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In tonight’s volleyball matchup between the unranked Wildcats and the #5 Florida Gators, UK came out on top. For the first time since 1990, Florida’s team was swept as the ‘Cats scored a 3-0 victory.
The Wildcats made the trip to Gainesville and immediately took over Lemerand Athletic Center, winning the first set 25-17. Freshman Leah Edmond started the first set with a kill and ended the set with five, while sophomore Brooke Morgan recorded four blocks. Other stat leaders included eight assists for setter Olivia Dailey and five digs for sophomore Ashley Dusek.
The Cats take the opening set 25-17 to take a 1-0 lead in the match. pic.twitter.com/mZ3JdZS1JU
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) September 29, 2016
The second set was eerily similar. Edmond began the set with a kill, and continued to dominate Florida’s defense. Kaz Brown, the 6’4 middle blocker, recorded six kills, four blocks and just one error. The Wildcats claimed this set 25-18.
We feel you D-Mack! Cats win second set 25-18 and own a 2-0 lead in the match. 😼 pic.twitter.com/AxywuF6hd5
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) September 29, 2016
The Gators’s urgency in the third set allowed them to take a quick lead which lasted until a Wildcat 5-1 run, tying the score at 14. After a tough third set, UK was able to score a 25-23 victory.
Cats pull off the UPSET in Gainesville!@KentuckyVB: 3
No. 5 Florida: 0
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 29, 2016
Tonight’s win put the Cats at 3-0 in SEC play. Their next game will be at 1:30 on Sunday, Oct. 2 against South Carolina in Columbia.
After a thriller of a matchup last season, UK and New Mexico played in another tight match this season, with the Wildcats coming out on top, 1-0. Last year, it took over 108 minutes for the only goal of the game to be scored, when Stefan Stojkovic gave the Cats the 2OT victory. This season, while the score was the same, UK found the back of the net much earlier.
Noah Hutchins scored his third goal of the season just over five minutes into the game on the assist from Charlie Reymann.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) September 25, 2016
This win takes UK’s record to 5-2-1 on the year, and 1-1-0 in Conference USA. Tonight was definitely a big win going forward in conference play for the Wildcats. Hopefully, they can keep this momentum going in their games against Lipscomb and Charlotte later this week.
Take a minute and watch the highlights and post-game interview with sophomore goalkeeper Stuart Ford courtesy of KYWildcatsTV:
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) September 26, 2016
Makayla Epps raked in yet another award when Athlon Sports named the senior guard Preseason All-America Second Team today.
Epps is one of few players remaining from last season’s squad whom she carried to the Sweet 16 where their season ended against Washington.
Last year Epps averaged a team best 17.1 points per game along with a 47% from the field, 4.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. Epps also scored more 20+ points in 12 games and in double-digits 29 times.
This is just one of many awards that Epps has managed to earn over her last three years at UK. After a stellar junior season the guard was named All-America First Team by CollegeSportsMadness.com and also received an All-America Honorable mention by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and The Associated Press.
Not only those, but Epps was named a first-team All-SEC performer by coaches around the league and the AP. During the season, she was also listed on three different watch lists: the Dawn Staley Award Mid-Season, Naismith Trophy Midseason 30 and the Wade Trophy.
Coming off an incredible junior year, Epps should have a killer final year with the Cats.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 09th, 2016 @ 5:05pm
Matthew Mitchell picked up a big commitment from one of the best players in the state of Kentucky today in the form of Blair Green, a 2018 prospect out of Harlan County High School.
Green is considered a three-star wing by ESPN Recruiting, ranked fifth at her position. She was also looking at Tennessee, UCLA, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Dayton.
Green visited Kentucky in early August and looked really, really happy in her photos:
— Blair (: (@greenblair32) August 3, 2016
Let’s go UK Hoops! Big get here.
If you thought that maybe Karl-Anthony Towns was a one-sport athlete, you were 100% wrong. KAT was far and away the most impressive in the Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic Home Run Derby. Towns won the home run derby with a walk-off in sudden death followed by an epic bat flip.
Check out this video brought to us from CN2’s KSTV:
— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) August 28, 2016
As if the BBN could love Karl any more than it already does, he just keeps surprising everyone. Doesn’t hurt that he eats, drinks and breathes Kentucky Wildcats in everything that he does, but still, the guy is like the perfect former Cat.
