No. 8 Kentucky plays final road SEC series at Auburn

Wildcats play Tigers twice in final road SEC action

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – The No. 8 Kentucky Volleyball team will close out its road schedule this weekend as it travels to The Plains to face the Auburn Tigers for a two-match series inside Auburn Arena on Saturday and Sunday.

Both Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. ET match and Sunday’s 2 p.m. ET showdown will be broadcasted live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app with Graham Doty and Kele Eveland on the call Saturday and Wiley Ballard joining Eveland for the call Sunday.

Tickets for both matches are available at AuburnTigers.com.

Kentucky currently sits 20-4 overall on the season, including a 13-1 record in Southeastern Conference matches, as the Wildcats retain a one-match lead in the league with four matches to play in the year. UK’ 13-1 mark is one-match better than both Florida and Mississippi State, who have two conference losses, with UK and UF playing a series to close out the season next weekend inside Memorial Coliseum.

UK’s rating percentage index (RPI) mark sits one slot higher, at No. 7 nationally. The Tigers, who enter the weekend 13-12 on the year and 5-10 in SEC play, are 166 in the RPI.

Led by second-year head coach Brent Crouch, Auburn is significantly improved from the 2020-21 season. Rebekah Rath averages 4.33 kills per set on the year to lead the Tigers and Tatum Shipes’ 1.48 blocks per set leads one of the best blocking teams in the SEC for the season.

Kentucky has won 18 sets in a row over the Tigers, and 25 matches in a row over AU dating back to Oct. 1, 2006 when the Tigers took down UK in five sets. The overall series has Kentucky ahead 44-10, including a two-match sweep in the fall segment of the 2020 season before Auburn shut down the spring portion of its schedule due to COVID concerns coupled with injuries in its roster.

Emma Grome was named the SEC Setter of the Week for the third-straight week, it was announced on November 15. Grome led Kentucky to a .375 hitting percentage in its three matches vs. Georgia and Texas A&M, averaging 11.4 assists per set as she maintained her lead among NCAA freshman for assists per set. Grome led UK to a .416 hitting percentage against Georgia, its first time this season hitting above .400 against an SEC team. Grome also had six+ digs in all three matches and averaged over 2.5 digs per set to couple her assists per set.

Alli Stumler is up for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award in volleyball, which measures the best senior in the country who balances athletics, community, academics, leadership and being a good teammate. Fans are encouraged to #VoteForAlli at SeniorClassAward.com.

UK was unveiled as the No. 5 team in the NCAA’s Selection Committee’s eyes, it was announced on Oct. 31. The Wildcats are the highest-ranked SEC team in the committee’s top 10, and has already played two of the top three teams in the rankings.

Kentucky is 8-3 in true road matches this season, and 10-3 overall in matches away from Memorial Coliseum. UK has won six of its seven SEC road matches to this point in the season.

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