6 volleyball players named all-SEC



By Paul Martin

The UK volleyball team racked up numerous accolades from the SEC headquarters Monday.

Regular season honors were given to six different players from the program, as the Cats prepare to play the Dayton Flyers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday.

Junior Christine Hartmann, sophomore Whitney Billings and junior Stephanie Klefot were chosen to represent the Cats on the all-SEC first team.

Klefot was also named Libero of the Year in the SEC.  This makes two seasons in a row that the defensive specialist for the Cats has taken home the award. Klefot currently averages 4.75 digs per set and was among the league leaders in service aces with 29.

Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year was awarded to senior middle blocker Ann Armes. She is the third player in UK history to win this award. Four times during her career, Armes has been on the all-SEC academic team. This season has also been her best on the court, finishing in the top 10 in hitting percentage in the conference.

“It means that we had a great season,” Armes said in regard to six Cats being rewarded. “The rest of the team and coaches provide a great atmosphere for us to do well. All the players on the bench have an opportunity to make an impact each game.”

Hartmann, the team’s starting setter, nabbed her first all-SEC award, anchoring the Cats by averaging 11 assists per set.   Junior outside hitter Ashley Frazier was named second team all-SEC squad after leading UK in kills and service aces.

Billings was also consistent for the Cats, as she tallied 10 or more kills in 13 matches for the offense.

Kentucky native Lauren O’ Conner was named to the all-SEC freshman team after contributing 2.20 kills per set as a starter.

“Overall with that number of people (receiving awards), I think it gives great credit to this team,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “At any moment you could recognize any of our players, because I think physically any of them are capable. For all of them to get those awards says a lot about not just themselves, but the people on the court with them and on the sidelines.”

Dayton (25-6), UK’s opponent for Thursday night, rides into the postseason on a high note, winning the Atlantic 10 conference championship. The Flyers lost one conference match all year and are no stranger to the playoffs. This will be Dayton’s fifth consecutive appearance in the postseason.

“We get to play against a team that has had a lot of success this year with winning their conference championship,” Skinner said. “They are an annual tournament team, so they have been through the battles before. It will be a tough match.”

UK will play Dayton at 5:30 pm Eastern time Thursday in College Station, Texas.