Kentucky Volleyball: Wildcats make historic first Final Four appearance

Rupp Arena
Rupp Arena /

It’s been long over-do, but the Kentucky Volleyball team will be making their first-ever Final Four. It’s a perfect way to cap an incredible season, but they’re not done just yet!

For the first time in the programs’ history, the Kentucky Volleyball team will be making its first Final Four appearance. It comes on the heels of an impressive NCAA Tournament run.

Recapping Kentucky Volleyball’s Impressive Run

In the Round of 32, the team’s first tournament game, Kentucky would face UNLV. Fortunately, an upset wasn’t in the cards that day as the Cats took care of business and swept the Rebels 25-16, 25-19, 25-18. The teams dominating performance came from some strong performances by a few key Freshmen, Madi Skinner, Elise Goetzinger, and Riah Walker.

After their successful tournament opener, the Cats would face off with an undefeated in-state opponent, Western Kentucky. Once again, the Cats defeated their opponent with ease. They swept the Hilltoppers 25-20, 25-16, 25-10, even after the opening serve was delayed by more than an hour being the final match of the night once again.

Onto where we’re at now, Kentucky took Purdue to task Monday night, punching their ticket to the Final Four. Although they won at the hands of a sweep, there was some drama, most notably in the third and final set.

After Kentucky (22-1) took a significant lead to start by winning the first six points of the set, Purdue rallied and closed the gap. In a calming, stoic mood, the Cats responded and finished Purdue off with a 25-23, 25-20, 25-16 victory.

Coach Craig Skinner could not have been happier with his team’s effort and outcome after the game.

"“Just super proud of our team, getting this done and the first-ever Final Four for Kentucky is an amazing accomplishment for our program. So many players came before that are supporting us. That was for all of the former players and Kentucky Wildcats out there that have been behind us for years.”"

A wild celebration ensued both on the court and in the locker room, but their work isn’t done yet.

Some Pleasing Personal Perspective

As a lifelong Kentucky fan, I can honestly say that watching the volleyball team’s performance thus far has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had. It filled the void left by the Kentucky Basketball team not competing in their NCAA Tournament earlier this year.

When Kentucky went down early to Purdue 11-6, my nerves cranked up as if I watched the football or basketball team. I couldn’t stomach it. As someone who never watched much volleyball, the team’s excitement and energy drew me in and got me invested in the game immediately.

If you’re someone who doesn’t watch volleyball and loves the Cats, turn on the team’s Final Four game this Thursday. I promise you’ll be hooked and won’t want it to end.

The Road Ahead

Next on the docket in Omaha is No. 6 Washington. Kentucky will face off with them Thursday at 7 pm ET on ESPN. If they edge Washington, Kentucky will face the winner of No. 4 Texas and No. 4 Wisconsin for the National Championship on Saturday. The last time the Wildcats were in the NCAA tournament two years ago they fell to the Huskies. Good luck, ladies!