The Kentucky Wildcats swept Ole Miss on Senior Day Saturday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum to claim the program’s seventh overall SEC title and finished the season with a 23-6 overall record, 16-2 in the SEC. UK senior outside hitter Leah Edmond led the way with a double-double, totaling 13 kill and 10 digs in the win, while outside hitter Alli Stumler notched 11 kills.
The win over the Rebels was Kentucky’s final regular season game, but they’re not done just yet. The NCAA Volleyball Selection Show Sunday evening revealed that the Cats are a No. 9 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and will host the first and second rounds Dec. 6-7. The Cats will face Southeast Missouri State in the first round in Memorial Coliseum.
“It’s about what we kind of thought,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “We probably thought we’d be anywhere in that range. Playing at home is good and playing another OVC team like we did in the first round last year like Murray State, they’re good. It’s a good volleyball conference and so we’ve got to get ready.”
UK volleyball will also host Michigan and Northern Kentucky.
“You’re just always honored to get the chance to host an NCAA Tournament,” Skinner said. “You get to the beginning of the year and there’s expectations of where you’re seeded and ranked and predicted and all of that stuff, but it’s really hard to go through a season and do what you do and give yourself the best chance to do it. Just honored to have the chance to get after it with this team and have the chance to do it on our home floor."
In addition to finding out who they’d be facing in the tournament, the Cats also received honors from the league office Sunday. Edmond was named SEC Player of the Year, while junior Gabby Curry was named SEC Libero of the Year, both recipients of their respective awards for the second year in a row.
Despite going into her last tournament run, Edmond says she’s always gone into the post season feeling like she has unfinished business to take care of.
“Since we lost in the Elite 8, we’ve always so close, one game away, one set away from getting to the Final Four,” Edmond said. “So going into my last one I want to do everything possible to make sure that we make it to the Final Four.”
Edmond, Curry, junior setter Madison Lilley and sophomore outside hitter Alli Stumler all made the All-SEC Team, as well.
The Cats will take on SEMO on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. after Michigan and Northern Kentucky face off at 5:00 p.m. The winner of those two matches will play on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.