UK Volleyball gets NCAA Host Berth

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky volleyball team was selected to host the First and Second Rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Memorial Coliseum for the second consecutive season. Tenth-ranked Kentucky's first round matchup is against Michigan State at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Playing in the 5 p.m. match is No. 18 Oregon and Clemson. The Ducks are the tournament's 14th overall seed. The two teams that advance from the first round matches will meet on Saturday at 7 p.m.

"We're excited to be hosting the First and Second Rounds of the tournament again this season," Kentucky coach Craig Skinner said. "We have an enthusiastic fan base and they will get to see some great volleyball matches this weekend. Michigan State will be a good challenge for us, and we are looking forward to it."

This marks the fifth consecutive season the Wildcats (27-4, 17-3) have been selected to appear in the NCAA Tournament. Last year's four straight selections was a school record, which makes Skinner the only Kentucky coach to lead his team to post-season play in every season he has coached.

Kentucky captured the Southeastern Conference Eastern Divisional title and placed second overall in the league standings. UK's 27 victories in 2009 are the seventh most in school history. Under Skinner the Blue and White has increased its win total in each of his five seasons at the helm.

UK's first round match-up is against Michigan State (17-15, 5-15 Big Ten) which finished 10th overall in the Big Ten regular season. The Spartans posted impressive early season victories against Southern California and Illinois – both ranked No. 12 in the nation at the time Michigan State handed the squads a loss. Michigan State is led by four players who average over 2.35 kills per set. Megan Schatzle leads the offense with 2.99 kills per set and Mischelle Nelson holds the top hitting percentage with a .326 clip. Natalie Emro has dished out over 1,260 assists this season while Allyson Karaba leads the team with 4.21 digs per set.

Also in the Lexington pod is the NCAA Tournament's 14th overall seed in Oregon (19-9, 9-9 Pac-10). The Ducks finished sixth overall in the Pac-10 standings, but finished its season strong with wins over No. 7 UCLA and No. 4 Washington in two of its last three matches. Oregon began the season by rattling off 10 consecutive victories including a toppling of No. 9 Minnesota. Oregon owns wins over five top-25 ranked teams this season. The Ducks are paced offensively by Sonja Newcombe who averages 4.34 kills per frame on .286 hitting. Nevena Djordjevic passes out 12.25 assists per frame to a squad that averages 14.59 kills per stanza. Oregon also turns away an average of 2.42 blocks per set.

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