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Kentucky men’s soccer wins C-USA Championship

They’ve done it! With a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Charlotte this afternoon, the No. 3 Kentucky men’s soccer team has clinched the C-USA Championship.

JJ Williams scored the lone goal of the game 46:27 into the game, assisted by Kalil Elmedkhar. It was Williams’ 16th goal of the season.

Watch the replay here:

Here is the celebration:

Here they were arriving at the stadium this afternoon:

We’re a soccer school, anyway.

GO CATS!


Kentucky Soccer is Kicking Off in the C-USA Championship Game

UK Athletics

If you are needing to curb your disappointment from the past week, the Kentucky men’s soccer team is kicking off right now in the Conference USA Championship game against host Charlotte.

This season has been by far the best in program history for the Cats. The #3 ranked team in the nation has a record of 16-1-1 with the only loss coming against Florida International.

Kentucky is led by C-USA Player of the Year JJ Williams who has scored 15 goals in 18 games to lead the team and conference.

Kentucky plays in Conference USA for soccer due to South Carolina being the only other SEC team that has a men’s program. For the most part, the team has always been average, but this season they have exploded on the scene and taken the nation by storm.

To watch today’s championship game, you can click this link! Maybe this will help your bad mood that has set in over the past week. I mean, we are a soccer school anyways, right?


UK Hoops Coasts to Victory in Season Opener

Via @KentuckyWBB

UK Hoops kicked off their season tonight with an 87-35 victory over Alabama State. Yup, the Cats won by 52 points (#Catsby50).  The Cats and Matthew Mitchell came out fighting and set a hopeful and fun tone for the season.

The first quarter started out slow, well, for everyone except Taylor Murray who scored six points almost instantly. At the end of the first UK Hoops only lead by one point, but then the second quarter started. The Cats went from a 15-14 lead to a 39-22 lead in just one quarter. Talk about playing fast. Maci Morris had back to back three’s, Taylor Murray kept shooting and fouls and turnovers went our way. Murray finished the half with 12 points, Morris with eight.

“That second quarter was really big for us, just to get in there and impose our will on ASU,” said Matthew Mitchell. “We all worked together in the second quarter.”

The second half was an absolute bloodbath, I’ll resist the urge to compare it to a similar (more painful) event that happened last night, but I think you get the gist. UK Hoops played really fast with freshmen Rhyne Howard and Blair Green making the impact. The pair went a combined 11-0 run in the third, extending the lead to the 20’s and eventually the 30’s. Starting the fourth with a comfy 64-30 lead, and it escalated from there, to FIFTY-TWO-FREAKIN-POINTS.

“It’s a good step for us just to get out there and say ‘that’s our style of play’ and let everyone know,” said Mitchell.

Freshman Rhyne Howard went off scoring a whopping 15 points, most of which came in the fourth. Blair Green finished with 13, making the tow of them the first and second highest scoring freshmen in program history. Taylor Murray finished with 16 points and six steals, and Maci with 11.

“She’s very quick…I kind of look up to her,” said Howard on Taylor Murray.

Howard also said that she foresees a lot of three-pointers in future games. She went 3 of 6 tonight.

My biggest takeaway from the season opener? We can score, and we can play fast. But, we will struggle against a team who’s bigger than us. ASU is small and we defended them easily. We outrebounded them and scored off their turnovers. We gained 51 of our points off turnovers, and most impressively, outrebounded them 43-35 and for offensive rebounds 24-9.

But, we struggled in the post a bit. Against bigger teams, this is going to be a problem, but hey – tonight I’m all about the positivity. We really did play well, I’m just looking ahead to powerhouse teams like Mississippi State who we can’t hold to 30 points.

“There may be a night or two where it doesn’t look very good, but we just have to be committed. We have the athleticism and potential,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell said he hopes that the team keeps working on fundamentals and “playing strong.”

All in all, it looks like it’s going to be a great season for UK Hoops and I for one am excited to cover them on this great website for the third year in a row. I hope you’ll come out to some games and watch with me.

UK Hoops plays Southern University this Sunday at 7 PM here in Memorial. Come on out!

 

@savannahpattKSR

 


Kentucky Men’s Soccer wins Conference USA Championship

@UKMensSoccer

While the basketball team was taking care of business at Rupp, the men’s soccer team was winning a title at The Bell. Your No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats beat No. 24 Old Dominion 3-0 for the Conference USA Regular Season Championship.

The Cats’ three goals came from Kalil ElMedkhar (1′), Jason Reyes (8′), and Bailey Rouse (49′). With the win, Kentucky finishes the regular season 15-1-1 and is the No. 1 seed in next week’s Conference USA Tournament. Now, Kentucky is a Basketball, Football, Volleyball, and Soccer school.


No. 12 Kentucky volleyball sweeps No. 11 Florida 3-0

UK Athletics

Your No. 12 Kentucky Wildcat volleyball team has done it AGAIN.

This evening, the volleyball Cats took down the No. 11 Florida Gators in a three-set sweep at Memorial Coliseum for their 14th consecutive victory.

