Wildcats Make History, Win SEC Title for the First Time Since 1988

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Wildcats Make History, Win SEC Title for the First Time Since 1988

The University of Kentucky women's volleyball team celebrates after a scored point during the game against Tennessee Sunday, October 22, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the match 3-0.

After a sweep of the Georgia Bulldogs (25-21, 25-21, 25-14) on Friday, the No. 6 Kentucky women’s volleyball team capped off a historic season with its first SEC Title since 1988. With the win, the Wildcats finish the regular season 26-3 and 17-1 in the SEC, the best regular season in the Craig Skinner era.

“Seniors. Toughness. Will. Resiliency. January starting to work and prepare for it and I’m just really proud of these guys,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “How tough were we in set one? I mean, Georgia had it going, we responded and made a couple of big blocks, and then Leah (Edmond) had a great serving run. So, toughness like that is what got it done for us.”

Kentucky was lead once again by outside hitter Leah Edmond, who paced the offense with 15 kills on a .389 hitting clip. The sophomore also pitched in 11 digs, a pair of aces and two blocks. Freshman Avery Skinner contributed 11 kills of her own, giving her 20 matches this season with double-digit totals in kills.

Setter Madison Lilley directed the offense to 47 kills and a .336 hitting percentage, as the freshman tallied 36 assists on the match. Lilley also had five digs.

Defensively, the Wildcats held the Bulldogs to a measly .161 hitting clip thanks to the strong defensive effort of its back line. Libero Ashley Dusek totaled 20 digs, the fifth time in the last six games that the senior has had 20 or more scoops in a match. Edmond added 11 digs of her own, junior McKenzie Watson had four and freshman Gabby Curry had three.

UK’s senior middle blockers also filled up the stat sheet in the final regular season match of their careers, as Kaz Brown and Emily Franklin combined for 15 kills on 30 swings. Brown and Franklin each had two blocks as well.

With the regular season now complete, the Wildcats await the results of the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show, airing Sunday on ESPNU. The full bracket will be released at 9 pm.

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