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Two Kentucky tennis players pick up weekly SEC awards

via UK Athletics

Kentucky is a tennis school! Two Wildcats just brought home conference awards: Freshman Tiphanie Fiquet was named SEC Freshman of the Week, and senior Ryo Matsumura was named SEC Player of the Week on Wednesday. It was the first week for awards this season, so it’s pretty impressive the Cats were able to scoop up two of the major ones.

Fiquet is unbeaten in singles and doubles throughout her eight matches so far this season. Her success has largely contributed to the No. 25 Wildcats’ 5-1 mark to open the regular season. She’s also the first female Cat to bring home the SEC Freshman of the Week title since since 2016.

Matsumura claimed SEC Player of the Week after an underfeated weekend, which included two wins against top-30 players.

Matsumura and the rest of the men’s team will return to action soon – they’ll hit the courts in Lexington on February 3 at 1:00. The women’s team has a little more time to recover – their next match is set for Feb. 15 at home against the University of South Florida at noon.

Congrats, Cats!


@MaggieDavisKSR


@acrphoto

Scenes from UK Baseball and Softball #FanDay2019

@acrphoto

In an effort to drum up excitement about the upcoming seasons for both the UK Baseball and UK Softball teams, the two programs hosted a joint Fan Day to interact with young fans, participate in activities, pose for pictures, compete in games, and more. With UK Baseball tickets going on sale tomorrow, today was the perfect time to peak everyone’s interest.

Take a look at some highlights from the success of a day today:

Looking through Twitter, you can find several fans and photographers posting pictures and complimenting both teams for their hospitality throughout the event. Check out just a few of them below.

Events like this are always awesome to see the players connect with kids on a more personal level. It is clear that the attendees have a blast and it seems that the players enjoy every minute of it as well. Fingers crossed for huge success on the field that matches the excitement off the field for both of these squads in the upcoming seasons.


@BrettBibbinsKSR


UK Baseball single-game tickets on sale tomorrow morning

UK Baseball single-game tickets on sale tomorrow morning

 

UK Athletics

For nearly two years now, everyone has been seeing the progress of the new Kentucky Wildcats baseball stadium online and the excitement from fans, the team, and the University has been building. The upcoming season will be the inaugural season for Kentucky Proud Park and it looks absolutely beautiful. The first home game is less than a month away as the Bat Cats will be hosting Eastern Kentucky University on February 26th at 4pm.

Set your alarms for tomorrow morning now, because the single-game tickets go on sale at 9am sharp for your first chance to see the Cats in live action and to see the brand new stadium in person.

Per UK Athletics, below is the pricing that is set for these single-game tickets:

Pricing
Reserved: Sections 103-109 (availability based on a game-by-game basis) – $10

Dugout Chairbacks (Sections 101, 102, 110, & 111) and Terrace/Berm General Admission
Adults (Ages 19-64) – $8
Youth (Ages 6-18)/Seniors (65+) – $5
Youth 5 and under – free admission

UK employees with their ID and a guest, UK students with their ID and Junior Wildcat Club members with their JWC credential will enjoy complimentary admission to Kentucky baseball games in the terrace/berm general admission areas.

If you still are interested in getting season tickets, feel free to head on over to UKBaseballTix.com to explore your options. According to UK, the way to purchase single-game tickets online is through TicketMaster.com or you can purchase over the phone by calling 1-800-745-3000.

For additional information and details, check out the release from UK Athletics here.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Kentucky Swimming sweeps Louisville on senior day

Kentucky Swimming sweeps Louisville on senior day

Congratulations are in order for the Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving team. They swept Louisville during their final home meet of the season, and nineteen seniors get to graduate from the program as winners over their rival.

The No. 10 women’s team led for much of the meet, and their efforts contributed to the second-consecutive victory over the Cardinals. Last season, the Cats won at Louisville for the first time since 2009.

“For the women, we knew Louisville was a very good team. They came out and they were very competitive,” head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “So, it was fun. It was pretty heated, but it is good intensity to have in the building. It was a great atmosphere and it really made it fun.”

The men’s team took down Louisville for the first time in eight years. After trailing for much of the meet, the men’s team grabbed a win in the 200 meter IM and the 400 meter freestyle relay to clinch the victory.

“It is the first time in a long time that the men have earned a victory over Louisville, so that feels really good,” Jorgensen said. “Obviously, Glen Brown and Peter Wetzlar were the stars of the show, but everyone really stepped up for all of our swims across the board. I’m so happy for our seniors.”

