Kentucky’s volleyball team wrapped up Southeastern Conference play undefeated for the first time since 1998 and the fifth time in program history.
The Cats (24-4, 18-0 SEC) swept Auburn 3-0 (25-12, 25-22, 25-19) on Saturday in Memorial Coliseum in front of a season-best crowd of 3,078 fans.
“It’s a special group to be a part of,” UK Coach Craig Skinner said. “Just the effort, passion, energy, selflessness of a group to try and go undefeated in the league is almost impossible. I’m just proud of the relentlessness that this group has shown. Today our strengths came out: offensively, we were good and our serving pressure put a lot of stress on Auburn so it was good to see.”
It was the 21st consecutive victory for the Wildcats, who began the streak on Sept. 8 against Texas State.
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Kentucky earned the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and the field will be announced at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2. Fans can watch the selection show with the team in Memorial Coliseum. Admission will be free and the doors will open at 8 p.m.
UK honored its senior class on Saturday. Merideth Jewell, Brooke Morgan, Anna Nyberg and McKenzie Watson all started. Jewell had two kills and was in on the match-clinching block. Morgan piled up eight kills on a .462 hitting clip to couple with a career-high-tying four digs and a block. Nyberg had a kill while Watson earned a pair of digs.
“You won’t find a group of four people who care more about a program and the people around them as much as this group,” Skinner added. “Regardless of what their role of the team was, they were in before and after practice doing something. What kind of leadership does that show? Elite teams don’t just happen during the practice hours, they happen before and after and all the other times, too.”
Junior Leah Edmond led the way offensively with a match-high 16 kills. Sophomore setter Madison Lilley had 37 assists, two kills and a career-high four aces.