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By Courtney Sealey on ©October 24th, 2014 @ 6:00pm
A big weekend of redemption is ahead for the Wildcat Volleyball team. The No. 16 team will return to the road for two SEC contests against Arkansas and No. 24 Texas A&M.
Kentucky is coming off a weekend with a sweep to Georgia last Friday and a 3-2 loss against LSU Sunday. The five-set loss snapped UK’s 11 match winning streak, the second-longest in Skinner’s tenure. Now the Cats sit second in the SEC standings.
Arkansas is coming off a 3-0 loss at No. 8 Florida after winning three in a row, including a 3-1 victory at then No. 20 Texas A&M. Coach Skinner and Arkansas’ head coach were teammates at Ball State in 1993. Pulliza also served as an assistant coach under Skinner at Kentucky from 2005-07 and helped UK reach three NCAA Tournaments. The Razorbacks are led by Meredith Hays’ 359 kills on .203 hitting. Chanell Clark-Bibbls is second on the team with 160 kills and a team-high .322 hitting percentage, 80 blocks and 17 service aces.
Texas A&M (12-6, 4-3 SEC) is ranked No. 24 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll after a 3-2 win at South Carolina on Oct. 19. The Wildcats already beat the Aggies once, ranked No. 21 at the time, 3-0 in Lexington on Oct. 5. The Aggies are led by Shelby Sullivan’s 200 kills on .380 hitting and 71 blocks. Jazzmin Babers, who has 148 kills on .356 hitting also has posted 71 blocks, while Angela Lowak owns a team-high 17 service aces.
You can catch the Arkansas game tonight at 8 online at WatchEspn.com and the Texas A&M game will be televised on the SEC Network on Noon Sunday.
Coming off a third straight Sweet 16 appearance, and fifth straight season of 25 or more wins, Matthew “Bruno” Mitchell has his UK Hoops team getting some preseason love from the experts. Kentucky, who returns seven key players from last season, added some size this offseason to compete with other talented SEC East foes, South Carolina and Tennessee. Athlon Sports ranks the Cats No. 11, Lindy’s Sports No. 12, and No. 15 by Sporting News. Athlon’s list sheds light on the tough schedule ahead of Kentucky, with 10 games against top-20 opponents.
2. South Carolina
3. Texas A&M
4. Notre Dame
5. Michigan State
2. South Carolina
3. Notre Dame
6. North Carolina
9. Texas A&M
2. Norte Dame
3. South Carolina
7. Texas A&M
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 18th, 2014 @ 9:29am
Last month, UK Hoopsters Ivana Jakubcova and Alyssa Rice posed with some UK cheerleaders, and the picture went viral. Last night, Ivana, Alyssa, and one of the cheerleaders recreated the picture, and it’s still pretty ridiculous.
Tickets for the 2015 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament are now available for purchase. The tournament will be held in the Verizon Center in Little Rock, Arkansas on March 4-8. This will be the fourth time (all since 2003) in the 35 editions that the tournament has taken place in Little Rock. Kentucky’s only SEC championship came back in 1982; coincidentally (or maybe not) that was the only time the tournament has been held in Lexington.
A book (tickets for seven sessions, 13 games) of reserved tickets will cost you about $100, and can be purchased on www.SECSports.com.
Kentucky Volleyball didn’t move in the polls from No. 13, but the awards keep rolling in. This weekend, the girls’ added two more wins to their resume, one being against Top 25 ranked Texas A&M. Because of the their efforts, two players have been given SEC Weekly Awards. Junior setter Morgan Bergren has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week and senior libero Jackie Napper the league’s Defensive Player of the Week, for the third time this season.
Bergren and Napper helped guide the Wildcats to a pair of crucial SEC victories. Bergren led the Wildcats to a .306 attacking percentage and tallied 43 or more assists in in both victories, while contributing 11 kills of her own on a blistering .579 attacking percentage. She did not commit a single error in 19 attacking attempts.
Napper earned the SEC Defensive Player of the Week title after averaging 4.43 digs per set. In both matches, Napper logged 15 or more digs and now has 15 or more in 13 matches this season, including five of the last six played. Napper contributed offensively with 10 assists combined, including a season-high of six against the Aggies.
The girls resume SEC play Friday as they travel to Tennessee for a 7 p.m. ET first serve. Kentucky will then return home on Sunday for a Noon ET match against Auburn. The matchup vs. the Tigers is set to air live on the SEC Network.