The Wildcats never allowed more than 20 points in a game, winning by scores of 25-15, 25-18, and 25-20 to seal the upset victory.

Kentucky star outside hitter Leah Edmond finished with a team-high 16 kills and ten digs. Setter Madison Lilley also finished with a match-high 33 assists, adding nine digs, as well.

Kentucky’s 14th-consecutive victory of the year matches the team’s longest win streak under head coach Craig Skinner.

They’ll head to Oxford, Mississippi this weekend to take on Ole Miss on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Go Cats.


Photo by UK Athletics

There’s a huge volleyball match tonight

Photo by UK Athletics

Did you get your trick-or-treating over with last night? Come support the No. 12 Kentucky Volleyball team as they take on No. 11 Florida tonight at 7 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum.

The Cats have won 13 matches in a row and are coming off sweeps of Georgia and South Carolina. They’re ranked first in the conference in hitting percentage (.295), assists (12.76/set) and kills (13.89/set) and are the only undefeated team left in the SEC, making tonight’s match absolutely huge.

Don’t want to sacrifice your spooky celebrations? Don’t worry; there will be a Halloween bag and candy giveaway while supplies last and a costume contest. Per city ordinance, no masks are allowed. For the safety of those around you, props are also prohibited.

Fans can purchase a ticket with the promo code ‘BIGBOO’ at ukathletics.com/tickets. If you can’t make it to Memorial, the match will be broadcast on ESPNU.


You’ll be Proud of the name of UK’s new baseball stadium

When you go to watch the Bat Cats in 2019  you’ll be watching their home games at the brand spanking new Kentucky Proud Park. Kentucky Farm Bureau entered into a 15-year agreement with JMI Sports for the rights.

I think Kentucky Proud Park has a nice ring to it and it’s significantly better than other corporate-named stadiums across the country, even the stadium across the street (sup, Kroger). Remember, JMI Sports purchased the multimedia rights for UK in 2014 for $210 million (15 years). In that deal, JMI works out the deals to name the stadiums on UK’s campus and keeps the money from the partnership.

But thanks to the $210 million from JMI UK was able to construct the $49 million ballpark. Now UK baseball plays in one of the nicest stadiums in the country and it will certainly help with recruiting. It holds 4,000 fans with room for 7,000 fans if the Cats host a regional or super regional in the NCAA Tournament.

UK has already played a couple scrimmages in the new stadium and I’ve heard nothing but great things. I can’t wait to check out Kentucky Proud Park (KPP) in 2019.


Kentucky volleyball SWEEPS Ole Miss

@KentuckyVB

Get your brooms out – Kentucky volleyball just swept Ole Miss. The No. 16 Wildcats remain as one of just two SEC teams still undefeated in conference play. They’ve extended their winning streak to nine straight games, making their record 12-4 for the season.

The win came inside Memorial Coliseum, where Coach Craig Skinner and the Cats came out firing early and never looked back. Kentucky jumped to a quick 5-0 lead during the first set and eventually won 25-21 after recording an impressive six aces. The Cats really came alive in the second set, with middle blocker Brooke Morgan and hitters Leah Edmond and Avery Skinner serving as the team’s standouts. In the back row, libero Gabby Curry and setter Madison Lilley were consistent forces for the Wildcats. The Cats won the set in a dominating fashion: 25-14.

Kentucky closed out the third set in the same way – a methodical attack on Ole Miss. UK won the final set 25-17, sealing the sweep for the Commonwealth. The win was extra special for the Wildcats, as several former Cats were in attendance.

Kentucky volleyball now goes on a road-game spree, traveling to LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia over the next two weeks. They’ll return to action in Lexington Oct. 28 to take on South Carolina in the annual “pink match.” The game is set to begin at 1:30 p.m.


@MaggieDavisKSR


BBM: What we learned about this year’s Women’s Basketball Team

BBM: What we learned about this year’s Women’s Basketball Team

Last night’s Big Blue Madness was one to remember. But among the dunks, dances and intense video montages was also some basketball. The Kentucky women’s basketball team scrimmaged during the first part of the evening, giving fans their first glimpse into a new season of UK Hoops. Here are three things we learned:

#1 Maci Morris is still a baller

Well, this one almost seems too obvious. The Bell County native stole the show with her walkout/introduction, but the action didn’t stop there: she brought the same energy to the court during the scrimmage. Although the game was short, it’s clear this team revolves around her. At one point, she left the game to check in with Sean Farnham and the SEC Network crew and for some reason, the game just felt like it had lost some of its spark. Morris brings an intangible energy when she’s on the floor, not to mention her impeccable three-point shooting and leadership qualities.

But, it’s not all perfect for the senior Wildcat. According to Matthew Mitchell, she’s had to work hard on her strength conditioning to become more of a “complete” player.

“She wants to be a pro; she wants to play in the WNBA,” Mitchell said during Madness. “We’ve worked hard on her conditioning – she’s worked hard on it – and then her defensive intensity has just taken it up another level. By the time this season is complete, we hope she’s written an awesome final chapter in her Kentucky career and that launches her into what her aspiration is – that’s to be a great pro. I believe she’s going to do that.”

