Category Archives: UK Sports

Camp Cal Behind Them UK Enters Part 3 Of 2014-15 Season This Week

Stoops & Assistants Begin Final Phase Of 2015 Recruiting Class

By – Ira D. Combs – Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.

Most college basketball experts will tell you that each season is divided into (5) mini seasons which consist of ( pre-season practice , non conference games , conference regular season , conference post season , NCAA tourney )  so this week UK enters the SEC regular season portion of the schedule .

Coach Cal - photo by Tammie Brown
Coach Cal – photo by Tammie Brown

 The Cats are ranked # 1 and considered a prohibitive favorite to win the SEC regular season title and quite possibly run the table at 18 – 0 which if this materializes would put them at 31 – 0 entering the SEC post season tourney in Nashville , Tenn. and on schedule for the ultimate prize of a 40 – 0 undefeated season and NCAA championship # 9 . So far there has been only a couple mild bumps in the road . First was the season ending ACL injury which sidelined Alex Poythress then second was not as much a bump in the road as it was the first physical hard fought challenge on the road with the possibility of spoiling the undefeated season . At this point it appears Poythress injury can be overcome and the Louisville game while much like a scrum match has been placed in the W column and everyone can now move forward .

 

So the big question during Camp Cal the last 10 days has been now that all the marquee games (Kansas-Texas-UCLA-North Carolina-Louisville) are behind them and the SEC once again not getting much respect from the pollsters what can John Calipari do to keep this team hungry ?

 

My guess is and what I would recommend is to use what everybody doesn’t want to talk about as a motivation factor . Tell the players you want to do something special be a part of history then let’s talk about going undefeated and keep it in the forefront and fresh on their minds before they take the court for every game . Your playing for a program that deals constantly with being placed in the national media’s eye , the majority of your roster has already experienced playing on the biggest stage . The UK freshman like most of recent years have already been exposed to more big time game day atmospheres thru the all star game circuit than most juniors and seniors .

 

I can’t think of anything else that would keep the players minds from wondering and putting an emphasis on attention to detail more than constantly reminding them they are square in the middle of doing something very special , another words use the pressure don’t let the pressure consume you .

 

As far as competition the upcoming (2) months I’m not buying into what others are saying especially on the road across the south . When Kentucky arrives at places like ( Florida – LSU – Arkansas – Georgia ) it’s very much like when the Alabama football team rolls into town during the fall , everybody raises there game a level . More 3’s fall , more rebounds bounce into the home teams hands , and the whistle mysteriously turns in favor of the home team unlike Rupp Arena .

 

Everything taken into consideration it does appear that this UK team is special enough to pull off this 40 – 0 miracle season but it has to go out every nighthungry with a fresh mind and true sense of purpose because it will be the world against the blue team , at least until they run into Duke .

 

UK Football Hits Final Leg Of 2015 Recruiting Season

 

Mark Stoops and his assistants are drifting into the final leg of the 2015 recruiting season and must close the deal on about 17 verbal commitments from the past year then reel in a couple recruits who have not yet made their decision .

 

The most coveted recruit still on the board at this point resides just 25 minutes down the road in Richmond , Ky. , Damien Harris who many consider the # 1 running back in the entire country is set to make his decision this coming saturday and Harris has made it known that the winner will come from ( UK – Alabama – Ohio State ) . Many think Stoops has done his homework and will get the coveted prize come signing day but until it happens it’s still pure speculation . Marcus Lewis a 6’ 2” safety rated #154 in ESPN’s top 300 from the Washington D.C. area is still uncommitted and UK is reportedly squarely in the mix .

 

Stoops already has verbal commitments from (2) ESPN top 300 players in safety Marcus Walker and LB Eli Brown , both should have an opportunity to play as freshman due to a severe lack of quality depth at both of their positions . As always there will be a surprise or two on signing day but if Stoops can pull in the (4) above mentioned recruits along with the 17 previous verbal commitments it should provide UK with another top 20 class like last year and maybe it’s all time best .

 

You can go online to www.combsbrothersonkysports.com for more coverage of UK basketball and football as well as KHSAA basketball and football . Also you can follow me on twitter at @combsbrothers5  .

Cals Boys & Mitchells Gals On A Unique Ride

By – Ira D. Combs – Tri State Sports Media Service Inc. 

As we scan across the USA this holiday season there are not too many colleges or universities enjoying the combined success in college basketball as the University of Kentucky .   

