in 2012, six more wins than his first campaign. Nold came to Auburn after nine seasons at Jacksonville State, where he won a combined six conference titles and made the NCAA Tournament three times.

    The Tigers are led on the court by senior Katherine Culwell’s 156 kills and a 3.55 kills per set average. Fellow senior Camila Jersonsky is second on the squad with 117 kills with a .382 hitting clip, a team best. She also boasts a team high 42 blocks on the year. Senior Chelsea Wintzinger’s 279 assists lead the team in addition to her team-high-tying 12 service aces. On the defensive, Sarah Wroblicky, also a senior, has an AU best 190 digs and averages 4.32 scoops per set.

    SCOUTING ALABAMA
    Alabama boasts a 12-2 mark through the non-conference portion of the 2013 campaign. A perfect 5-0 record at home includes four victories to win the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, where the Tide posted three sweeps and one 3-1 victory. Most recently, Alabama downed Alabama State 3-0 on Sept. 24 in Tuscaloosa.

    The Crimson Tide are led by Ed Allen, in his third season at the helm. He is the fourth coach in the history of the program and owns a 41-36 record after going 18-14 last season. Allen comes to Alabama after a five-year stint at Tulsa. As a head coach he has earned six conference coach of the year honors and has led his squad to a total of nine conference titles and four postseason appearances.

    Redshirt freshman Krystal Rivers, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, leads the Tide with 179 kills, a 3.51 kills per set average and a blistering .452 hitting clip. She also has a team-high-tying 40 blocks. Sophomore Sierra Wilson’s 580 assists ranks second in the SEC. Fellow second-year player Kryssi Daniels has notched a team best 161 digs, followed by freshman Brittany Thomas’ 135, who also has a squad high 15 service aces.

    LAST TIME OUT: Morehead state
    With the assist of three strong finishes, No. 18 Kentucky swept Morehead State, 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 28-26), Monday evening in Memorial Coliseum in the season’s final non-conference contest of the season.

    Kentucky (8-3) used runs of 10-2, 6-2 and 9-4 to close each frame against Morehead State (9-5) to earn its fifth sweep of the season. The Wildcats, who begin Southeastern Conference play Friday at Auburn, own a 6-1 record at home.

    UK posted 49 kills in the match, 14 more than MSU’s 35. The Wildcats also out-dug the Eagles 60-48, but were out-blocked 12-6. All three victories featured dynamic finishes from the Blue and White. The final frame’s finish was of the comeback variety.

    The win closed out the regular season non-league portion of UK’s schedule. Highlighted by wins over No. 4 Minnesota and in-state rival Louisville, the Wildcats went 8-3 in non-conference play.

    UP NEXT: VS. OLE MISS, TENNESSEE
    Kentucky returns home for its conference home opener against Ole Miss and Tennessee next weekend. The Wildcats welcome the Rebels to Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET before hosting the Volunteers two days later at 1:30 p.m. in the Sunday matinee.

    The Wildcats are 36-11 all-time against Ole Miss and 43-29 against Tennessee. UK went a perfect 4-0 against the two squads in 2012, with a 3-1 victory over the Rebels and a 3-0 sweep of the Vols in Lexington.

    SCOUTING THE SEC
    With the beginning of Southeastern Conference play this weekend, the Wildcats look to improve on a 14-6 league mark in 2012. UK finished third in the Eastern Division, behind SEC champion Florida and Tennessee.

    Missouri is the only league school to finish the non-conference schedule with a perfect mark of 15-0, while Florida and LSU each had one loss. Nine of the conference’s 13 teams enter SEC action with three defeats or less, including Kentucky.

    In the national polls, Florida is third in the AVCA Coaches Poll released Sept. 23rd, while the Wildcats are 18th. Texas A&M is receiving votes. In Sept. 24th’s VBM Top 20 Poll, Florida, 6th, and Kentucky, 20th, are ranked, while Mizzou is receiving votes.

    UK TO HOST 2013 NCAA REGIONAL
    Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event. Tickets for the event are available now at UKathletics.com/Tickets.