Defense has been a relatively-weak spot for Morris, as well as most of the team excluding point guard Taylor Murray, so it’s promising to hear Mitchell praise her defensive efforts before the season even gets underway.

Morris recorded over 17 points per game last season and shot 47.5 percent from behind-the-arc. She’ll need another huge season to earn the Cats a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but, by the looks of things last night, she should have no problem doing just that.

#2 A tale of two courts

The UK Hoops team has quite a talented backcourt with seniors Morris and Murray plus two highly-touted freshmen guards, Rhyne Howard and Blaire Green, but they’re still looking for some standout players in the front court.

Fans will see a lot of new, relatively-inexperienced players under the basket this season, and it’s very possible some games will be determined by their performances. Last year, Kentucky suffered five losses by single-digit margins, many of them on the road. Improving rebounding and second-change points will be huge for the Cats this season.

Coach Mitchell will look to Dorie Harrison, a sophomore center from Nashville. She played in every game last season, averaging 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Tatyana Wyatt, also a sophomore, is also poised for a break-out year. The forward put up numbers similar to Harrison’s last season (6.6 points and 3.5 rebounds), while hitting 32.6 percent from the three-point line. Both players showed improvements last night during Madness, but will need to keep working to become the major contributors this team needs them to be.

#3 Rhyne Howard could be a star

After spending her summer with the USA’s National Team, Rhyne Howard is ready to make an immediate impact in Lexington. ESPN ranked her as the No. 10 guard in the class after a stellar senior season – 22.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.3 steals and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 54 percent from the field. That versatility is something Kentucky looks for in a recruit and, according to Coach Mitchell, it’s something they’re already getting from Howard:

“She definitely can score the ball, but she doesn’t have to score to set other people up. She really does a good job…. She’s big, great length, great athleticism, so she can make plays on the board, on the defensive end,” Mitchell said. “She’s really a complete player, and we’re looking forward to watching her develop. She’s talented right now and she’s someone we’ll rely on.”

Mitchell continued his praise for Howard but also included fellow-freshman and Kentucky-native Blaire Green.

“I’m really excited about the freshmen. They’re talented and they play super hard, they’ve had great attitudes, they’re in great shape,” Mitchell said during the scrimmage. “They’re just really talented, good basketball players. It’s a steep learning curve for freshmen to come in and perform but we think these two are really ready to go.”

Let’s hope so. The Cats’ first game is quickly approaching – they’ll take on Lincoln Memorial University in an Exhibition Game on Friday, Nov. 2. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Memorial Coliseum.


@MaggieDavisKSR


WATCH: Sydney MacLaughlin returns to Lexington

Hidden in the madness of Kentucky’s massive victory over South Carolina was a homecoming for one very popular former Wildcat.

Sydney McLaughlin, Kentucky’s record-setting track phenom from the 2017-18 season, returned to Lexington to soak in Kentucky’s fifth-consecutive victory in front of a sell-out crowd.

“It’s great to be back. One year at Kentucky, it was a great year for us,” she said in an interview with Bradley McKee of UK Athletics. “It’s great to be back and have the energy and the vibe (in Lexington).”

In her time in Lexington, McLaughlin made sure to leave with every possible record shattered in her events. She set the world junior 400m record with a time of 50.36 at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships, and followed it up with a 400m time of 50.07 seconds, a new NCAA Freshman record. With that time, McLaughlin became the second-fastest person to run the 400m at the collegiate level ever behind Courtney Okolo and now leads the world in the event.

She also managed to break the NCAA record in the 400m hurdles, finishing with a 52.75 time to win the event in her first SEC championship appearance. In the process, McLaughlin destroyed the World U20 time and broke Shamier Little’s time of 53.21 set at the 2013 NCAA Championships to become No. 13 on the all-time world list.

And oh yeah, she’s just 0.41 seconds away from becoming the fastest woman hurdler in the world, a record she will almost certainly break in the professional ranks.

For McLaughlin’s entire interview with UK Athletics, take a look below:

While you’re at it, re-watch her viral video on the starting blocks, which currently has 5.92 million views on Twitter alone.

#LaFamilia


No. 4 Kentucky men’s soccer defeats No. 2 Indiana 3-0

@UKMensSoccer

Your No. 4 Kentucky men’s soccer team just took their incredible start to the season one step further.

The Wildcats took down the No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers by a final score of 3-0, pushing their record to 9-0-1 on the season.

JJ Williams got things started with a bang, scoring the match’s opening goal just three minutes in, assisted by Jason Reyes.

Late in the second half, Reyes returned the favor with a score of his own, putting the Cats up 2-0 over the Hoosiers with just under six minutes remaining.

To top it all off, Williams added yet another goal at the 87:46 mark, his ninth of the season. The score gave Kentucky a 3-0 lead and sealed the deal on a victory over the No. 2 team in the nation.

With 3,503 in attendance, the crowd was absolutely electric, giving the Cats a much-needed home field advantage on the night:

Things are looking pretty darn awesome across the board with UK Athletics.

GO CATS!