Coaches rank volleyball Wildcats 13th in pre-season; UK highest-rated SEC team
The Wildcats have been voted the No. 13 team in the nation by the American Volleyball Coaches Association Monday. The preseason mark ties a program-best with the 1983 team also achieving a No. 13 ranking. And UK is the highest-ranked Southeastern Conference team.
The Wildcats now have been among ranked squads in 37 polls under head coach Craig Skinner. This marks the third preseason ranking under Skinner, with UK also earning early season recognition in 2009 and 2010.
The Wildcats are coming off one of their strongest seasons, following their second appearance in the Sweet Sixteen in three seasons. UK finished 28-6 last year, with a 17-3 mark in SEC action.
UK is one of just 16 programs in the country to advance to seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments, a program best for consecutive postseason runs. Kentucky concluded the 2011 season ranked No. 13 after advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and giving No. 1 overall seed Texas all it could handle in front of the largest crowd in Memorial Coliseum in the Skinner era.
In his eighth season at the helm, Skinner returns three All-America selections, six starters and nine letterwinners from a season ago. Seven of those returners appeared in all 34 matches during UK’s 2011 run.
Kentucky’s schedule includes four teams ranked in the 2012 preseason poll including a date at No. 4 Nebraska on Sept. 8. Three teams in the SEC were ranked among the top 20 with Tennessee coming in at No. 15 and Florida at No. 18. Seven additional teams on UK’s schedule are receiving votes including three SEC teams in LSU, Texas A&M and Missouri.
The Wildcats will begin the season with the Kentucky Classic on Aug. 24. UK takes on North Carolina, a squad also receiving votes in the opening poll, at 7 p.m. ET. Long Beach State will also travel to the Classic, with a date vs. UK on Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. ET.
2012 Preseason Top 25
1 UCLA (54)
2 Texas (1)
3 Penn State
4 Nebraska (1)
5 Southern California
10 Iowa State
12 Florida State
19 San Diego
21 Northern Iowa
22 Kansas State
24 Ohio State
25 Colorado State