John Calipari has his team atop all the men’s college basketball rankings as the consensus #1 team with only two real solid challenges left before the calendar turns to the new year . The first is coming up this saturday against UCLA (3:30 on CBS) at the United Center in Chicago , Ill. where I’m sure Big Blue Nation will make the trip north up 1-65 and give them a decided neutral court advantage . The following saturday Dec. 27th at the Yum Center in Louisville , Ky. many college basketball gurus think will be the Cats first real test of being bumped from the unbeaten ranks when they take on Rick Pitino’s # 4 ranked Louisville Cardinals .  

With first semester classes behind them and no more NCAA 20 hours per week rule holding them back you can be sure both Cal and Rick as well as their trusty assistants will be burning the midnight oil in the film room and their players will be practicing , eating , sleeping , and  dreaming basketball 24/7 .  

Other than a matchup between UK – UL in the NCAA title game the next best scenario would be meeting in the regular season as unbeatens at  # 1 and # 2 . That scenario has come about as close to happening this year as any time in the past but to come true U-Conn has to bump Duke from # 2 on Dec. 21st then UNLV must bump Arizona from # 3 on Dec. 23rd . I doubt either will happen but then again I never thought I’d live long enough to see the day Gardner Webb would be UK in Rupp Arena . 

Only one thing I’m sure of come Dec. 27th and that’s with the Yum Center having 21 different concessions/venues where you can purchase alcohol you can be sure the vast majority in attendance will hit the hard sauce either in celebration or deep sorrow . I wouldn’t want to be in or around the River City the evening of Dec. 27th nor will I be . 

Matthew Mitchell and his UK Hoops team’s holiday schedule will be similar in ways (especially the extra practice routines) but Santa has already provided Mitchell and his gal’s with an early present when they came from 16 points down at the Yum Center last sunday and beat the Lady Cards by (9) points . Now Mitchell and his lady hoopsters set their sights on a Dec. 21st date with Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium (3:00 o’clock on ESPN2) before they embark on another tough SEC regular season schedule that with a solid showing (I’m thinking at least 12 – 4) can propel them into a # 1 or # 2 seed for the NCAA Women’s version of March Madness . Remember starting in 2016 Rupp Arena will play host to (3) consecutive years (2016-2017-2018) of an NCAA Women’s regional round which if not this year hopefully in 2016 that will propel the UK Hoops team into that ultimate Final Four that Matthew Mitchell has so coveted in recent years . 

Regardless of how everything plays out in March for either Wildcat program you have to be pleased this holiday season to be a member of the Big Blue Nation . 

Special Notes Of Interest For Wildcat Fans 

# 1 – Beginning (Mon.) Dec. 15th at 9:00 a.m. 2015 UK season football tickets will go on sale for the general public now that the new seat selection process for CWS is completed .  For obtaining season tickets you can go online to   www.TheNewCws.com and click the button that says (Buy New Season Tickets) or call the Joe Craft Center ticket office at 1 – 800 – 928 – 2287 . 

# 2 – Tony Delk , arguably one of the top 2 or 3 Wildcat all time 3 point shooters will have his jersey number retired into the rafters of Rupp Arena on (Sat.) Feb. 21st against Auburn . Delk was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 . Most consider having your jersey retired by a school it’s highest honor to an athlete . Any remaining tickets for this game will go on sale at www.ukathletics.com about 10 to 12 days before this game . 

# 3 – UK and UCLA announced last week that the two historic men’s basketball programs have signed a contract to play each other in a home and home series beginning Dec. 3rd , 2015 in historic Pauley Pavilion where John Wooden made the Bruins famous then the following year Dec. 3rd , 2016 the Bruins will make their first ever appearance in historic Rupp Arena . Steve Alford one of Bobby Knight’s favorite players is the head coach at UCLA presently and agreed to the terms with John Calipari .

UK Football Launches Interactive iPhone App

UK football releases interactive new app featuring interactive content, social media, etc.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fans of the University of Kentucky football program can now follow the Wildcats right at their fingertips as UK has released an iPhone application featuring interactive content, social media and more.

The app, which can be downloaded by visiting www.ukfbapp.com, features a social media wall, organizing all Kentucky football social media platforms in one place, including @UKStoopsTroops on Twitter and Instagram, Kentucky Football on Facebook and KYWildcatsTV on YouTube. The app also gives fans a look inside Kentucky football with easy access to tickets, schedules and more.

An exciting feature of the app is the UK Power Optix, which works similar to a QR code reader. The UK Power Optix scans images using the iPhone camera and directs fans to videos associated with that image (images attached can be scanned for videos.)

