Alli Stumler is the lone returning All-American from Kentucky’s 2020 national championship squad, and she’s wasting no time taking over as the Wildcats’ next superstar.
Over the weekend, No. 3 Kentucky Volleyball won all nine sets in three matches against Texas State, Dayton, and Cincinnati to open up the 2021 regular season. Averaging 3.67 kills per set and recording at least 10 kills in two of the three wins, Stumler was named the event’s Most Oustanding Player.
Additionally, the 2021 Dayton All-Tournament Team included three Wildcats: Alli Stumler (MOP), first-year setter Emma Grome, and junior middle blocker Azhani Tealer.
Stumler, a senior outside hitter from Knobs, Indiana, was named a First Team AVCA All-American last season, an All-SEC member, and tabbed to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.
Below is more on Tealer and Grome’s performances from Dayton:
Tealer, a junior middle blocker from Grand Prairie, Texas, had 1.67 blocks per set and 15 blocks on the weekend along with 2.44 kills per set. Tealer had eight blocks vs. Texas State, a new career-high total for a three-set match in her career. She also registered a .600 hitting percentage.
Freshman setter Emma Grome averaged 10.7 assists per set, totaling 97 assists on the weekend in the nine sets UK played. The Loveland, Ohio native also added in 1.78 digs per set and 0.44 blocks per set, including the first solo stuff of her UK career vs. Dayton in the featured match Saturday night.UK Athletics
Kentucky isn’t quite as loaded as last season’s squad that won the program’s first-ever national championship, but there is still plenty of star power at the top with the depth to complement them. Winning all nine sets in convincing fashion–albeit against subpar competition–is an excellent way to start a title defense.
The schedule will heat up quickly, though. This weekend, Kentucky will host the Bluegrass Battle at Memorial Coliseum, which features Northern Iowa, Creighton, Southern California, and UK.
The ‘Cats will play Northern Iowa on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. EST, Creighton on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 10:30 a.m. EST and then against Southern Cal later in the day at 7:30 p.m. EST. Southern Cal and Creighton were ranked No. 26 and No. 27, respectively, in the first AVCA Coaches rankings.
Kentucky is expected to unveil the 2020 national title banner ahead of the game against UNI. All games will be broadcast live on the SEC Network+.