Head coach Craig Skinner will be keeping his Kentucky team on their toes all season long as they have a schedule loaded with strong RPI teams.
Awaiting the Wildcats are 23 teams that finished the 2016 season with RPIs better than 190, with 10 of those in the top 50 and another four in the top 100.
Teams featured in the non-conference are Cincinnati, Creighton, Kansas, Marquette, Northern Iowa, Utah, and USC; all are teams who made it to the 2016 NCAA tournament.
Opening the season, Kentucky will host the Bluegrass Battle which begins with Pac-12 opponent Utah. A day later, they will face Arkansas State and Cincinnati.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Wildcats will play a tournament with Creighton, Northern Iowa, and USC. As part of a four-year rotation, this year’s tournament will take place in Omaha, Nebraska with Creighton being the host this year.
The Wildcats will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they will take on Kansas, a team that made it to the second round. The next day, they will face Loyola-Chicago and host Marquette, a team that finished second in the Big East. Kentucky and Marquette faced off last season in Lexington with Marquette taking the match in four sets.
Rounding out the non-conference are matches against Louisville and Kennesaw State. Kentucky took the against Louisville last year in a sweep at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville.
They will face all 12 SEC opponents, but in unbalanced schedule the Wildcats will only face Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Tennessee once. This means that they will play Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, and Auburn twice, among others. Of the top 6 teams in the SEC standings last season, the Wildcats only miss the double round robin on one: #2 Missouri.
Kentucky was recently voted to place second in the SEC according to the preseason poll where they were one vote shy of tying for first place with Florida. They had three players voted to the preseason all-SEC team in middle Kaz Brown, libero Ashley Dusek, and outside Leah Edmond.
Along with those three players, the Wildcats return starters in setter Olivia Dailey, outside Darian Mack, opposite Brooke Morgan, and middle Emily Franklin. They will welcome a top rated recruiting class that includes setter Madison Lilley, libero Gabby Curry, middle Kendyl Paris, and outside Avery Skinner. A fifth player joined in the spring in Morehead State transfer outside Meredith Jewell.
As part of the SEC, Kentucky will have their home matches and conference matches televised on SEC Network or SEC Network+ which can also be accessed on ESPN3 (with cable provider).
vs. Western Kentucky (Scrimmage) – Lexington, Kentucky
vs. Utah – Lexington, Kentucky
vs Arkansas St. – Lexington, Kentucky
vs Cincinnati – Lexington, Kentucky
at Creighton – Omaha, Nebraska
vs USC – Omaha, Nebraska
vs UNI – Omaha, Nebraska
vs Kansas – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
vs Loyola-Chicago – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
at Marquette – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
vs Louisville – Lexington, Kentucky
vs Kennesaw State – Lexington, Kentucky
at Missouri (SEC) – Columbia, Missouri
vs LSU (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
at Mississippi State (SEC) – Starkville, Mississippi
vs Alabama (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
vs Auburn (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
vs Texas A&M (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
at Florida (SEC) – Gainesville, Florida
vs Tennessee (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
at LSU (SEC) – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
at Texas A&M (SEC) – College Station, Texas
vs Florida (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
vs South Carolina (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
at Alabama (SEC) – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
at Auburn (SEC) – Auburn, Alabama
vs Georgia (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
vs Ole Miss (SEC) – Lexington, Kentucky
at Arkansas (SEC) – Fayetteville, Arkansas
at Georgia (SEC) – Athens, Georgia