The app was developed by JumpForward in conjunction with UK football’s social media hub at www.ukstoopstroops.com. JumpForward provides custom software and fanatical customer support to help college athletics departments reach the goals of their strategic plan.  JumpForward’s Unified Athletics™ Department provides a single platform for coaches, student-athletes, and the entire athletics department staff to share access-based information, create paperless forms workflows, and communicate with the rest of the department.

Last month, UK Athletics announced a new social-centric mobile app that enhances the game day experience. The Kentucky Gameday App is packed with robust social, on-campus and stadium features that enhance the game-day experience by delivering free live game audio; real-time Instagram and Twitter feeds from the team; the official game-day guide with key times, events and need-to-know information including stadium maps and parking to plan the day; enhanced location-aware maps for fans attending both home and away games; live conference and top 25 scores, real-time stats; opt-in alerts for weather updates, pre-game events, play-by-play information and more.

For the latest on the Kentucky football team, follow @UKFootball on Twitter or University of Kentucky Football on Facebook.

VOLLEYBALL – Wildcats Fall in Top-25 Road Battle, 3-1 at Texas A&M

After 1-1 roadtrip, UK returns home to host Tennessee Wednesday

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – The No. 16 Kentucky volleyball team dropped a top-25 matchup on the road to No. 24 Texas A&M, 3-1 (22-25, 24-26, 25-17, 16-25), Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena.

The Wildcats fall to 18-4 and 8-2 in Southeastern Conference play, while Texas A&M extends its winning streak to three and improves to 14-6, 6-3 in SEC competition.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t respond the way that we needed to,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “In a match on the road, against a team that was executing at a high level, we needed to make some stops defensively. Give credit to A&M for executing at the level that they were. We need to do a better job of creating breaks for ourselves and creating opportunities to score, both offensively and defensively.”

Sophomore Anni Thomasson posted her 11th double-double of the season and third in the last three matches with 12 kills and 10 digs. Senior Lauren O’Conner led UK with 19 kills on .421 hitting while senior Jackie Napper led the defensive effort with 20 digs.

Kentucky returns home to host rival Tennessee on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. Broadcast on ESPNU, the match between the two SEC rivals is the annual DanceBlue Match. To support the on-campus organization DanceBlue, the team will raise awareness and money to benefit children with pediatric cancer who are treated at UK’s Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinic.

Freshman Kaz Brown had eight kills and two block assists, while junior Shelby Workman recorded seven kills along with 11 digs. Junior Sara Schwarzwalder added five kills with a team-high-tying four block assists.

Junior setter Morgan Bergren dished out 42 assists and added five kills. Bergren also tied for the team lead with four blocks in addition to having 10 digs.

Also defensively, freshman Ashley Dusek had a career-high nine digs as UK posted 67 in the match. Bergren and Schwarzwalder accounted for four block assists each, helping the Wildcats to six rejections in the match.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third set en route to a 25-17 win. Texas A&M rallied to tie the set at 5-5, and again at seven-all and 8-8, but each time Kentucky responded. Already playing at another level in the third set, UK stepped it up another notch with the set tied at eight. The Wildcats scored 13 of the next 15 points, highlighted by a 7-0 run to break it open at 21-10. Five players had kills in the stretch, including two each by Bergren, Thomasson and O’Conner, while Napper added a service ace. The two teams traded the next four points to make it 23-12, and after A&M cut UK’s lead to seven at 24-17, Workman put the set away with a kill for the 25-17 victory.

Kentucky hit .244 with 17 kills in the set and held A&M to .116 hitting with 11 kills. O’Conner posted five kills while Thomasson had four in the frame. Defensively, Workman and Napper each had six of UK’s 24 digs.

UK fell in a tightly-contested first set, 25-22. Kentucky trailed early, but fought back to tie it at 4-4 and again at 8-8 on a Brown kill. UK evened it up again at 9-9 and 10-10 on an O’Conner kill and took its first lead of the match at 12-11. The Wildcats extended their advantage to two at 14-12 on two Aggie errors. Texas A&M climbed back to tie the set at 16-16 though and regained the lead on the next point. Bergren’s first kill of the match tied the set at 17-17, but the Aggies responded with a 3-0 run. Trailing 21-18, Brown recorded a kill and Dusek a service ace to cut the deficit to one at 21-20, but UK could not get any closer.

