Young Rebels Face Pair of Rematches Friday, Sunday
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team will play host to a pair of teams currently sitting in the top five of the Southeastern Conference standings on Friday and Sunday when it faces Georgia and No. 17 Kentucky.
The Rebels face Georgia at 6:00 p.m. CT on Friday at the Gillom Sports Center. Ole Miss’ match against Kentucky will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. It is the second time Ole Miss has faced each team this season.
“Georgia is a team that we went five (sets) at their place,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “Kentucky is a team that’s top-20 in the country and playing very well right now. The SEC (grind) continues.”
Friday is “Crazy About Kids” night at the Gillom Sports Center. Fans who print off the coupon from the Rebel Kids Club will get a free Ole Miss slinky. Kids can also get their picture taken with Rebel and fans that are not a part of the Rebel Kids Club will be able to sign up at a discount.
For Sunday’s match against Kentucky it will be “Sundaes on Sunday” as fans will be able to design their own ice cream treats outside of the Gillom Center.
Sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair is averaging 2.52 kills per set in all matches, and a team-best 2.83 kills per set in conference action. Clair also leads Ole Miss with a .316 hitting percentage and a team-high 1.16 blocks per set.
Freshman right side hitter Melanie Crown and freshman setter Aubrey Edie have both seen their production increase in recent weeks. Crow is third on the team in all matches with 2.35 kills per set and is second on the team in SEC play with 2.73 kills per set. Edie notched two double-doubles one week ago and now has a team-high six this season while passing out 9.22 assists per set.
Ty Laporte will be looking for another strong performance against Georgia. The sophomore middle blocker from Irmo, S.C., had a season-high 15 kills against Georgia in Athens earlier this year, and her career-high 20 kills came last year as a freshman, also against Georgia. Laporte currently has a team-high 2.54 kills per set average and is second on the team in hitting percentage (.257) and blocks (0.82 blocks per set).
Ole Miss (13-13, 3-10 SEC) lost a heartbreaking 3-2 (15-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-23, 9-15) match in Athens, Ga., on Oct. 6. Dating back to the 2009 season, Ole Miss and Georgia (18-8, 8-6 SEC) have split their past eight meetings 4-4. Behind a balanced UGA attack, four Bulldogs are averaging between 2.35 and 2.68 kills per set this season, led by senior outside hitter Brittany Northcutt. Defensively, Georgia senior libero Allison Summers leads the Bulldogs and is fifth in the SEC with 4.37 digs per set.
Ole Miss lost to Kentucky (18-6, 10-3 SEC) by a 3-0 count on Oct. 4 in the two teams’ first meeting in Lexington, Ky. The Wildcats enter the weekend ranked in the top five in the conference in hitting percentage (.257), opponent hitting percentage (.187), assists (12.90 per set), kills (13.90 per set) and blocks (2.53 per set). The Wildcats’ leader this season has been senior outside hitter Whitney Billings, who is sixth in the SEC with 3.55 kills per set, 16th with 2.75 digs per set, and also has been a menace at the net with 0.76 blocks per set.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including match recaps, stats and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can also follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
–Metz Camfield, Ole Miss Sports Information