The UK Gymnastics team is looking forward to building off their recording breaking season last year. Yesterday afternoon, UK Athletics released the full 2015 gymnastics schedule to the public, and once again, it appears that the Cats have another tough season ahead of them. The schedule includes nine teams that made the NCAA Regionals last season including the top five teams in the NCAA Finals and the defending NCAA co-champs, Florida and Oklahoma.
The Cats are focusing on topping their excellent season last year. Not only did the Wildcats have a record tying 6-1 home record, they also had a program record NCAA Regional score, with senior Audrey Harrison appearing in the NCAA Championships to compete on beam. She was the first Kentucky gymnast to make the Championships since 2010.
Coach Tim Garrison told UK Athletics that,
“We have a tough schedule once again, but we’re excited for the challenge. Competing in the Southeastern Conference, we’re going to have to bring our best each and every week. We have a great home schedule, and I know the Big Blue Nation will once again show their support and help make Memorial Coliseum one of the best venues in the country.”
Nov. 22, 6 pm / Blue-White meet
Jan. 12, 9 pm / at Washinton
Jan. 16, 7 pm / LSU, Arizona State [Excite Night]
Jan. 24, 4 pm / at Georgia
Jan. 30, 7pm / Alabama [DanceBlue Night (#FTK)]
Feb. 6, 7:30 pm / at Mizzou
Feb. 14, 8 pm / Oklahoma [in OKC]
Feb. 20, 7 pm / Arkansas [Youth Night]
Feb. 27, 7 pm / at Florida
Mar. 6, 7 pm / Auburn
Mar. 13, 7 pm / Pitt, Ball State [Senior Night]
Mar. 21 / SEC Championships [Duluth, Ga.]
April 4 / NCAA Regionals
April 17- 19 / NCAA Championships [Fort Worth, Texas]
Once again, I think we are looking at another great season for the Cats. I am looking forward to seeing them top their record shattering season last year and making a good run in the SEC & NCAA Championships. As always, follow UK Gymnastics & myself on Twitter for updates.
By Courtney Sealey on ©September 23rd, 2014 @ 6:30pm
The No. 14 University of Kentucky Volleyball team finished its nonconference slate 10-2 after winning its four final matches against VCU, Georgia Southern, Lipscomb and Xavier. Tomorrow the team opens Southeastern Conference play against LSU at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. Kentucky Volleyball is having a record setting season, starting with their highest ranking since Sept. 2012, when the Cats were ranked 10th in the nation. Here are a few players working to break the record books this season:
—Earlier this month head coach Craig Skinner became UK’s all-time winningest coach with his 210th victory.
—Senior Jackie Napper has 1,207 career digs, third in the UK record books in the rally scoring era and fifth in the all-time top 10, 35 digs away from moving up in both lists. The Libero also just repeated as SEC Defensive player of the Week after charting 10 or more digs in all 12 matches this season.
— Senior Lauren O’Conner leads all current SEC players with 943 kills. She is just 57 kills shy of becoming the 15th Wildcat to notch 1,000 career kills. O’Conner is also tied for fourth in the rally scoring era with 37 solo blocks, eighth with 209 total blocks and eighth with 172 block assists and third with 73 aces.
—Junior Morgan Bergren is third all-time in the rally scoring era in UK history with 1,838 career assists.
— Schwarzwalder is sixth in the rally scoring era with a .278 attacking percentage.
With 19 matches left before the end of the regular season, there is plenty of time for the girls to become the greatest players in UK Volleyball history, setting new standards for the Skinner era. And it all starts with LSU. The Cats lead all-time vs. LSU, 33-23. However, the series is tied in Baton Rouge at 10-10. LSU enters SEC play with a 5-4 record and is on a three-match winning streak. The Tigers have two wins over Baylor on back-to-back days last weekend. Against top-25 teams, LSU is 0-3, with losses to No. 14 San Diego, at No. 8 Purdue and at No. 7 Florida State.
UK is the real deal this year. Even Cal knows:
Went to @KentuckyVB practice. They're doing loose-ball drills the day before their first SEC game. And I love the chatter. They're for real.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) September 23, 2014
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 23rd, 2014 @ 4:30pm
The men’s soccer team plays Louisville tonight, and as if you needed any more motivation to cheer against the Cards, the team is holding an “Abe-Out,” charging fans only a penny for admission (get it??). The first 500 fans get a free Abe shirt that looks like this:
— Kentucky Mens Soccer (@UKMensSoccer) September 22, 2014
Someone snag me one, please. Size smedium.
