The University of Kentucky volleyball team was picked to finish second in the Southeastern Conference this fall, and three Wildcats were named to the preseason all-league team in a vote of coaches announced Wednesday.
Defending SEC champion Florida received seven first-place votes to Kentucky’s six, and the Gators edged the Wildcats 139-138 in the overall polling total.
Seniors Kaz Brown and Ashley Dusek and sophomore Leah Edmond were voted to the 10-player All-SEC team.
Brown and Dusek were named to the preseason team for the second straight year. All three players were All-SEC selections after leading UK to a 12th-consecutive NCAA appearance in 2016.
Brown, a Waterloo, Iowa, native was third in the SEC and 16th in the country in blocks per set at 1.42 last season. Her 151 blocks were the second most from any UK player during the 25-point rally-scoring era, trailing only her own 180 set in 2015.
Dusek, from East Bernard, Texas, repeated as the SEC Libero of the Year and earned All-America honors last season. She averaged 4.78 digs per set, good for second in the SEC.
Edmond, from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, was a third-team All-American as a freshman. She was named American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region Freshman of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year.
Kentucky will open its regular season Aug. 25 when it plays host to the Bluegrass Battle. The Wildcats will face Arkansas State and Utah in Memorial Coliseum. Coach Craig Skinner’s Wildcats will host Western Kentucky for an exhibition match on Aug. 16.
SEC preseason coaches’ poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Preseason All-SEC Team
Pilar Victoria, Arkansas
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Rhamat Alhassan, Florida
Carli Snyder, Florida
Kaz Brown, Kentucky
Ashley Dusek, Kentucky
East Bernard, Texas
Leah Edmond, Kentucky
Melanie Crow, Missouri
Alyssa Munlyn, Missouri
Mikayla Shields, South Carolina
Kaitlyn Blake, Texas A&M