UK Volleyball will face WKU tonight at 10 p.m. on ESPN2 in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Aritcle written by:Zack GeogheganZack Geoghegan


<small>(UK Athletics)<small>
[caption id="attachment_348266" align="aligncenter" width="1440"] (UK Athletics)[/caption] An in-state foe separates Kentucky Volleyball from advancing to the Elite 8. Sunday night on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. EST, the No. 2 Wildcats (20-1) will take on the No. 18 Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (23-0) in the Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Kentucky made it past the opening round match against UNLV with an easy straight-set victory while WKU managed to beat 15-seeded Washington State. The two sides have met multiple times over the years for exhibition matches, but have not gone head-to-head in a meaningful game since the 2017 NCAA Tournament in which UK rallied from an early two-set deficit to steal the win inside Memorial Coliseum. "Western Kentucky is a very good team, undefeated," Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner said on Saturday. "Certainly, got a battle ahead of us tomorrow night. Should be an interesting Sunday evening." WKU is off to a program-best 23-0 perfect start, winning 69 of the 75 possible sets they played in this season. The Hilltoppers' opening NCAA Tournament opponent, Washington State, was the first team that took them to five sets all year. This is the 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament for WKU--all of them under head coach Travis Hudson--and they have posted an overall record of 6-12. "People ask, what is it like to play Western, from the same state. If Western had only started getting good the last couple of years, it might be (an advantage) but they've been really good for 25 years," Skinner added. "Travis and their coaching staff do a great job. They have a somewhat simple system, but a very effective system and they run it really well. It's just time to make plays and I think they'll feel the same way." During UK's opening round win over UNLV, Madi and Avery Skinner lead with 11 and 10 kills each, with Alli Stumler matching Avery at 10 while also adding eight digs. Ahzani Tealer had a nice game, as well, with nine kills and four blocks, while Madison Lilley was, of course, the engine of the vessel, finishing with 44 assists and five digs. It's a late start, so get some afternoon coffee ready and stay up for the chance to watch UK make it to the Elite 8.

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