UK opened with a 4-2 lead in the second set, with the help of three Aggie errors. Texas A&M answered with a 4-0 run to take a 6-4 lead, but Kentucky rallied with a 3-0 run of their own to regain the lead at 7-6. A&M regained the advantage at 10-8, but down 11-9, UK went on a 3-0 run. The run, led by a kill and two aces, all from Workman, gave UK a 12-11 lead. The Wildcats lost the lead but quickly took it back at 18-15 with the next four points, capped by a Brown kill on a free ball. Texas A&M climbed back to claim a 20-19 advantage, but it would not last. A Thomasson kill and a block by Bergren and Schwarzwalder put the Wildcats ahead 22-21, the first two points of a 4-0 swing. The Aggies though, scored the final five points for the 26-24 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Texas A&M opened with a 6-3 lead in the fourth set, which it extended to six at 9-4. Out of a timeout, the Thomasson recorded a kill to cut the Wildcats’ deficit to five at 9-5, but UK could get no closer. UK hit .167 with 11 kills in the final frame, led by O’Conner’s five and Thomasson’s three. Thomasson added six digs, while Dusek had four. Thomasson and Brown assisted on UK’s one block in the set.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.

VOLLEYBALL – Wildcats Suffer Heartbreaking Loss to LSU

 

UK had three players in double-figures, Thomasson with 21 digs

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 12th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 (25-21, 25-15, 24-26, 25-9, 16-14) five-set loss to LSU on Sunday in front of 1,668 fans in Memorial Coliseum. The loss snapped an 11-match winning streak for the Wildcats.

“Credit LSU for being aggressive in sets three and four,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “We had to claw our way back in set five and gave ourselves a chance to win, but didn’t capitalize. Our intensity and aggressiveness in sets three and four wasn’t where it needs to be against a very good LSU team. We’re going to have to find out how to get that back in practice this week.

“Our floor defense was not where it needed to be against their pin hitters,” Skinner said. “There were too many points on their opportunities.”

UK falls to 17-3 on the season and 7-1 against Southeastern Conference foes. LSU improves to 10-7 overall and 5-3 against league opponents while extending its winning-streak to five matches. Kentucky will be on the road for both matches next weekend with dates at Arkansas (Oct. 24) and No. 20 Texas A&M (Oct. 26). The match vs. the Aggies is set for a live broadcast on the SEC Network at Noon ET.

Three Wildcats reached double-figures in the kills column with senior Lauren O’Conner earning 15 kills and added four blocks. Junior Shelby Workman added 13 with nine digs. Sophomore Anni Thomasson had 10 kills and 21 digs and has now logged 20 or more digs in a home match vs. the Tigers in every season of her career.

Junior setter Morgan Bergren logged 50 assists, six kills, seven digs and a team-high six blocks. Freshman Kaz Brown added eight kills on a .500 hitting clip with five blocks. Junior Sara Schwarzwalder added seven kills.

Senior Jackie Napper posted 16 digs, while sophomore Kelsey Wolf had nine and freshman Ashley Dusek with a career-high eight.

In the decisive fifth frame, LSU opened the scoring with two-straight kills and then capitalized on consecutive Kentucky miscues for a 4-0 advantage.  Following a timeout, Thomasson scored UK’s first point of the set with a kill to end the quick start by the Tigers. Dusek saved another point with two spectacular defensive plays and Kayla Tronick came up with her first kill of the season to make the score 4-2 in favor of the visitors. LSU followed with a kill of its own to take a three-point lead once again.

Schwarzwalder teamed up with Bergren for a block and then the duo combined for a kill to bring UK within one at 6-5. Following a timeout, LSU quickly recaptured a multi-point advantage. The Tigers held an 8-5 lead into the switching of benches.

Brown and Bergren teamed up for a block, followed by a kill from O’Conner as UK scored three of four points to pull to within one at 9-8, forcing the Tigers into a timeout. Following the timeout, the Tigers tooled the block and once again reclaimed a two-point lead.

UK’s freshman middle blocker, Brown, once again came up with a huge hammer to set a new career-best mark in that category. Kentucky’s defense forced the Tigers into an erroneous attack to tie the score at 10 apiece.

The teams swapped points until LSU was able to capture a two-point lead yet again with a block at 13-11. Following a timeout Workman came up with a kill off the block, but LSU earned match point with a kill of its own. A service error saved match point for UK and Thomasson tied the match at 14 apiece with a kill.

A kill for the Tigers gave the visitors their third match point of the set. LSU pulled off the upset with a kill of UK’s block to win the final set by a 16-14 lead.

In the first set, LSU earned an early 3-0 lead to begin the match, before Schwarzwalder and Bergren teamed up for a block to score UK’s first point of the afternoon. The block ignited a 3-0 run by the Cats which was capped by a monstrous kill from Brown off of an overpass by the Tigers. LSU responded with a 3-0 spurt of its own. Another Brown kill enabled the Wildcats to tie the score at eight apiece. UK took its first lead of the match on an erroneous attack by the visitor’s at 9-8.

