Wildcats volleyball team picked # 21

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team will begin the 2009 campaign ranked No. 21 in the country as voted on by the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I Coaches' poll.

The Wildcats received 288 votes for a No. 21 ranking after capping the 2008 season ranked No. 22. Head Coach Craig Skinner's squad returns five starters and its starting libero to a 26-6 team from a year ago. UK returns 11 letterwinners from last season's squad that finished second overall in the Southeastern Conference and made a school-record fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

UK has three opponents rated in the top-25 in the country with Florida (8), Purdue (19) and Kansas State (22) all garnering a ranking. The Blue and White face Purdue and Kansas State in back-to-back days at the Kansas State tournament Sept. 11 and 12.

Also receiving votes in the preseason poll were LSU, Tennessee and Louisville who the Wildcats will also face this season. The Blue and White will take on LSU and Tennessee on national television when ESPNU broadcasts the first meetings between the Wildcats and both opponents. Kentucky travels to Louisville on Sept. 16.

Reigning NCAA Champion Penn State begins the year at the top of the rankings followed by Final Four participants Texas and Nebraska.

The preseason ranking for the Wildcats is just the fourth such rating in school history. Previously, UK was last ranked in the preseason poll in 1993 when they came in at No. 18. Prior to that, Kentucky was ranked No. 23 (1992), and No. 13 (1983) to begin the season.

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