Cats to honor their seniors against LSU



On one of the youngest teams in the Southeastern Conference, seniors Blaire Hiler and Lauren Rapp have led the UK volleyball team both on and off the court all season long. This Sunday, the team will honor Hiler and Rapp as UK takes on Louisiana State on its senior day.

“It’s sad to know that we are coming up on our last few home games,” Hiler said. “But I think Sunday the team is really going to want to pull for us even more, especially because it is our senior night. It’s going to be a fun match against LSU for sure.”

Together Rapp and Hiler have had one of the most successful tenures of any senior class in the program’s recent history. The two seniors have compiled 91 wins in their four seasons at UK, and will look to improve on that number even further at the end of this season. They have appeared in three NCAA tournaments, including last year’s Sweet 16 run, and were a part of UK’s first and only Southeastern Conference Eastern Division championship team last season.

This season, Rapp and Hiler have had to deal with playing around a young squad, but they have enjoyed the journey from start to finish.

“This season has gone differently than I expected,” Rapp said. “But this team has been one of my favorites to play with, we are more of a family than any team that I have ever played with. I love this team and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

UK head coach Craig Skinner has coached Rapp and Hiler for four years, and has had the opportunity to watch them grow as student athletes.

“They have both come a long way from their freshman year,” Skinner said. “They are just quality people with great character, great commitment to the program and great commitment to their teammates. They are just a real pleasure to coach.”

After the ceremony on Sunday, the Cats (14-12, 8-8 SEC) will take the court across from the defending conference champions in LSU. As a team on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, both seniors know how important every game at the end of their season is to earning a spot in the postseason.

“The urgency is definitely up there, we need to be able to win every game,” Hiler said. “We need to play how we know we are able to play, and go all out and not worry about mistakes and not worry about anything.”

The two seniors have been anticipating the bittersweet celebration this Sunday on the court at Memorial Coliseum.

“I am definitely not looking forward to the slideshow. I am going to be balling,” Hiler said. “I am not really looking forward to anything because I don’t want it to be over, but I am looking forward to a good match on Sunday.”

But Rapp views the situation lightly.

“I guess I am looking forward to us moving on to the next stage in our lives,” Rapp added. “I’m looking forward to us moving on to the real world.”