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Kentucky volleyball tabbed No. 7 in preseason AVCA rankings

For the second year in a row, the Kentucky volleyball team has been named a preseason top-10 team in the nation.

The American Volleyball Coaches’ Association released their preseason top-25 on Tuesday afternoon, and the Wildcats came in at No. 7 overall.

Kentucky is one of just three SEC teams ranked in the initial poll, joining Florida (No. 10) and Tennessee) as the only schools in the conference listed.

The Wildcats are scheduled to play six games this season against ranked teams, including two against No. 10 Florida, and once vs. No. 14 USC, No. 17 Purdue, No. 19 Tennessee, and No. 25 Louisville.

The SEC joins the Big 10 as the only two leagues to have multiple teams ranked inside the top-10.

Here is the entire AVCA Preseason Top-25 Poll:

  1. Stanford (62)
  2. Nebraska (1)
  3. Minnesota
  4. Texas
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Illinois
  7. Kentucky
  8. Penn State (1)
  9. BYU
  10. Florida
  11. Oregon
  12. Pittsburgh
  13. Washington
  14. Southern California
  15. Michigan
  16. Marquette
  17. Purdue
  18. Creighton
  19. Tennessee
  20. Baylor
  21. San Diego
  22. Washington State
  23. Cal Poly
  24. Arizona
  25. Louisville

Go Cats.


@TeamUSA

Former Cats shine in USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships

@TeamUSA

It was a big weekend for former Cats on the track. UK Track and Field alums Daniel Roberts (110m hurdles), Kendra Harrison (100m hurdles), and Dezerea Bryant (200m dash) won their events at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, while Sydney McLaughlin (400m hurdles) came in second and Sha’Keela Saunders (long jump) finished third.

Roberts won the 110m hurdles in 13.23 seconds, his first gold medal since turning pro earlier this spring. He beat out his rival and good friend Grant Holloway, who set the NCAA record (12.98 seconds) last month.

Kendra Harrison won her third consecutive 100m hurdles title in 12.44 seconds:

This was the first USA Track & Filed gold medal for Dezerea Bryant, who finished in a season-best 22.47 seconds:

It’s odd to see McLaughlin not dominate a race, but she did turn in a season-best time of 52.88, coming in second to reigning Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammad, who set a new world record at 52.20:

The good sport that she is, Sydney congratulated Dalilah on social media last night:

All five Wildcats are now members of Team USA and will compete in the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar from Sept. 28-Oct. 6.


ECUpirates.com

Dan Roszel to be the new Pitching Coach at Kentucky

ECUpirates.com

ECU pitching coach Dan Roszel is leaving Greenville and headed to Lexington to join the Kentucky Wildcats coaching staff, per HoistTheColurs.net.

Roszel was with the Pirates for nine years and is leaving the program after a 47-18 season where they hosted a regional for the second straight year and made the program’s fifth all-time Super Regional appearance before falling to Louisville.

He will join a Kentucky team coached by Nick Mingione, who going into his fourth season at UK. In his first three seasons, Mingione holds a record of 104-84, and his Wildcats missed the SEC tournament in 2019 along with the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, which is what brought the coaching staff changes.

Last season, Kentucky’s pitching posted an ERA of 5.10 and opponents were batting .257 against the Cats in a season that saw them finish 26-29.

Roszel will look to better those numbers, and he has the resume to do it with 19 seasons under his belt.

During his time at East Carolina, he was responsible for developing the program’s highest-ever draft pick in starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman, who was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays ninth overall in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft. Roszel also coached Major League Baseball All-Star Chris Sale as an assistant at Florida Gulf Coast.

Roszel’s 2019 staff led The American in eight statistical categories including wins (47), strikeouts (595), innings pitched (577.2), shutouts (six) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.79) while ranking second in the AAC in ERA (3.96) and WHIP (1.32). The Pirates also set the AAC record for league wins with 20.

For a Kentucky program that has been predicated on dominant pitchers, such as Sean Hjelle, Justin Lewis, and Zack Thompson; this hire was crucial for a Kentucky program that took a massive step back last year. Hopefully, this hire will put the Wildcats back in the right direction.