And it wasn’t just the home derby, Towns carried those skills to the actual game as well:
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) August 29, 2016
I’m sure any UK fan can thing of several times in the past where Coach Cal has criticized the effort or hustle of a certain player, but maybe Coach Cal needs to start practicing what he preaches. As our own Drew Franklin pointed out, John Calipari wasn’t exactly giving 110% while running out this ground out in his celebrity softball game.
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) August 28, 2016
As a person who played baseball my entire life, I can hear every former coach of mine yelling at their screens watching that video. Stay tuned to @KySportsRadio and @DrewFranklinKSR for updates all night from the charity/alumni game.
By Haley Simpson on ©August 20th, 2016 @ 9:30pm
Women’s Hoops released a challenging non-conference schedule this week complete with their own Kentucky Classic featuring Albany and Miami.
The Cats will play at home against, Union University, Miami, Albany, New Hampshire, Morehead, Samford, Oklahoma, Middle Tennessee, Arizona State, Radford and Washington State. They’ll also travel to Colorado, Louisville and Duke.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) August 18, 2016
Tip-off for Kentucky’s first exhibition game will be on Nov. 3rd at 7 p.m. against Union University inside Memorial Coliseum. Tickets for that game and the rest of the non-conference schedule can be bought here.
In some more exciting news, I want to announce that there will be two new writers joining me to bring you the best Women’s Hoops coverage out there. So I’d like to welcome both Maggie Davis and Savannah Patton to the beat with me. Both of them are phenomenal writers and will be such a great addition to the staff, so be on the lookout for their posts in the upcoming months. Also, you should follow them on Twitter at @MaggieDavisKSR and @savannahpattKSR.
November 3rd isn’t that far away and Big Blue Madness is right around the corner so be on guard for some season previews in the next couple weeks!
Kentucky’s Kendra Harrison has her own billboard along New Circle Road after setting a world record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. The 28-year-old record was broken at the Müller Anniversary Games in London on July 22, two weeks after Harrison’s dreams of reaching Rio fell short at the qualifier, where she had the No. 1 time entering the competition.
Harrison bounced back quickly to set the new record, and though the billboard isn’t an Olympic medal, it’s a testament to her accomplishment and perseverance.
“I’m so blessed and grateful,” she tweeted.
How cool is this I made my 1st billboard, I'm so blessed & grateful 😊… https://t.co/9vZMH5CqMt
— Kendra Harrison (@KeniUSATF) August 16, 2016
Real all about Harrison’s record run and the frustration leading up to it here.
Put a gold medal on the board for the Kentucky rifle team.
Henri Junghaenel of Germany, a former Wildcat, took home top prize in the Olympics today in the 50-meter rifle prone. I don’t know what that means but I know what a gold medal is and they’re hard to come by.
Junghanel was UK’s shooting-average leader in both guns during the 2010-11 NCAA Championship season. He was a four-time All-America selection at Kentucky.
The UK women’s basketball roster is growing, adding Rachel Potter of Pikeville and Jessica Hardin of Wayne County to the team as walk-ons this summer. They’ve worked out with the team this summer and will officially added to the roster when class begins August 24.
Pikeville’s all-time leading scorer averaged 20.4 points per game in her senior season in 2014 and was a third-team all-state selection. Hardin spent a season at Bellarmine after taking home 12th Region Player of the Year honors in 2013.
These additions give Matthew Mitchell ten active players on the roster. That number could grow before the season starts.
Sean Gunn has dreamt about making the Olympics his entire life, and at the age of 22, his dreams have finally come true. The Kentucky swimmer will be in Rio representing his home country of Zimbabwe.
I was able to speak with Gunn before he left, where he shared with me how he ended up at Kentucky, how he made the Zimbabwe Olympic team and so much more.
Gunn knew the only way he could make the Olympics was to swim in the United States. Through a recruiting agency in Zimbabwe, he found a small school in South Carolina called Limestone College. Soon after, he realized he wanted something bigger.
“I had never been to the states before so had no idea what I was going, but when I got there I realized I wanted to be a part of the SEC and a Division I program, so I started the recruiting process,” Gunn said. “I really liked the coaching staff, team and facilities that Kentucky had to offer so I decided to come here, and have absolutely loved it.”
Zimbabwe does not have Olympic swimming trials like the United States. In order to make the Zimbabwe Olympic team, you have to be chosen.
“I had to be a part of the national team and had to have competed in the World Championships last summer and the All-Africa Games early this year. After that I kind of just had to wait, and wait until they decided who they were going to send.” Gunn said.
