Fresh off defeating UNLV in straight sets (25-16, 25-19, 25-18) to move on to the Sweet 16, UK Volleyball will next take on in-state rival Western Kentucky on Sunday night at 10 p.m.
The Cats and Toppers last met in the NCAA Tournament in 2017, where Kentucky stormed back from a 0-2 set disadvantage to win. They’re 14-4 all-time against WKU, including winning the last four.
For this edition, both squads are in the midst of a historical year. Kentucky clinched their highest overall seed (2) in school history, while Western Kentucky will be appearing in their first ever Sweet 16. The Toppers took down No. 15 seed Washington State in five sets to reach this point, proving they could be a dangerous team if the Cats do not show up with their “A-game.”
Good news for Kentucky? Well, they have plenty of experience, along with maybe the most talented roster in school history. SEC Player of the Year is coming off a 44-assist night against UNLV, keeping a balanced attack as five players had eight or more kills.
Bad news for the Cats? Western Kentucky attacks really hard in the middle, something UK has struggled with in the past. Middle Hitter Lauren Matthews had 20 kills in their win over Washington State, numerically proving they will attack in that area. Due to this, the middle blockers will have to be quick to react.
So, this late match will be a great test for Kentucky moving forward. Win this one, however, and you’re back in the Elite Eight looking to make history again.