Cheek wins Rookie of the Week (Again)

Cheek wins Rookie of the Week (Again)

Photo via National Pro Fastpitch

Former Wildcat Abbey Cheek is quickly making a name for herself in the professional softball world.

The third baseman was drafted by the Chicago Bandits in April and has carved out a starting role for herself on the NPF’s current first-place team.

In her rookie campaign, Cheek has batted .351 and won NPF’s rookie of the week award three times, the most recent of which came after she made NPF history.

After striking out in her first at-bat against the Aussie Peppers on July 11, Cheek proceeded to blast three consecutive home runs in her next three plate appearances. She became only the fourth player in NPF history to hit three homers in a game and is tied for second-most in the league with six on the season.

Take a look at some of her highlights.

Talk about some moonshots.


UK Golfer Sarah Shipley wins Western Amateur Championship

UK Golfer Sarah Shipley wins Western Amateur Championship

Photo via @KentuckyWGolf Twitter

UK golfer Sarah Shipley brought home a big piece of hardware yesterday, winning the 119th annual Women’s Western Amateur Championship in Long Grove, Illinois.

This victory marks the second tournament Shipley has won this summer. Less than two weeks ago she notched a four-shot victory at the 28th Women’s Golf Association of Michigan Championship at the Saginaw Country Club in Saginaw, Michigan.

The Western Amateur featured two rounds of stroke play followed by a match play bracket. Shipley shot one-over in stroke play, finishing fifth and entered match play as the five seed.

From there, the Hastings, Michigan native moved swimmingly through the 32-player bracket. Outside of a 19-hole nail biter in the first match play round, Shipley established and maintained early leads all the way through Saturday, when she defeated Antonia Matte to claim the W.A. Alexander Cup.

Shipley won the final match by four, jumping out to a quick 2-up advantage after birdies on the first two holes. Two more birdies on holes 8 and 9 put the tournament firmly in her control.

When she returns to Lexington in a few weeks, Shipley will be the most experienced golfer on UK’s women’s team.

Last year she was second on the team with a 75.2 stroke average and throughout her Kentucky career has a team-best three top-ten tournament finishes.

Shipley is not the only Kentucky golfer having success this summer, as last week incoming freshman Jensen Castle placed second at the Junior PGA Championship.

The Wildcats start their 2019 season in September at the Minnesota Invitational, and if this summer is any indicator, it could be a pretty special one.


Photo via @JuniorPGAChamp Twitter

Incoming golfer places second in Junior PGA Championship

Photo via @JuniorPGAChamp Twitter

Jensen Castle, an incoming freshman on Kentucky’s women’s golf team, shot 12-under-par during the Junior PGA Championship on her way to a runner-up finish.

144 golfers entered the tournament, but only one outscored the future Wildcat from West Columbia, South Carolina. The tournament was in Hartford, Connecticut at Keney Park Golf Course.

Castle shot 67 (-3) in round one and followed it up with a 68 in round two. A 66 in round three shot her score to nine-under-par and landed her in third place entering the final round. It turned into a battle between Castle and Yuka Saso, who entered the final round with a two-stroke lead.

Jensen put some pressure on Saso down the stretch, trimming the lead to one stroke with three holes to play, but Saso held on to claim the trophy.

Castle finished the tournament two strokes behind Saso (-14) with a score of 12-under-par but didn’t let the loss keep her from expressing an impressive display of sportsmanship.

The UK women’s team couldn’t help but brag about their talented newcomer.

The team is a few months out from its season, which begins on Sept. 9 in the Minnesota Invitational. In the meantime, get to know Castle a little better:


UK athletics

T.J. Collett finishes in the 2nd Round at the College Home Run Derby

Image

Last night, Kentucky’s T.J. Collett competed in the 10th annual College Home run derby.

Collett managed to get to the second round of last night’s contest clobbering 16 balls out of TD Ameritrade Park, but unfortunately, his second round performance couldn’t get him into the one on one final for the College Home Run Derby Championship. However, Northen Kentucky’s Griffin Doersching won the contest with a whopping 51 home runs on the night.

Regardless of where Collett finished, he said it was one of the best times he’s ever had in his baseball career.

Collet had so much fun, that the left-handed slugger even decided to hit from the right side of the plate in last night’s derby.

Check out all of T.J.’s best moments at the College Homerun Derby: