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Kentucky volleyball looks to continue recent command of Louisville

Coach Craig Skinner talked to the team following a scrimmage during University of Kentucky Volleyball Media Day in the Joe Craft Center in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, August 18, 2016.
Coach Craig Skinner talked to the team following a scrimmage during University of Kentucky Volleyball Media Day in the Joe Craft Center in Lexington, Ky., Thursday, August 18, 2016. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Expect Kentucky and Louisville both to show up highly motivated for their annual rivalry game at the KFC Yum Center on Thursday night.

Kentucky’s volleyball team (5-4) will be looking to build on a big performance last weekend after a slow start to the 2016 season.

For the Cardinals, Thursday is a chance to stop a three-game losing streak, which followed a fast start to the campaign by U of L (4-4).

The Wildcats won their final two games — over Virginia and Saint Louis — in last weekend’s Bluegrass Battle tournament in Memorial Coliseum.

Kentucky posted 16 blocks in both matches with junior middle Kaz Brown leading the way. With 18 total blocks in three weekend matches, Brown raised her season average to a 1.27, which ranks third in the Southeastern Conference.

Freshman Leah Edmond, from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, led the Wildcats with three 10-plus kill performances to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors.

The Cardinals began the season 3-0 before losing four of their next five. Most recently, the Cards were swept 3-0 by third-ranked Minnesota and No. 6 Wisconsin during last weekend’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Chapel Hill, N.C.

Melanie McHenry leads the team with 3.45 kills per set, while Janelle Jenkins adds 2.77. Molly Sauer averages 4.23 digs per set. Tess Clark has 24 blocks on the year to lead the way up front.

Kentucky and Louisville are meeting for the eighth consecutive season. UK has won three in a row and five of the last six.

Thursday

Kentucky at Louisville

When: 7 p.m.

Where: KFC Yum Center

Records: Kentucky 5-4, Louisville 4-4

Series: UK leads 28-25

Last meeting: Kentucky won 3-1 on Sept. 20, 2015, in Lexington.

Live video broadcast: WatchESPN.com (online only)

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