WATCH: Kentucky fans, players and coaches celebrate National Championship

Sports 25 April, 2021 - 09:30pm 37 views

When is the NCAA women's volleyball championship?

The Kentucky Wildcats play the Texas Longhorns in the finals of the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday, April 24, 2021. It's an 8 p.m. start on ESPN2. Kentucky is the tournament's No. 2 seed. Lexington Herald LeaderThe John Clay Podcast: NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament championship match preview

When is the NCAA volleyball championship game?

NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament Semifinals 2021: Live stream, start time, TV channel, how to watch (Thur., April 22) masslive.comNCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament Semifinals 2021: Live stream, start time, TV channel, how to watch (Thur.,

When does Texas play Kentucky volleyball?

Wildcats and Horns meet at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 – The Kentucky Volleyball team will play the Texas Longhorns for the 2020 NCAA Volleyball national championship Saturday night at 8 p.m. from the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska as the Wildcats will seek a first national title in program history. UKAthleticsKentucky to Play Texas for 2020 Volleyball National Championship

Who won Texas or Wisconsin volleyball?

— The University of Wisconsin volleyball team's NCAA championship dreams are on hold once again. The No. 1 seed Badgers saw their quest for the first national title in program history come up short Thursday with a loss to No. 4 Texas, 24-26, 19-25, 23-25 in a national semifinal match at the CHI Health Center Arena. Madison.comTop-ranked Badgers swept out of NCAA volleyball semifinals by Texas

The Wildcats had the nation's most efficient offense this season and, with the exception of a few hiccups early in the first set and the start of the fourth, they were in top form with Stumler and sisters Madi and Avery Skinner leading the way.

After Texas forced a second match point, Stumler hammered a kill the Longhorns had no chance of handling that ended a 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 victory. The Wildcats (24-1) converged on the court and went to their knees in celebration. After exchanging hugs, several players made snow angels in the confetti that had dropped from the ceiling.

Kentucky setter Madison Lilley, the national player of the year, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after finishing with 53 set assists against the Longhorns. Kentucky freshman Madi Skinner had a season-high 19 kills and Avery Skinner had 14 kills and four blocks.

Stumler, who had only two errors on 51 swings, won the battle against Big 12 player of the year Logan Eggleston, who had 21 kills and just one error on 50 swings. Skylar Fields added 16 kills for the Longhorns (27-2), who were in the final for the fifth time in 12 years.

Kentucky's championship also was the Southeastern Conference's first in women's volleyball, and commissioner Greg Sankey was on hand at the CHI Health Center to see it.

The Wildcats' only loss this spring was a five-setter against Florida last month. They lost only two sets in five tournament matches. Fields had five kills and Texas hit .455 with just one hitting error in winning the first set.

Avery Skinner, sensational in the semifinals against Washington, got off to a slow start and had three of the Wildcats' seven hitting errors in the opener. Stumler and the Skinners led Kentucky back in the second set and kept the Wildcats' mojo going in the third.

The Wildcats knocked Texas out of rhythm by mixing deep and short serves. Stumler had six kills in the second set, Avery Skinner had a couple of kills and two blocks, and Stumler ended it with a serve that landed just inside the left corner for her second ace of the set.

Avery and Madi Skinner had back-to-back kills as the Wildcats scored three straight points to take the lead for good in the middle of the third, and Madi finished it with a hammer shot on the second set point. Kentucky had three errors on its first nine swings of the fourth set and was down 6-1 before it clawed back and went ahead 15-13 on two attack errors and a kill by Madi Skinner.

Texas tied the set three times before Kentucky got it to match point. A rare error by Stumler forced a second match point, but there would be no third after Stumbler received a set from Gabby Curry and delivered the finishing cross-court kill.

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Texas vs. Wisconsin: NCAA women's volleyball semifinals | 2020*

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Historic national championship shows 'what Kentucky volleyball stands for'

Courier Journal 25 April, 2021 - 08:10pm

The UK volleyball team capped an unprecedented season with the program's first national championship.

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UK volleyball star Madison Lilly welcomed fans to the bandwagon after backing up her freshman prediction that the Wildcats could win a national title. Louisville Courier Journal

LEXINGTON – By the time UK volleyball star Madison Lilly reached the podium for the post-match press conference following the Wildcats’ first national championship Saturday, she had already seen the images of her fellow students flocking to State Street near campus to celebrate.