 

A back-and-forth battle ensued until a Thomasson kill lifted UK to its largest lead of the frame at 15-12 entering the media timeout. Following the break, an LSU miscue extended the UK run. Thomasson smoked one down the line to lift the Blue and White to a 19-15 lead, and the Tigers opted for a timeout.  A service error by the Tigers gave UK set point at 24-20, but the visitors were able to fend off the Cats until Brown came up with the clinching-point at 25-22.

The Wildcats logged 17 kills on a .333 hitting percentage and added five blocks in the victory. Thomasson had six kills on a .667 attacking percentage, while Brown had four hammers with an .800 clip. Bergren was in on four of UK’s five rejections and Napper posted six scoops.

UK attacked up the middle with Schwarzwalder slamming one home for the 1-0 lead to begin the second stanza. The kill ignited a 4-0 start to the set, as UK benefited from a trio of LSU errors. O’Conner laced a kill cross court and UK stretched the lead to 7-2.

The Tigers got to within 9-7, but Thomasson was able to go line to end the spurt and begin a 4-0 run by the Wildcats to help the home team earn a 13-7 lead. Kentucky extended the lead to seven at 17-10 on a kill from O’Conner. It was all the more breathing room the Wildcats would need en route to a 25-15 second set, as UK scored eight of the final 13 points of the stanza including consecutive kills from Workman and Bergren to lift UK to a 2-0 lead to the locker room.

UK charted 16 kills on a .364 attacking percentage. O’Conner led the way with five kills on a blazing .833 attacking clip, while Schwarzwalder added four with a .600 percentage. Dusek led the way defensively with six digs, with Thomasson adding five.

An LSU attacking error gave UK the first point of the third set, but the Tigers would score the next four for an early 4-1 advantage. An O’Conner kill off the block quieted the LSU run.  A block from Brown and O’Conner followed by consecutive LSU miscues enabled the Wildcats to take their first lead of the frame at 7-6. The 7-1 run continued for the Wildcats as the home team earned a 10-7 lead following a kill from Workman, forcing the Tigers into a timeout.

LSU fought back and pulled to within one at 11-10, but Schwarzwalder capitalized on an overpass to end the run. The Tigers wouldn’t go away, however, and eventually tied the set at 16. The teams exchanged points until UK was able to shake loose for two-straight for a 19-17 edge, but the visitors answered with a 2-0 spurt of their own to once again tie the score.

LSU recaptured the lead late in the set at 22-20 attempting to force a fourth frame. Following a timeout, UK answered with a Thomasson kill and then the Wildcats forced LSU into an error to tie the score at 22. LSU took a timeout and earned a kill for a 23-22 lead, but quickly gave the point right back to UK with a service error. O’Conner saved set point with a kill off the block, but the Tigers would score the next two to force a fourth frame following a 26-24 win.

The Tigers posted 21 kills in the frame and UK only managed 12. O’Conner led the way with four in the set. Workman had five digs to lead the defensive effort.

LSU began the fourth set by grabbing an early 4-1 lead.  The lead for the visitors eventually stretched to four at 7-3. It was all the more breathing room the visitors would need en rote to a 25-9 fourth set win to force a decisive fifth frame.

Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.

Cross Country- Kunc & Busse Lead UK Cross Country Women at Pre-Nats

 

Kunc & Busse Lead UK Cross Country Women at Pre-Nats

Cross Country teams to compete at Pre-National Invitational on Saturday

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – A pair of freshmen, Katy Kunc and Aundrea Busse, led the Kentucky cross country team to a 35th-place performance at Indiana State’s Pre-National Invitational, one of the most competitive meets of the regular season across the country.

Kunc ran a 61st place 6,000-meter time of 21:43.3, while Busse ran a time of 21:56.7 in the women’s “blue” race.

Cassidy Hale was UK’s third-place finisher, 179th overall, with a time of 22:35.3. Michelle McKinney and Caroline McCaslin rounded out UK’s top-5 with respective times of 22:47.2 (202nd) and 23:09.8 (241st).

The UK men’s team competed in the second-tier “white” race, and turned in a solid fifth-place performance.

The Wildcats were led by junior Zack Beavin who ran an 8K time of 25:26.4. Ryan Polman placed 27th and scored 25 points with a time of 25:40.2.

