#16 WKU to host defending national v'ball champ UK Thursday
By Jessica Leifheit, WKU Sports Information

Posted on August 18, 2021 7:32 PM


Volleyball fans in the Commonwealth are in for a treat Thursday night as WKU and Kentucky square off in a top 25 showdown exhibition. There’s no doubt most fans would pay to see the teams meet again but the 2021 preseason tune-up will be free admission for everyone Thursday. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.

Free parking will be available in Parking Structure 2 – located between E.A. Diddle Arena and Houchens Industries – LT Smith Stadium. Gates 1 & 2 will be open for fans to enter the arena. Concessions will also be available from the second-floor stand Thursday evening.

As announced by the university, everyone on WKU's campuses will be expected to wear a mask indoors until further notice.

For the safety of student-athletes and fans, autographs and pictures will not be available with the team at Thursday’s event.

This marks the fourth season in the last five years the Wildcats and Hilltoppers have met in a preseason exhibition with locations altering each year. During that span the squads have also met twice in the NCAA Tournament. The Red and White will enter the match up with their highest-ever AVCA Preseason ranking at No. 16 while the reigning national champion, Kentucky, was ranked third in the coaches’ poll.

Fourteen players return to represent WKU again this season while four student-athletes will be representing the Red and White for the first time. With 18 players on the roster, the 2021 team is the largest in program history.

Exhibition play will not strictly adhere to the usual match format. Both teams have agreed to play in a cooperative format so each side's entire bench can gain valuable match setting playing time. To help both programs gain beneficial experience during the preseason meeting, extra sets will potentially be added while scoring may be adjusted as well. Changes will be up to the coaches' discretion and will be relayed to fans.

WKU Volleyball has earned the highest AVCA Preseason Coaches’ Poll ranking in program history, coming in at No. 16 in Monday’s rankings. The Hilltoppers have now ranked in the top 25 in 10 of the last 11 seasons and received votes for 12 consecutive campaigns.

The Hilltoppers open the 2021 campaign on Friday, Aug. 27 at the Notre Dame-hosted Golden Dome Invitational with a 10 a.m. CT tilt against Oakland. After playing three matches up in South Bend, WKU will host its home opener on Tuesday, Aug. 31 against Belmont.

Flexible season ticket packages are on sale now and include 13 vouchers that fans can use at any regular-season home match in whatever fashion they choose. Fans can opt for the traditional use of one ticket for all 13 home matches or bring a group to a few matches. Flexible ticket packages are available for $50 at WKUTickets.com, by calling 1-800-5-BIGRED or by coming to the WKU Ticket Office during regular business hours.

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