Cats, Playing cards was excellent strategy to spotlight faculty volleyball – The Advocate-Messenger

Cats, Playing cards was excellent strategy to spotlight faculty volleyball

Printed 5:20 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

LARRY VAUGHT

Contributing columnist

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Katie George is aware of her volleyball.

She was the 2015 Atlantic Coast Convention Participant, Setter and Scholar-Athlete of the 12 months and helped Louisville volleyball win three convention championships. Now she works for ESPN and the ACC Community as a sideline reporter/analyst.

She was in Memorial Coliseum final week when nearly 4,000 followers noticed No. 3 Louisville beat then No. 13 Kentucky in a five-set, three-hour match that was proven on ESPN — solely the fourth collegiate girls’s volleyball match on ESPN since 1997 and the primary for each Kentucky and Louisville.

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“I think it is a huge night. I was thrilled when I  saw this match get elevated (to ESPN),” mentioned George after the match. “I love this rivalry match. With the success of both programs of late I knew it would be a very impressive match and more importantly it put on display what so many college coaches and players have been wanting to showcase.”

George, who was the Milwaukee Bucks’ group sideline reporter for the 2018-19 season, is aware of ESPN has proven the nationwide semifinals and title match. Nonetheless, she believes the Kentucky-Louisville matchup confirmed the nation what goes on throughout the common season.

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“There are unbelievable matchups in non-conference and then when you get into conference play. It was great to be able to showcase that early in the season for everyone to see,” she mentioned.

George believes ESPN2 can also be a big venue for school volleyball however says there’s something particular about ESPN — and faculty coaches agree.

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“Everyone has that channel (ESPN) memorized on their remote. People are always flipping to see what is on. ESPN just draws in a bigger audience than other platforms,” George mentioned.

“Now we have so many volleyball matches on tv and may, however to have a premier slot like that (for Kentucky-Louisville) makes all of the distinction on the earth. I used to be getting tweets from random followers saying that they had by no means watched a university volleyball match of their life and caught round as a result of these ladies are  unimaginable.

“They are not only unbelievable athletes but the physicality we saw from these two teams I think was really special.”

George was on one finish of the press desk working as an ESPN analyst. On the opposite finish was former UK All-American Leah Edmond because the UK Radio Community analyst — the identical function she had for Sunday’s recreation with Nebraska.

“It was awesome to see Leah on the broadcast as well. A tremendous player and certainly a good voice to set the tone for Kentucky,” George mentioned. “I thought that it was awesome to have the broadcast from all angles for everybody who wanted to keep up with the match either on television or radio. Just another plus for volleyball.”

She felt the identical means about so many former Kentucky highschool gamers being on the court docket for the 2 groups. Kentucky sophomore setter Eleanor Beavin performed at Louisville Mercy. Reserves Audrey Whitworth of Breckinridge County, Lane Jenkins of Lexington Lafayette and Kelly Franxman of Covington Scott.

Alexa Hendricks and Anna DeBeer, each of Louisville Assumption, and Elena Scott of Louisville Mercy are all key gamers for the Cardinals and coach Dani Kelly

“I think that is what is unique. Kentucky is a hotbed for volleyball,” George mentioned. “The membership coaching, the highschool coaching is great. It breeds excessive degree expertise and I really like when ladies keep in state and play.

“You see that at Kentucky, you see that at Louisville, you see that at Western Kentucky, even at Morehead State. With that comes support because people care about volleyball in this state and it is nice to showcase what Kentucky has to offer from a volleyball standpoint nationally.”

Kentucky received the 2020 nationwide championship. Louisville reached the Ultimate 4 final 12 months. Might one, or each, groups be within the Ultimate 4 this season?

“I think so. That was some high level volleyball. Louisville lost two All-Americans but they have been able to fill those holes to a degree. Kentucky, I think, is so physical. When you are averaging 15 kills per set it is so nasty,” George,

“I believe if each groups can stay wholesome via these non-conference schedules, then iron sharpens iron. The gauntlet that Kentucky goes via, they’re solely going to be higher as soon as they get to December.

“These coaches both do a really good job from a scheduling standpoint. They both get really high RPI’s when it comes to the postseason and that  allows them to host (first round NCAA Tournament games) and that really matters. That allows you to kick start what could be a deep run that we have seen both of these teams go on the last two years and either one could do it again this year.”

Kentucky had nearly 4,000 followers in Memorial Coliseum once more Sunday when it was swept by No. 2 Nebraska.

“Kentucky is still learning what works and what doesn’t work. They have good players and we all know Craig Skinner is a great coach. It is just taking them a little longer to figure things out this year but a lot of teams would have some setbacks playing the schedule they have,” George mentioned.

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