LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky Wildcats family was excited to welcome home the volleyball team after winning not only the school’s but also the Southeastern Conference’s first national volleyball championship title. 

What You Need To Know

  • The championship celebration party was hosted by the UK’s athletic department

  • The volleyball team won the school’s and SEC’s first national championship title

  • The team values the community’s continual support

"It’s just been really exciting. Everybody is happy to see our Cats take home the national championship. You know during COVID it’s kind of hard to have fun moments like these. The energy has just been really high,” says UK student Xomie Sukach.

The Kentucky athletics department hosted a championship celebration party inside Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon after the team’s return from Omaha, Nebraska.

Student, faculty, family and friends gathered to remind the team of how proud they made the school, city and state of Kentucky.

UK fans welcome home the national champion Wildcats (Spectrum News 1/Ashley Brown)

“I think it’s the most wonderful thing that’s happened to them. They’ve worked so hard all of these years. Everyone is contributing. The ones even on the bench during practice they worked so hard against some of the girls,” I think that’s made the whole team better,” says Kentucky volleyball fan and grandmother of Lauren Tharp, Linda Hrastinky. 

Kentucky volleyball head coach Craig Skinner says he and his team are living dream. 

"You dream about moments like that, you dream about the opportunity,” said Skinner. "I hope it’s inspiring for other programs that dreams can come true. I have no doubt that we have new fans and people wanting to play our sport,” said Skinner.

After months of training, the team is reaping the reward. 

"We’ve been working so hard at this for what feels like nine months now and to see it finally come to reality it’s amazing. We’ve talked about this for so long we’ve put ourselves in this moment in our heads for so long and so it’s so emotional and so surreal,” says Kentucky volleyball player Azhani Tealer. 

The team values the community’s continual support throughout the season. 

"It’s been so special to have the support that we have and the fans and the boosters and all of it. It makes such a huge difference that a lot of people don’t even understand,” say Kentucky volleyball player and AVCA Player of the Year,  Madison Lilley.