Congrats, Wildcats!


@MaggieDavisKSR


Taylor Murray named to Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Watch List

(Photo via Twitter/@KentuckyWBB)

The Kentucky women’s basketball team is holding steady as the halfway point of league play approaches. Matthew Mitchell and the Wildcats are 17-3 on the season (4-2 in the SEC). Point guard Taylor Murray is still running the ship – she gets the most playing time of anyone on the team, and she leads the team in steals, blocks and shooting percentage (49.4 percent). Last season, she was chosen for the SEC All-Defensive Team. Now, the senior is being recognized for her achievements on the national level – Murray has been named to the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Watch List.

Murray is one of four players from the SEC who made the list. She joins last year’s winner, Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State, Anriel Howard (also of MSU) and Caliya Robinson (Georgia). There are 15 total players on the watch list.

Her speed and mobility allow Murray to be a serious threat on defense. She’s quick and she’s incredibly efficient at creating turnovers – her 68 steals this season put her in the top-10 nationwide. Murray has posted three or more steals in 14 games so far this season, and she’s led Kentucky in steals in 67 of her 114 games, including 14 times this season. She needs just 20 more steals to enter the program’s top 5 all-time list.

And while she’s currently being recognized for her defensive efforts, Murray helps the Wildcats on both ends of the court – she’s averaging 12.7 points per game. In the Cats’ latest matchup, Murray recorded a game-high 21 points while adding four rebounds, four steals and two assists against No. 25 Missouri.

Semifinalists for the award will be announced in February.


Women’s basketball coaches will rock custom shoes in honor of Pat Summitt

Women’s basketball coaches will rock custom shoes in honor of Pat Summitt

The Kentucky women’s basketball game will be back in action Thursday night when they take on Missouri. And while it’s the first game back following their bye week – and another challenging, top-25 matchup – it will mean a little extra to the coaching staff. The game is part of “We Back Pat Week” across the SEC, bringing awareness and honoring the legacy of Pat Summitt. Representatives of the Pat Summitt Foundation are also scheduled to be on hand for a special check presentation.

Assistant coaches Niya Butts and Kyra Elzy will rock these custom sneakers by True Blue Customs.

The shoes will also be auctioned off as part of the foundation’s fight to end alzheimer’s.

Some sad news: the game will be extra bittersweet, as Pat Summitt’s mother just passed away Wednesday afternoon.

May their family find some peace during this heartbreaking time.


Kentucky cheerleading wins 24th National Championship

For the 24th time… the national championship trophy is coming home to Kentucky… for the UK cheerleading team!

The cheerleading team, led by Coach Jomo Thompson, has a history of excellence on the national stage. Here’s part of their award-winning routine:

Congrats, Wildcats!


@UKAthletics

Relive “Excite Night” with UK Gymnastics

@UKAthletics

The Kentucky gymnastics team had a pretty busy weekend, starting with their annual “Excite Night” and ending with an SEC upset over Arkansas. The No. 16 Wildcats defeated the No. 14 Razorbacks. Attendance for the night set a school record: 12,472 fans made their way to Rupp Arena.

“That environment was unreal,” said head coach Tim Garrison. “We are truly blessed to be here. … There is an appetite for gymnastics in this town and it’s obvious after tonight.”

Check out the highlights from Excite Night:

The Cats will take on No. 3 Florida on the road this Friday, then they’ll be back in Lexington February 1 to face off against Auburn.


UK Hoops Barely Beats LSU

UK Hoops Barely Beats LSU

Your Women’s Basketball Team hit the road to take on those pesky Tigers down in Baton Rouge and squeezed out a close 64-60 win. But considering UK was without two of their top three scorers due to injuries, Rhyne Howard (leading scorer) and Taylor Murray, that’s a solid conference win on the road.

Just how close was the win? The game was tied at 56 with two minutes left, Jaida Roper scored a nice layup and pushed the Cats up by two. LSU came back and before I knew it it was tied at 60 with 30 seconds left. McKinney made a clutch three-pointer with about 20 seconds left, LSU missed a shot and that was pretty much game. I haven’t bitten my nails in two years, but the end of the game definitely made me think about it.

Maci Morris had a whopping 20 points and proved to be an unstoppable force for the Tigers. Looking at the box, you can see that it was pretty even all game long.