Mackay Wilson placed 42nd with 25:57.6. James Brown and Spencer Hrycay were scorers with respective times of 25:57.6 (42nd place) and 26:04.9 (55th place).

UK will compete at the SEC Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Friday, Oct. 31.

SWIMMING – Diving Sweeps, Bechtel Wins Two as UK Falls to Florida

Cabot, Lindsey sweep diving events as Wildcats downed by perennial powerhouse Florida 

Complete Results

Video: Jorgensen, Divers Cabot and Lindsey Recap Florida

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Highlighted by two wins each from seniors Christina Bechtel and Christa Cabot and freshman Levi Lindsey, the Kentucky swimming and diving team lost to perennial powerhouse Florida Thursday night at the Lancaster Aquatics Center. The women fell 161-137 while the men lost 164-128 to the defending Southeastern Conference champions.

“We knew it was going to be tough, but I thought we fought hard today,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “We made some progress in certain areas and had some good races, but we just need to continue to get better for NCAAs. Florida is the defending SEC Champions so they are really good on the men’s side. We need to get better, but that’s ok because it’s still early. We’ll keep on building towards March.”

Bechtel, who won three events in last weekend’s season-opener, claimed wins in the 100 and 200 butterfly. The Franklin, Tenn., native won both events with NCAA B qualifying times.

Led by Cabot and Lindsey, UK swept all four diving events. A two-time All-American in 2014, Cabot won the 1- and 3-meter competition, both with season-high scores. Lindsey won the first collegiate event of his career in the 3-meter before a win in the 1-meter.

“Overall I thought, the team had a very positive attitude,” head diving coach Ted Hautau said. “Levi Lindsey stood out, he had a great event in the 3-meter which was huge for him. He is a very inexperienced diver and he performed really well. The men went 1-2 on 1-meter which was huge for both of them. Stephen Jou dove great. Christa Cabot won both events and did a phenomenal job. I thought the girls stepped up, especially Christa.”

Sophomore Kyle Higgins added a win for the Wildcats in the 200 butterfly as Kentucky also recorded 17 runner-up finishes.

Kentucky hits the road for the first time this season, Oct. 31 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Wildcats face SEC foe Tennessee and Indiana at 2 p.m. ET. UK returns home Nov. 7 and 8 for a quad meet featuring Missouri, Northwestern and Southern Illinois. Competition begins at 1 p.m. with the diving events, while swimming commences at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the Lancaster Aquatics Center. Nov. 8’s schedule will be announced at a later date, tentatively set to begin at 9 or 11 a.m.

Cabot claimed her first victory of the season with a 327.83 in the 3-meter event. The senior bested Florida’s Kahlia Warner by just over four points. In the 1-meter event, Cabot tallied a 327.45, also a season-best to win by over 20 points over Warner.

Lindsey earned his first collegiate victory on 1-meter with a career-best 307.43. The first-year diver beat out teammate and fellow freshman Stephen Jou, who finished second with a career-high 292.28. On 3-meter, Lindsey won with a 360.75 to cap a perfect night for the UK divers.

Bechtel notched UK’s first win of the day with a 1:57.70 in the 200 yard butterfly. The senior finished over four seconds faster than the second-place swimmer, Florida’s Alyssa Yambor-Maul to post an NCAA B qualifying time in the event.

In the very next event, UK posted a 1-2 finish in the men’s 200 butterfly. Higgins won with a season-best 1:49.96, ahead of teammate Isaac Jones, who touched the wall in 1:50.54.

 

After an NCAA-best time in the 100 butterfly last week, Bechtel bested her time with a 53.03 to win the event Thursday. A member of the USA Swimming National Team in 2014-15, Bechtel’s win in the 100 butterfly was her team-best fifth of the young season.

UK’s runner-up finishes, 17 in all, was headlined by Bechtel, who finished second in three events, and sophomore Brandon Flynn and freshman Isaac Jones, who both recorded two runner-up finishes.

For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Swimming and Diving program, go to UKathletics.com/SwimmingDiving. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKSwimDive and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive.

Baseball – CARSON’S THREE HITS HIGHLIGHTS WEDNESDAY BASEBALL

Sophomore Outfielder Marcus Carson Goes 3-for-3 with Two Stolen Bases 

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Sophomore outfielder Marcus Carson had a three-hit, two stolen base day to highlight a five-inning Kentucky baseball fall intrasquad scrimmage, on Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

A native of London, Ky., Carson was 3-for-3 with two steals to highlight the scrimmage. Carson, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound speedy left-handed hitter, hit .364 (12-for-33) as a true freshman in 2014, with two doubles and nine RBI, stealing two bases. Carson shined situationally in 2014, going 4-for-11 as a pinch-hitter and collecting five of hits and five RBI with two outs.