“Welcome to the bandwagon, everyone,” she said with a smile. “We’ve been on it, but it’s exciting to see other people on it. Volleyball school.”

The scenes on State Street, complete with burning couches, have generally been reserved for a men’s basketball Final Four, but the volleyball team’s historic run was plenty to give students an excuse for a moment of cathartic release after a trying year.

For Lilly, the National Player of the Year and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and her teammates, their own celebrations as confetti rained down in Omaha, Nebraska were the culmination of an unprecedented run.

With a 3-1 win over Texas, Kentucky became just the 11th program to win a volleyball title since the NCAA Tournament was first held in 1981. The Wildcats are the first SEC program to win a title, ending the league’s lone title drought among the sports it sponsors.

Perhaps no fact better sums up the history made by Kentucky than the fact it brought home the 2020 championship on April 24, 2021.

Volleyball is normally a fall sport, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA pushed all its fall championships to the spring. The SEC and other Power 5 conferences elected to still play conference games in the fall, meaning what is usually a five-month season turned into a seven-month one.

“It’s so hard to do this,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “I don’t know if this was the hardest. It’s got to be the top couple in a time like this.”

Kentucky’s delayed season started in October. The Wildcats won all eight games against SEC foes in the fall before pausing the season for more than two months.

UK carried over its fall form to the spring with four consecutive wins without dropping a single set, but its season was paused again when back-to-back series against South Carolina and Texas A&M were canceled due to COVID-19 issues within those programs.

Skinner’s team showed its resilience again with four more wins after its second pause. The Wildcats’ only loss of the season came on March 19 at No. 7 Florida in five sets, but Kentucky bounced back again with a 3-0 win the next day.

“The grit and the hard work that it took to stay focused every day,” said junior outside hitter Alli Stumler, a Floyds Knobs, Indiana native. “It was almost a year we were in the gym every day saying, ‘OK, are we even going to have our game next weekend? Are we going to have two games or one? Are we going to have all 15 of us or maybe not? Are we going to have a national championship?’ Just a ton of unknowns, but this team is unbelievable, and their mindset is so strong, so tough, mature.”

Kentucky endured one last pause with a two-week break between the end of the regular season and start of the NCAA Tournament, but its dominant form was not slowed again.

UK did not drop a set until the Final Four, beating previously undefeated Western Kentucky, No. 7 seed Purdue and No. 6 seed Washington on the way to the championship game. Kentucky dropped the first set against No. 4 seed Texas in the final, but quickly righted the ship on the way to a 3-1 win that saw it rally from a 6-1 deficit in the decisive final set.

“When everyone is just their best self and gives everything to the team, that’s when great things happen and legacies are left behind and history is made,” Stumler said. “That’s definitely what this team has done over the past few weeks.”

Before Saturday, only one other school east of the Mississippi River had won a national championship.

Few would have predicted Kentucky would have been the program to join traditional power Penn State in that distinction when Skinner was hired as coach in 2004. He ended a 12-season NCAA Tournament drought for the program in his first year on the job in 2005.

Kentucky has reached the NCAA Tournament in each of Skinner’s 16 seasons at the helm. Skinner led the program to its first SEC championship in 2017.

The Wildcats won their fourth consecutive SEC title this year, but with the league’s reputation falling short of its powerhouse status in almost every other sport, there were questions about how that success would translate to the national level.

Kentucky’s dominant run to the title ends those doubts and backs up the confidence of Lilly and fellow senior Gabby Curry, a third-team All-American libero, when they predicted the program would reach this level as freshmen.

“The vision and the motivation to get where we are right now is something that should not be overlooked,” Lilly said. “This isn’t by chance. This is not easy matchups. This is not anything but hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, tears, hours in the gym. For anyone that wants to say it’s anything else can try to do it themselves. This is hard work to ‘t.’

“To be the 11th school to do this, to put Kentucky on the map, to get people to jump on the Kentucky volleyball bandwagon, that’s hard work. No one will ever be able to tell this group differently. This is exactly what Kentucky volleyball stands for. We grind, we get better and we put the hours in. We’re here because of that.”

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UK wins NCAA volleyball title

WSAZ-TV 25 April, 2021 - 08:10pm

Alli Stumler had 26 kills for UK in the win which is their first ever in school and SEC history.

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