Volleyball selected to host first rounds of NCAA Tournament

Staff report

sports@kykernel.com

UK volleyball has been selected to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Memorial Coliseum as the No. 15-seeded team in the country.

The Cats will host Duquesne University (20-9, 12-2 Atlantic-10) in a first-round matchup at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

The weekend will mark the third time in four seasons that UK will host the first and second rounds of the tournament.

Last season, the Cats swept East Tennessee State University 3-0 in the first round in Lexington, then followed with a 3-1 victory over Ohio State University the next day in the second round.

UK senior outside hitter Whitney Billings, who was named to the All-SEC First team on Monday, combined for 18 kills in the two NCAA Tournament matches last season.

Duquesne won the Atlantic-10 Championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Dukes, from Pittsburgh, Pa., have never played in the NCAA Tournament.

The Dukes are led offensively by junior middle blocker Arielle Love, who averages a team-high 3.16 kills per set.

UK’s match follows the first-round match between Michigan State University (21-11, 10-10 Big Ten) and Ohio University (27-5, 14-2 MAC) at 5 p.m.

If the Cats defeat Duquesne, UK (21-8, 13-5 SEC) will face the winner of Michigan State-Ohio match for a spot in the Lexington Regional at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The Lexington Regional on Dec. 13 and 14 will feature matches from the Round of 16 and the Round of 8.