All in all, the Cats battled hard tonight and came out with a much-deserved win. The team has Sunday off but will be back in action at home against Mizzou next Thursday!


UK men’s tennis picks up two wins on first match day of season

UK men’s tennis picks up two wins on first match day of season

UK Athletics

The University of Kentucky men’s tennis team notched their first two wins of the season today, knocking off both IUPUI and in-state foe Northern Kentucky University in convincing fashion. The Cats swept the Jaguars 7-0, and did faired the same against the Norse, sweeping 7-0 again. Here’s what Head Coach Cedric Kauffmann had to say after the day came to a close.

“It was a good start to the season. We were focused for a long period of time today during two tough matches. I think this team will get better very quickly. They are listening, focusing on what they need to do to get better, and will working hard to reach the expectations of Big Blue Nation.”

Despite being a young team and relying on some first-year players to play big roles early in the season, the Cats still managed to put forth a strong effort in both matches. Senior and Team Captain Enzo Wallart liked what he saw from those young players today.

“Proud of the boys today. We took care of business as a young team with a lot of freshman in the lineup. It didn’t look like we had freshman out there today. There weren’t any weak spots in the lineup. The team spirit is starting to get to where we’d like it, as well. I liked what I saw today from the boys, and I think they’re ready for Notre Dame next weekend.”

You can check out the entire recap of today’s matches from UK Athletics here, and as always, KY Wildcats TV has us covered with a short clip of highlights.

Here’s the final box score from this afternoon, courtesy of UK Athletics.

Kentucky 7, IUPUI 0
Singles
1. Ryo Matsumura (UK) def. Sean Bailey (IUPUI) 6-1, 6-1
2. Cesar Bourgois (UK) def. Alex Jochim (IUPUI) 7-6, 6-4
3. Theo McDonald (UK) def. Colton Morehart (IUPUI) 6-0, 6-2
4. Kento Yamada (UK) def. Ethan Mardanus-Budio (IUPUI) 6-2, 6-3
5. Kevin Huempfner (UK) def. Eric Hollingsworth (IUPUI) 6-0, 6-1
6. Fabian Penzkofer (UK) def. Michael Koch (IUPUI) 6-3, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. Cesar Bourgois/Enzo Wallart (UK) def. Alex Jochim/Colton Morehart (IUPUI) 6-3
2. Theo McDonald/Ryo Matsumura (UK) def. Sean Bailey/Ethan Mardanus-Budio (IUPUI) 6-2
3. Kevin Huempfner/Kento Yamada (UK) def. Rodney Steven/Kyle Whittaker (IUPUI) 6-0

Kentucky 7, NKU 0
Singles
1. Ryo Matsumura (UK) def. SADAL, Aleksander (NKU) 6-4, 6-1
2. Cesar Bourgois (UK) def. SCHWARTZ, Nathan (NKU) 6-3, 6-2
3. Kento Yamada (UK) def. RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (NKU) 6-0, 6-2
4. Theo McDonald (UK) def. CARR, Blaine (NKU) 6-3, 6-4
5. Fabian Penzkofer (UK) def. MURRAY, Chris (NKU) 6-0, 6-0
6. Kevin Huempfner (UK) def. HIDALGO, Felipe (NKU) 6-1, 6-3

Doubles competition
1. Enzo Wallart/Cesar Bourgois (UK) def. SADAL, Aleksander/RODRIGUEZ, Jorge (NKU) 6-2
2. Fabian Penzkofer/Ryo Matsumura (UK) def. SCHWARTZ, Nathan/HIDALGO, Felipe (NKU) 6-2
3. Kento Yamada/Arthur Chen (UK) def. ELLEMAN, Nick/CARR, Blaine (NKU) 6-1

The Cats have nearly a week off before their next match, as they don’t play again until Saturday, hosting the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in a 1pm match. Let’s hope the tennis Cats can keep up the hot start.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


“Freebies” for this weekend: Rubber duckies, hard hats and world records

“Freebies” for this weekend: Rubber duckies, hard hats and world records

It’s gearing up to be another big weekend for UK athletics. The men’s basketball team takes on Vandy inside Rupp Arena Saturday night, while the women’s team will be inside Memorial Coliseum Sunday at 1 p.m. to take on Ole Miss. Of course, you could go for the basketball. Or, you could go for the freebies.

John Calipari, who has continuously stressed the idea of “building” this particular team over the past few weeks, announced fans will receive these hard hats, courtesy of the company that created the first hard hat.

