By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels volleyball team welcome in the Kentucky Wildcats into the Gillom Center on Wednesday. The first serve is set for 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.
Ole Miss is off to a 12-0 start to the 2021 season after a 3-1 win over Auburn to open up conference action. Ole Miss started off slow dropping the first set 25-20 yet showed momentum staving off five straight AU set points. It was all Ole Miss from there on out as the Rebels controlled the match with Anna Bair racking up 18 kills and Kylee McLaughlin notching her fourth double-double of the year with 51 assists and 11 digs.
“Pretty good start to SEC play, beating an Auburn team at Auburn,” head coach Kayla Banwarth said. “Their program is kind of in the same place we are, so it was nice to get that road win to start off conference. Things are just going to get more difficult from here on.
Kentucky (8-3, 1-0) concluded with the non-conference season with a record of 7-3, finishing out the slate with a 3-2 win over No. 16 Stanford in Lexington. UK opened up SEC play with a 3-0 win over Missouri Friday night from Lexington with three Wildcats finishing with double-digit kills.
“I want to see a great start like we just talked about. I want to see them dialed in on their control-ables, being communication, teammate ship, effort, being in the correct spots on defense, executing what our game plan is,” Banwarth said. “Those to me are all control-ables and if we execute all those things, I think we could have a pretty good week. If we don’t then we are going to struggle but those are the things I would expect from my team.”
The Wildcats are looking to win their fifth straight SEC title, after returning two AVCA All-Americans including first-team All-American outside hitter Ali Stumler and second-team All-American middle blocker Ahzani Tealer. UK is led offensively by sophomore outside hitter Madi Skinner, averaging 3.95 kills per set.
This will be the 61st all-time meeting between Ole Miss and Kentucky. UK has controlled the matchup in recent history against the Rebels winning 18 straight matches. Ole Miss last took down the Wildcats back in 2010, in a 3-0 sweep in Lexington.