Your SEC Champs are back and are picked to win it all in the pre-season coaches poll. Also, it was announced that three of the ladies were picked to the pre-season All SEC Team.
Here is the press release from the UK Media Relations department. Click Here to go to their site.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After a season that saw the Kentucky volleyball team win a share of the Southeastern Conference title, the league’s coaches tabbed UK as the 2018 SEC preseason favorite. Junior Leah Edmond and sophomores Madison Lilley and Avery Skinner were picked to the preseason All-SEC team.
Kentucky received eight of the league’s 13 first-place votes and finished atop the poll with 140 points. Florida garnered the remaining five first-place votes and finished in second with 137. Missouri trails both schools with 116 points, while Georgia and LSU round out the top five.
No school other than Kentucky placed multiple athletes on the preseason All-SEC team. Edmond makes her second appearance on the preseason list after garnering All-SEC honors in each of her first two seasons. Lilley, a first-team selection a season ago, and Skinner, an All-SEC Freshman Team pick last year, were selected for the first time in their careers. All 13 of the league’s head coaches vote in each poll.
Edmond is coming off a season in which she earned first team All-America and All-SEC honors. Edmond averaged 4.53 kills per set last year, good for No. 14 in the nation. Edmond's 539 kills were the highest kill mark for a single season in the 25-point rally scoring era in program history. She totaled 10 or more kills in 28 matches in 2017, including four in the NCAA Tournament. She also hit the 20-kill plateau 11 times, and holds the 25-point rally scoring era record for most kills in a three-set match with 21 at Arkansas. Her 22 terminations against WKU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament are the most in the Skinner era for an NCAA Tournament match, and she had 20 or more three times in the tournament.
Last season Lilley was a second-team All-America selection and the SEC Freshman of the Year. Lilley averaged 12.14 assists per set in 2017, the third-best average in the nation and the highest for a freshman. Lilley is the only Wildcat in the 25-point rally scoring era with 65 or more assists in a match multiple times, and had 20 matches with 40 or more. Lilley was impressive in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, posting 63 helpers in the five-set win over BYU in the Sweet 16.
Skinner was a part of the SEC All-Freshman team last season. She produced the second-highest kill total on the team at 3.28 per frame in 2017. Skinner's recorded 18 matches last season with double-digit kills, including 11 in league play. The Katy, Texas, native has led the Cats six times in hammers and had a season-high of 19 terminations twice in 2017, coming against Northern Iowa and Alabama.
Kentucky will open the season on Aug. 24 at the Southern Cal Tournament. The Cats’ first match will be against Creighton at 1:30 p.m. ET and UK will take on USC at 10:30 p.m. ET that night. The Wildcats will take on WKU in an exhibition on Aug. 16 at 5 p.m.
It was announced this week that Coach Greg Skinner has been signed to a contract extension. Mitch Barnhart has done an outstanding job recruiting the best head coaches in the country and does an even better job keeping them at UK. Below is the press release from the UK Media Relations team and you can Click Here to go to their site.
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky volleyball head coach Craig Skinner has signed a contract extension, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Wednesday afternoon. Skinner’s new agreement will keep him as the head coach through the 2022-23 season.
“I can’t thank Mitch Barnhart, Dr. Capilouto and Katie Eiserman enough for their belief and trust in me to run this program,” Skinner said. “Megan and I have loved our time in Kentucky and look forward to the future. As a program, we will continue to pursue our goal of winning a national championship. I’m so appreciative of our current and former players and staff who have helped transform Kentucky into an elite program. Working alongside great people to help develop our student-athletes into champions on and off the court is something I look forward to each and every day. This program has always been about people of substance to help ensure sustained success over time.”
Skinner has won two Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year awards, with his latest coming last season. The 2017 season was arguably Skinner’s best as coach of the Cats, as UK captured the SEC regular-season championship for the first time since 1988. The Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in the modern era of the NCAA Tournament after taking down East Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and BYU.
Under Skinner, UK has produced 13 All-America first, second or third team distinctions, including two – Leah Edmond and Madison Lilley – last season. UK has hauled in 46 All-SEC honors in his 13 seasons, including the 2008 SEC Player of the Year and three SEC Freshman of the Year awards. UK has won the SEC Libero of the Year in seven of the last eight years. In the classroom, UK has won the AVCA Team Academic Award in each of the last four seasons.
“Since the moment he arrived in Lexington, Craig has been resolute in his belief that our volleyball program can win at the highest level,” Barnhart said. “We experienced immediate success and have made strides every year since thanks to the way he inspires growth in the student-athletes he leads. Coming off one of the best seasons in school history, I know Craig and his team are even more inspired to pursue their ultimate goal: a national championship.”