According to Coach Cal’s tweet, the BBN will be attempting to etch their names in the Guinness Book of World Records. Maybe they’re going for “Largest gathering of people wearing helmets,” which is currently held by the Ministry of the Interior in the United Arab Emirates. Thanks to a quick google search, it looks like the record is 3,929 people. The record was set in 2016. Here’s a picture of the record-breaking occassion:

via guinnessworldrecords.com

3,929 people? Rupp Arena can definitely beat that.

The women’s team will also have some goodies for fans coming to their SEC matchup – they’re looking to continue the positive momentum following Kentucky’s big win against the Lady Vols in Knoxville. The team is getting really into “National Rubber Duck Day.”

On a related note… Did anyone know there’s a National Rubber Duck Day?!


@MaggieDavisKSR


via @UKMenssoccer

UK Soccer’s JJ Williams selected as the No. 18 pick in MLS Draft

via @UKMenssoccer

After leading the Cats to a historic season, junior JJ Williams has been selected as the No. 18 overall pick in the Major League Soccer draft. He’ll be headed to Columbus, Ohio to join Columbus Crew SC. The draft, which took place in Chicago, began earlier this afternoon.

Williams was Columbus Crew’s first selection in the draft, and they seem pretty happy with their pick.

Williams was a finalist for the most prestigious award for collegiate soccer players, and he now owns multiple records at UK. Click HERE to read about all of his accomplishments from his time as a Wildcat.

Regardless of the pick number (as he was originally projected to go in the top-5 by all major mock drafts), Williams has to be pretty pumped to officially join the league. Here’s his message to his new team:

If the fans of this club are all as awesome as the people celebrating in the back of this video, I think Williams is in for a pretty special experience:

Congrats, JJ!


@MaggieDavisKSR


Photo by Barry Westerman, UK Athletics

WATCH: Kentucky Track star rocks national anthem at Rupp Arena

Photo by Barry Westerman, UK Athletics

Kentucky Track has a new star and man, can she sing.

Chloe Abbott recently transferred to Kentucky from Purdue, where she was a three-time First Team All-American. Her speciality is the 400m dash (fastest time 51.5 seconds), but last night, she showed off her voice to the Rupp Arena crowd, singing the national anthem prior to the Kentucky vs. Texas A&M game. Bradley McKee caught up with Chloe, a performing arts major, before and after the big moment:

Most of us aren’t blessed enough to be that talented in one area, let alone two. You go, Chloe!


Photo by Isaac Janssen | UK Athletics

UK soccer player JJ Williams comes up just short for college soccer’s highest honor

Photo by Isaac Janssen | UK Athletics

It’s been a historic season for the Kentucky men’s soccer team, and tonight was another prime example. Junior JJ Williams was one of just three finalists for the highest honor in college soccer: the MAC Hermann Trophy. Unfortunately, the Wildcat came up just a little short, and the award was given to Andrew Gutman, a senior defender from Indiana University.

Williams, a 6-foot-3 forward, has played an integral role for Kentucky this season. In addition to leading the team to their first NCAA Elite-8 appearance in school history, he also now owns multiple all-time records for UK, including the single-season goals record (18) and the single-season points record (44). And while he wasn’t able to clinch the Hermann Trophy, his impressive numbers earned him plenty of other national praise: Williams is ranked third in the nation in both total goals and total points this season.

Other national accomplishments include coming in at No. 2 in the country in game-winning goals (9) and No. 28 in assists (8). He was also named Conference USA’s Player of the Year and the conference’s 2018 Tournament Offensive MVP. Over the course of the season, he was also awarded National Player of the Week (announced the week of Sept. 10) and named a first team All-American.

Even though Williams is just a junior, he’s projected to go in the top five in multiple Major League Soccer mock drafts. Rankings will likely change after the upcoming combine (see, soccer isn’t so different from American football!), but if he is taken as the No. 1 pick, he won’t have far to go. FC Cincinnati owns the top pick for this year’s draft. The MLS SuperDraft is set to take place January 11 in Chicago.


In addition to being a really talented soccer player, Williams also seems like a super nice guy. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for a “Hey Kentucky!” segment before the team’s Elite-8 matchup. Although the Cats came up short in the tournament against Maryland, Williams has nothing to hang his head about. It’s been a fantastic year for both Williams and the entire UK men’s soccer team.

@MaggieDavisKSR