Cats, Playing cards was good strategy to spotlight school volleyball
Revealed 5:20 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Katie George is aware of her volleyball.
She was the 2015 Atlantic Coast Convention Participant, Setter and Scholar-Athlete of the Yr 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.
“I believe it’s a big night time. I used to be thrilled once I noticed this match get elevated (to ESPN),” George mentioned after the match. “I really like this rivalry match. With the success of each applications of late I knew it could be a really spectacular match and extra importantly it placed on show what so many school coaches and gamers have been eager 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. Nevertheless, she believes the Kentucky-Louisville matchup confirmed the nation what goes on throughout the common season.
“There are unbelievable matchups in non-conference after which if you get into convention play. It was nice to have the ability to showcase that early within the season for everybody to see,” she mentioned.
George believes ESPN2 can also be a major venue for school volleyball however says there’s something particular about ESPN — and school coaches agree.
“Everybody has that channel (ESPN) memorized on their distant. Persons are all the time flipping to see what’s on. ESPN simply attracts in an even bigger viewers than different platforms,” George mentioned.
“We now 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 school volleyball match of their life and caught round as a result of these women are unbelievable.
“They aren’t solely unbelievable athletes however the physicality we noticed from these two groups I believe was actually particular.”
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 sport with Nebraska.
“It was superior to see Leah on the published as effectively. An amazing participant and definitely a superb voice to set the tone for Kentucky,” George mentioned. “I believed that it was superior to have the published from all angles for everyone who needed to maintain up with the match both on tv or radio. Simply one other plus for volleyball.”
She felt the identical method 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 believe that’s what is exclusive. Kentucky is a hotbed for volleyball,” George mentioned. “The membership coaching, the highschool coaching is great. It breeds excessive stage expertise and I really like when women 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 help as a result of individuals care about volleyball on this state and it’s good to showcase what Kentucky has to supply from a volleyball standpoint nationally.”
Kentucky received the 2020 nationwide championship. Louisville reached the Ultimate 4 final yr. Might one, or each, groups be within the Ultimate 4 this season?
“I believe so. That was some excessive stage volleyball. Louisville misplaced two All-People however they’ve been capable of fill these holes to a level. Kentucky, I believe, is so bodily. When you’re averaging 15 kills per set it’s so nasty,” George,
“I believe if each groups can stay wholesome by means of these non-conference schedules, then iron sharpens iron. The gauntlet that Kentucky goes by means of, they’re solely going to be higher as soon as they get to December.
“These coaches each do a very good job from a scheduling standpoint. They each get actually excessive RPI’s with regards to the postseason and that permits them to host (first spherical NCAA Match video games) and that actually issues. That means that you can kick begin what might be a deep run that we now have seen each of those groups go on the final two years and both one might do it once more this yr.”
Kentucky had nearly 4,000 followers in Memorial Coliseum once more Sunday when it was swept by No. 2 Nebraska.
“Kentucky continues to be studying what works and what would not work. They’ve good gamers and everyone knows Craig Skinner is a good coach. It’s simply taking them a bit of longer to determine issues out this yr however loads of groups would have some setbacks taking part in the schedule they’ve,” George mentioned.