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Best of Blue Weekly Awards (week of Nov. 7)

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Thumbnail image for best of blue logo_web.jpg It can be hard to keep up with everything going on in the University of Kentucky's 22 varsity sports. With that in mind, we will highlight the best from around Kentucky sports each week. We'll recognize the best performances from Wildcat teams and players, we'll show you the coolest videos and photos that you may have missed and we'll mix in some new stuff along the way. Here are your award winners for this week:

Team of the week - Women's soccer reaches NCAA's for first time since 2006

Jon Lipsitz and the UK women's soccer team may have lost their only game this week, a 2-1 heartbreaker against Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, but their achievements for the season as a whole earned them this spot. On the strength of a 13-7-0 regular season, Kentucky learned on Monday they had officially earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. To take things a step further, the Wildcats will have the honor of hosting their first round game against Washington State (12-6-3).

UK has been led all year by the play of senior Kelsey Hunyadi, who is having one of the top seasons in school history. Hunyadi has started all 20 of Kentucky's games, leading the team in both goals (13) and assists (10) and earning second team All-SEC honors. She arrived on campus a transfer the same year Lipsitz took over head coaching duties and has played a central role in bringing the program to this point.

As much as the Cats have achieved, their season is only just beginning. Their NCAA Tournament run will get started 7 p.m. Saturday at the UK Soccer Complex. Tickets are available now and you can check out this link for complete information.

Player of the week - Greg Ferrucci continues to rewrite diving record book


Swimming and diving hosted a meet for the first time this season, with the men claiming victories over both Missouri and Southern Illinois and the women defeating Southern Illinois and falling to Missouri. Leading the way for the men was sophomore Greg Ferrucci, who claimed first place in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events.

In the one-meter competition, Ferrucci eclipsed the record score he posted just last week with a 396.25 mark. For his performance, Ferrucci earned his second consecutive SEC Male Diver of the Week award.

Game of the week - Football picks up first SEC with dominant fourth quarter

Trailing 13-10 entering the fourth quarter, UK outscored the visiting Ole Miss Rebels in the final period 20-0, carrying the Cats to their first SEC victory of the season. In his first career start, true freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith threw for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the fourth, leading the Cats to three touchdowns on four drives.

Even with a freshman under center, head coach Joker Phillips and offensive coordinator Randy Sanders dialed up aggressive play calls to take the lead and eventually pull away from Ole Miss. Wide receiver La'Rod King was the primary beneficiary of the aggressiveness, catching a go-ahead 38-yard touchdown and another 55-yard bomb to set the Cats up in the red zone for a touchdown that would all but seal the victory.

Play of the week - Men's basketball puts together highlight reel performance in final exhibition



Picking just one highlight from UK's dominating 125-40 win over Morehouse College is no small task. UK's suffocating defense led to numerous opportunities in the open floor and the athletic Cats took advantage at every juncture as they raced out to a 74-13 halftime lead.

Every play in the video above is worth a second look, but my personal favorite begins at the 18-second mark. Terrence Jones tosses ahead to Marquis Teague in the open floor, who makes an acrobatic catch on the right side of the hoop. Recognizing the speed at which he was traveling, Teague decided trying a layup on his own was too tough a proposition, so he instead opted to toss the ball off the backboard back to Jones for an uncontested dunk.

Photo of the week - Bria Goss finishes at the hoop


Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics

Playing their lone exhibition before the 2011-12 season, Matthew Mitchell and the women's basketball team took down Coker College by a score of 86-44. Leading the way for the Cats in her first game in a UK uniform was freshman Bria Goss. She scored 17 points, including this layup late in the second half

Video of the week - Volleyball staff shows off "Thriller" moves



The No. 18 Kentucky volleyball team had just one match this week, avenging an earlier loss to Mississippi State with a sweep of the Bulldogs in Memorial Coliseum. The Cats will hit the road for a pair of matches against Alabama and Ole Miss as they continue their run at the SEC title.

They took a break from their regular preparations though to film a "Tip of the Week" video for Sportwide/AVCA. Assistant coach Keith Schunzel and players Becky Pavan, Christine Hartmann and Gretchen Giesler demonstrated a crossover and swing block drill the Wildcats use in practice.

The demonstration was informative, but not nearly as entertaining as what happened at the end of the video. Schunzel, along with fellow staffers Lindsey Gray, Sara Sjuts and Anders Nelson one-upped UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell with a nearly perfect rendition of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" dance for Halloween. The dancing commences at the 2:39 mark.

Alumnus/alumna of the week - John Conner scores first touchdown of the season


Former UK fullback John Conner, also known as "The Terminator" has established himself as the starting fullback for the New York Jets this season. He's known more for his crunching blocks, but he scored his first touchdown of 2011 on a one-yard dive as the Jets defeated the Buffalo Bills in a crucial AFC East battle. The touchdown was the second of his two-year NFL career.


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