Sophomore outfielder Storm Wilson – who tied for the SEC freshman lead in 2014 with four homers – tallied the other multi-hit game for the Wildcats, going 2-for-3 with a steal. Wilson joined junior outfielder Kyle Barrett, freshman first baseman Evan White, freshman infielder Riley Mahan and freshman catcher/infielder Marshall Gei with hits.

On the mound, junior right-handed starters Zach Strecker and Taylor Martin each worked two shutout innings. Freshman lefty Jared Proctor tossed two shutout innings, striking out three, with Dylan Dwyer and Matt Snyder each working shutout frames.

Kentucky will scrimmage three more times during the week, resuming on Friday at 2 p.m., returning at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Available parking for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be in Parking Structure #7 for $2.00/hour.

Soccer – Offensive Outburst Gives UK Soccer Third-Straight Win

Two goals on each side of half help UK extend unbeaten run

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Two goals before half, and a three-goal onslaught in the second period gave the Kentucky men’s soccer team, a 5-1 win at Evansville on a rainy Wednesday night at McCutchan Stadium.

The win was Kentucky’s third straight; it’s longest streak of the season and extended the team’s unbeaten run to five. The Wildcats improved to 7-3-3 (2-0-2 Conference USA) on the year, while Evansville fell to 4-7-1.

“It’s always nice to score that many goals and to get lots of different scorers involved,” UK head coach Johan Cedergren said. “It’s also nice to get everyone that travelled playing time. This was Noah Hutchins’ first minutes of the year and Stuart Ford’s first competitive minutes in goal.

“It’s nice to do that. Preparing for Evansville, watching them on tape, they have a couple of guys who are very special. We tried to get the guys fired up in different ways to try to stop them from playing their game. In the end we did that very well because that’s a good team that’s much better than its record.”

Justin Laird and Ryan Creel scored 10 minutes apart in the first half, while UK’s defensive midfielders – Kristoffer Tollefsen and Paul Sime – each scored early in the second half to remove all doubt from the result by the hour mark.

Evansville’s Dylan Terry pegged a goal back on 70 minutes, but Kevin Barajas notched his first goal of the season just five minutes before full time.

Tollefsen’s goal came on a nicely taken direct free kick. The goal was his second of the season. Sime scored his first of the year after making a run more than half the length of the field as he was played in by Laird.

Jason Pitts, who scored on Sunday, assisted Barajas’ goal.

With five goals in the game, UK tied the fifth-most goals in a game and marked the 15th time in program history UK has scored five goals. UK’s five-goal outburst marked its most goals in a game since a 6-1 win over Florida Atlantic last season in Lexington. It was UK’s first five-goal performance on the road since 2012 at Florida International.

The comfortable victory served as a tune-up for UK’s return to C-USA action this coming Saturday.

The Wildcats will host ninth-ranked New Mexico on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. The match will be a showdown between the second and third-place teams in Conference USA as the Wildcats are on eight points in league play and the Lobos

FIRST HALF

Justin Laird and Ryan Creel were both on the mark 10 minutes apart to give UK soccer multiple first-half goals for the first time this season.

Justin Laird gave the UK soccer team a 1-0 advantage with a 25th minute curler from the top of the box. Laird’s goal was his team-leading fourth of the year.

The goal was assisted on a counter-attack by Napo Matsoso, who notched his team-leading fourth assist of the year.

The goal came on the break as Evansville was caught with numbers forward for a wide-set piece and calling for a penalty.

 

After the free kick pinged around in the box, it hit a UK defender in the midsection from extremely close range and the Evansville Players appealed to the ref for a spot kick, but nothing was giving.

With the Purple Aces focused on the referee, the Wildcats set about on the counter. Napo Matsoso played a ball from midfield to Laird, who dribbled to the top of the box found a bit of space to curl a left-footed shot across the goal and into the top left corner.

Ten minutes later UK would take a 2-0 lead. Ryan Creel’s glancing header off a Charlie Reymann corner trickled through multiple defenders and across the goal line.

The goal was Creel’s second of the season, and Reymann’s assist getting him back to tied for the team lead with Matsoso on four.

SETTING THE STAGE

The Wildcats were coming off two-straight wins, including a 1-0 victory at No. 21 UAB and a 2-0 result over Marshall at home on Sunday. The win over UAB was UK’s second road win over a ranked opponent this year as the Wildcats also defeated then-top-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend last month.