By Courtney Sealey on ©September 20th, 2014 @ 11:30am
Friday was a full day for UK Soccer. Although the teams were unable to put out any wins, they did make sure to make the games plenty exciting. Here is a breakdown of each match:
Women vs. Arkansas, 2-1
In its SEC Opener, the women’s soccer team dropped their match against Arkansas in double overtime. Despite out-shooting the Razorbacks 18-15, including a 9-7 advantage in shots on goal, the Wildcats couldn’t overcome a 35-yard goal off a free kick from Tyler Allen in the 104th minute. The shot just missed the arms of UK goalie Taylor Braun.
The Razorbacks scored in the 49th minute off a throw-in from Ashleigh Ellenwood. The Wildcats responded in the 68th minute with a goal from Jade Klump. Klump nearly ended it in the second minute of overtime, however she sent the ball just over the crossbar.
Men vs. No. 19 Furman, 0-0
Playing in Lexington, the men were unable to make a repeat of their defeat of a ranked team (#1 ranked Notre Dame). The saving grace of the game, literally, was Junior Goalkeeper Callum Irving who saved a career-high seven shots in his fifth shutout. The seventh save was in the 110th minute when faced with a Furman breakaway in the closing seconds of the second overtime, Irving made a game-saving stop at a chest-high strike from Furman, keeping the clean sheet.
Next on the slate for the women is Mississippi State in Lexington Friday. The men face off against No. 9 Louisville Tuesday in Lexington, as well.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 18th, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Members of Matthew Mitchell’s UK Hoops squad surprised campers with breakfast this morning and challenged some of them to UK trivia. Watch as the ladies try to stump some of the Big Blue faith around the campout.
And if you missed it, you have to hear Coach Mitchell’s appearance on KSR this morning. When we say he is the best, we really mean he is the best.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 17th, 2014 @ 9:00pm
And even if you weren’t there to enjoy it in person, KyWildcatsTV has you covered with this footage. Admission to the team’s game against Lipscomb on Friday at 7 p.m. is free, so come on out to support the ladies. It all goes down at Memorial Coliseum, and I bet Marcus Lee will be there.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 11th, 2014 @ 6:25pm
Who doesn’t love Matthew Mitchell? UK Hoops’ main man isn’t just an excellent head coach, he’s a hilarious radio host, amazing dad and husband, and surprisingly good singer. USA Today has an article out today that focuses on Louisiana Lafayette’s head football coach Mark Hudspeth and how he, Matthew Mitchell, and Andy Kennedy all grew up together in tiny Louisville, Mississippi. All three played quarterback–Kennedy the starter, Hudspeth the backup, and Mitchell third string–at Winston Academy, and all three have gone on to be coaches of Divisions I teams.
In fact, Hudspeth was the one who helped Mitchell out when he wound up back in Mississippi and needed to make some money. Mitchell was coaching high school basketball, but was suddenly told he needed to become the defensive coordinator of the football team despite the fact that he didn’t know a thing about being a defensive coordinator. Thankfully, Hudspeth, then the head coach at Winston Academy, gave his friend a six-week crash course in coaching defense, which Mitchell says “saved my butt”:
“I ended up with a pretty salty little defense,” Mitchell said, laughing. “We won five straight, and I learned a lot that year about coaching. He saved my butt in that situation. At the time, I just didn’t even realize how absurd it was.”
To learn more about their friendship, read the whole article, in which Mitchell calls Hudspeth “one of the best coaches in any sport in America.” Also, cheer for him and the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns when they take on Ole Miss this weekend.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 09th, 2014 @ 1:30pm
Last night, the UK Men’s Soccer team upset top-ranked Notre Dame in thrilling fashion. Freshman Stefan Stojkovic his first career goal with 25 seconds left to seal the 1-0 win over the defending National Champions. Enjoy the highlights above.
Matthew Mitchell and the rest of the Kentucky women’s basketball team will be traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands from November 27-29 for the 15th annual Paradise Jam. The Cats will be prepping for another deep tournament run later in the year, and they’ll take on Oklahoma, South Florida, and Illinois. Hurry and get your tickets online soon here, because after November 7 the tickets can only be purchased at the door.
Some HUGE news from the soccer pitch: UK’s men’s soccer team upset #2 Notre Dame tonight 1-0 in South Bend. Stefan Stojkovic scored his first career goal with 25 seconds left in the game to give Kentucky the win over the defending National Champions. Unbelievable victory for the Cats.
Check out a video of the game-winning goal above, courtesy of Brent Ingram.