Craig Skinner, Madison Lilley take home AVCA national honors


Kentucky Wildcats setter Madison Lilley (3) runs on to the court before the UK vs. Louisiana State University game on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Barkley Truax

Craig Skinner has been named 2020-21 national coach of the year, per the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Madison Lilley was also chosen as the AVCA Division One Player of the Year – the first SEC player in history to do so.

“This season, Skinner guided the Wildcats to a 19-1 overall regular season record, and a fourth-straight SEC Championship, something that has never been done in the history of Kentucky Volleyball,” a press release sent out Thursday morning announced. “Inside the win streak, UK won 38-straight sets against its opponents and won three matches against top-10 teams.”

At Coach Skinner’s lead, Kentucky has qualified for it’s first first Final Four in program history as they take on the Washington Huskies Thursday evening. Skinner was also named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year as well as the AVCA’s All-Southeast Region Coach of the Year.

For Lilley, “the school’s all-time leader in assists, is averaging an SEC-high 12.1 assists per set this season, with just under one kill per set, 2.36 digs per set and 0.65 blocks per set,” the press release said. “She was named the SEC’s Player of the Week four times this season and the league’s Setter of the Week on seven different occasions.”

Along with Division One Player of the Year, Lilley was also named 2020-21 SEC Player of the Year, AVCA All-Southeast Region Player of the Year and First Team All-American.

The senior recorded 30 plus assists in 21 out of Kentucky’s 23 games this season and has recorded over 35 matches with 40 or more assists throughout her career.

Skinner and Lilley look to add to their hardware collection Thursday evening as they take on Washington with a trip to the national championship game on the line. You can catch the game live at 7 p.m. eastern on ESPN.