Zimbabwean officials had an easy decision. Gunn placed first in all his events at the 2016 Zimbabwe National Championship. Gunn also holds two Zimbabwean records for the the 100-meter freestyle at 50.91 seconds, and 200-meter freestyle at 1:51:53.
Challenges in the pool will not be as difficult as some of the circumstances outside of the pool. Not many athletes are worrying, including Gunn.
“I had heard a lot of bad reports and negativity about the village, and how bad the games were going to be, but I really didn’t get too worried about it,” Gunn said.
As an athlete all you can think about is competing to win a gold medal. The importance of representing your country, especially a small African country like Zimbabwe, puts all the fear aside.
“I’ve dreamed of this my whole life so it’s very exciting that it’s so close,” Gunn said. “The opening ceremony is also something I’ve really been looking forward to. Staying in the village with all the athletes I think will be so cool.”
When you ask most swimmers about people they’ve idolized and admired growing up, you hear names like Michael Phelps. That’s not the case for Gunn.
“Growing up Kirsty Coventry was definitely my hero and someone who I looked up to in swimming. She was the first person to get medals for Zimbabwe,” Gunn said. “So being a first time Olympian, its really cool to have her as my teammate as someone who has already been to four previous Olympics to help me through everything.”
Gunn and Coventry are the only two swimmers representing Zimbabwe in Rio.
I could not let Gunn experience his first Olympics without asking him one of the most important questions at KSR… Cracker Barrel or Outback?
“Cracker Barrel,” Gunn said.
Gunn will be swimming in the 100m Freestyle on August 9.
Bullitt East’s Lindsey Duvall has committed to play for Jeff Walz at the University of Louisville, her father confirmed to The Courier-Journal.
Her commitment to UofL comes less than three months after removing her pledge to play for Matthew Mitchell at the University of Kentucky. Duvall was one of the casualties of the mass exodus surrounding Mitchell’s program this spring.
Ahead of her junior season, Duvall was ranked as the third-best point guard in the nation, the No. 10 player overall by ESPN.com. Sidelined with a tumor on her knee, Duvall made a miraculous recovery to return to the court before the season came to a close. As a senior, she will be a Miss Basketball favorite.
Losing players in Mitchell’s program obviously hurts, but their eventual destinations pour salt on the open wound. Batouly Camara transferred to play for Geno Auriemma at UConn, Alexis Jennings joined SEC-rival South Carolina and now the best recruit from the Commonwealth will play for Kentucky’s instate foe.
Good news for the UK Tennis program: on Wednesday, UK announced plans for a new $20 million tennis center, which will be placed on the site of the current UK Baseball Stadium once the new baseball stadium is built. The Hilary J. Boone Center, UK’s current tennis facility, has been home to UK Tennis for 31 years, and according to former UK Tennis coach Dennis Emery, it was time for a change.
“Our indoor facility really needs an update,” Emery said, via LEX18. “The building is 30 years old. Our outdoor facility is still good but since you’re doing this, you do it all at one time.”
No timetable has been set for the center, but man, it sure looks pretty in that rendering.
By Trey Huntsman on ©July 24th, 2016 @ 9:15pm
Two members of the 2012 Kentucky Baseball team have been called up in 2016. Taylor Rogers has pitched in 29 games for the Twins, while AJ Reed played in 17 with the Astros.
Following a difficult stint for the Astros, AJ Reed was sent back to Triple-A to get regular at bats. Reed hit .156 with two home runs and four RBIs in 17 games for Houston. The demotion shouldn’t be for long, as the Astros still want to use him in a push for the postseason in 2016.
Taylor Rogers has been displaying his desire to stay in the big leagues by dominating out of the Twins’ bullpen. Rogers is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in 29 appearances this season. Rogers was predominantly a starter at UK, but moved to the bullpen when he reached the major leagues. In his last 15 games, Rogers has a 0.49 ERA and 20 strikeouts. Rogers is fifth on the abysmal Twins in WAR and second in walks per nine innings.
For an older story on Rogers’ change to the pen, check out this piece by MLB.com.
Former Kentucky track star Kendra Harrison broke a 28-year old record in the 100m hurdles, finishing in 12.20, .01 faster than the previous milestone. Her performance at the London Anniversary Games was amazing; her reaction was priceless.
The gratifying performance comes after Harrison hit a slump, failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the US Trials. That motivation carried her today.
“Not making the Olympic team, I was really upset and wanted to come here and show what I could have done,” Harrison told the BBC.
“I had vengeance on my mind and wanted to show the girls what I had.
“I trained so hard for this moment. Good luck to the girls running in Rio, but I am just shocked now.”