Newly crowned All-Southeast Regional winners set for Sweet 16

Senior Kaz Brown and Sophomore Leah Edmond practice their moves on Thursday, December 7, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky in preparation for for Kentucky’s match against Brigham Young University. Photo By Genna Melendez | Staff

Keyera Jackson

On Dec. 8, No. 4 seeded UK volleyball will face No. 13 seeded BYU for a trip to the Elite Eight.

When the Cats take the court, they’ll have five players who earned All-Southeast Region honors on their side, as seniors Kaz Brown, Ashley Dusek and Emily Franklin, sophomore Leah Edmond and freshman Madison Lilley each made the 14-player list. 

Edmond was named the Region’s Player of the Year, while Lilley was named the Freshman of the Year.

Those players have all contributed to Kentucky’s tough mentality, which is what led them to the Sweet 16. The Cats are led by Edmond, who is averaging 4.53 kills per set, which is fourteenth in the nation.

The Cats have had success on offense with Lilley setting the ball to a team that is third in the nation in hitting percentage at .321 and fourth in the nation in kills per set at 15.01. 

Offense is not the Cats’ only strength, as they have Brown and Dusek breaking defensive records as well. Brown broke the 25-point rally scoring era career records in total blocks (562), blocks assists (499) and solo blocks (63) this season, and currently averages 1.21 blocks per set.

Listen: Podcast with Kaz Brown

Dusek earned her third-straight SEC Libero of the Year honor, which she won earlier this season, and she’s averaging 4.44 digs per set.

Consistency is also a key element for the Cats, and Franklin displays that element with her contribution of her .407 hitting percentage. She has hit .500 or above in 11 games this season.

Franklin also had an 11-match streak where she hit over .400 earlier this season.

However, the Cats will still be pushed by BYU, who finished its regular play season with an overall record of 30-2. The team is led by junior Veronica Jones-Perry, who averaged 4.82 kills per set.

“They’re good, a lot of their record is a lot of wins and not very many losses. They know how to win. They have been here before and I think it’s going to be a good match up for us,” head coach Craig Skinner said in a pre-match press conference.

The Cats and the Cougars are both riding on a nine-game winning streak as these two teams prepare to face off for a spot in the regional finals.

The match will take place in Memorial Coliseum at noon.