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UK volleyball gets NCAA bid

Kentucky's volleyball team, which received an NCAA Tournament bid for a school-record sixth consecutive season, will open the tournament against 16th-seeded Purdue at 7:30 p.m. Friday in West Lafayette, Ind.

Middle Tennessee State and Louisville will play in the regional's other matchup.

It's the second time in UK Coach Craig Skinner's tenure that the Wildcats (17-13, 11-9 Southeastern Conference) will meet Purdue in West Lafayette in the Tournament. The Boilermakers swept the Cats in 2006.

"We've played a lot of good teams this year to prepare us for this," Skinner said. "Purdue is playing very well right now, so we will really need to focus in this week."

Six teams from the Southeastern Conference made it into the tournament, including Florida, the tournament's No. 1 overall seed. LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi and Auburn were also selected.

The Wildcats advanced to the Sweet Sixteen a season ago behind the inspired play of Lauren Rapp. She leads UK with 2.71 kills per frame on .295 hitting. She also averages 1.05 blocks.

Sophomore Stephanie Klefot averages 4.41 digs per set and is the fifth player in school history to total 500 or more digs in a single season with 511 this year.

Freshman Whitney Billings averages 2.73 kills and 2.33 digs per set.

Purdue (21-10, 12-8) is led by Ariel Turner's 3.61 kills per frame. Jaclyn Hart delivers 1.35 kills per set on a team-high .372 attacking average.

The Boilermakers have the slight edge in the overall series against UK by a 9-8 margin. UK, however, won the last meeting 3-1 last season.

Louisville and Middle Tennessee State will play at 5 p.m. Friday. The Cardinals (22-7, 12-2 Big East) won the Big East Tournament championship.

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