Evansville (4-6-1) entered the matchup coming two straight wins, including a 2-1 win over Bradley last Saturday.

UK head coach Johan Cedergren named an unchanged side from the one which had won each of the last two games.

Napo Matsoso set up at the heart of the attack in the central attacking midfield role as he was coming off a career day vs. Marshall. The sophomore scored a penalty after drawing the spot-kick and assisted the second goal.

The UK defense remained the same as it had ever since the second match of the year with Callum Irving in goal, and Charlie Reymann, Kaelon Fox, reigning C-USA defensive player of the Week Jordan Wilson and Matt Quick stretched across the back line from left to right.

That lineup kept two more clean sheets last week to give them eight this year, which ranks second nationally. UK also ranks third nationally in goals-against-average as the Wildcats are letting in less than a half a goal per game (0.40).

UK also began Wednesday’s match having posted a C-USA best eight shutouts to tie for third in the NCAA.

The Wildcats offense had also begun to click during the recent run of strong form. Bryan Celis became the second Wildcat to notch multiple goals this year as he netted the winner from distance at UAB. Justin Laird leads UK with three goals this year.

Womens Soccer – Raetzman’s Second Half Strike Powers Kentucky Past USC

Wildcats pick up three crucial points in 1-0 win over South Carolina – LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team picked up its third and most important win of the 2014 Southeastern Conference season on Friday night on a rainy night at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex as junior Courtney Raetzman scored a clinical goal from Cara Ledman in the 66th minute to seal a 1-0 win over South Carolina.

“In the SEC, I think it’s absolutely huge,” UK associate head coach Michelle Rayner said after the match. “Any win is great. First, give credit to South Carolina and what Shelley and Jamie do with their program. They’ve got amazing team. They’re very well organized, so any win, obviously, within the SEC is crucial.”

Rayner stepped in and served as the head coach and chief tactician for Friday night’s match, as UK head coach served his one-match touchline ban for Sunday afternoon’s red card.

“I’ve done it before,” Rayner said. “I can’t fill Jon’s shoes, that’s for sure, but obviously (a) team effort, coaching staff effort and obviously Jon was here all week prior to the match. So it’s just important and hopefully we made him proud tonight.”

Kentucky (8-5-0, 3-3-0 SEC) clicked on all cylinders on Friday night, specifically in the defensive third, as the Gamecocks (9-4-1, 2-3-1 SEC) were never able to generate any quality scoring opportunities all night, and UK limited USC to just five shots on goal the entire match.

The strike for UK came in the 66th minute as Raetzman, a junior from Elk Grove, Ill., scored a sliding goal across the top of the six-yard box past a diving Sabrina D’Angelo, who recorded six saves on the night. The ball was fed in from the left flank as wideback Cara Ledman beat her player 1v1 down the side and cut in towards the top of the 18 on the left side. Ledman then shook the secondary defender to the outside, and got endline before serving in a low, high-paced cross to a foot-first diving Raetzman, who poked it home for the match’s only goal.

Friday night’s match snapped a two-match losing streak for the Wildcats, and now puts them at nine points on the Southeastern Conference table. Entering the match on Friday night, South Carolina sported an RPI of No.14 in the country, one of three SEC teams inside the top 15 of the country in the national RPI.

The goal for Raetzman was her fifth of the season, who now has two game-winning goals on the season and four in her UK career. Ledman’s assist was the Franklin, Tenn., native’s fifth of the season, and seventh of her career.

Freshman Taylor Braun was only forced to make five saves on the night, but recorded her third-career shutout in her freshman campaign, as UK goalkeeping has now forced six shutouts this season. Braun was forced to make two deflection saves over the net, and fend off five South Carolina corner kicks in the match, and also kept her composure in organizing the defense down the final 10 minutes of the match.

The Wildcats offense continues to be one of the best in the nation, as UK has not been shutout all season. There have been 10 different goal-scorers for the Wildcats this season, and 14 different players have recorded an assist in 2014, continuing to show fight from this young Wildcat team.

“Loved it. Loved it,” Rayner said. “And I think that’s really kind of what we’ve been lacking, is not only the fight but winning the first and second balls and the battle in the midfield and primarily up top, to keep the ball for us. And I think we did a much better job of that today.”

Kentucky, like the rest of the SEC, will take the rest of the weekend off before getting back toFriday/Sunday weekends next week. The Wildcats will continue its three-match homestand on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Ole Miss Rebels (SEC Network+), before closing out the weekend with No. 4 Florida on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

For continuing coverage of UK women’s soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.