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Best of Blue Weekly Awards (week of Aug. 27)

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bestofblue.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: Volleyball takes Kentucky Classic

The No. 13-ranked Kentucky volleyball team started its season off with a bang over the weekend, posting three wins in route to the Kentucky Classic championship.

Kentucky got off to a beautiful start with a 3-0 sweep of North Carolina in the first match of the season in front of a huge crowd at Memorial Coliseum Friday evening. On Saturday, the Wildcats held off a scrappy Lipscomb team who battled Kentucky to a grueling fifth set before the Cats nabbed the final stanza.

With the Kentucky Classic title on the line, UK took the first, third and forth sets to handle Long Beach State behind the strength of outside hitters Ashley Frazier and Lauren O'Conner. The duo combined for 29 kills as O'Conner tallied 16 kills to lead Kentucky to the four-set victory.

O'Conner's performance vaulted her to MVP of the Kentucky Classic, and senior setter Christine Hartmann and junior middle blocker Alexandra Morgan joined her on the All-Tournament team.

Player of the week: VanLandingham's goal-scoring outburst continues

Ashley VanLandingham leads the women's soccer team in scoring through the first two games of the year. She has one in each of UK's first two games. Not impressed? Well, she's a defender.

The junior has been on a tear through the first two games, albeit a small sample size. Last season she finished with one goal all year, so just two games into the season, she's already doubled last year's efforts. Both goals have come via free kicks.

"I did work on (free kicks) over the summer, but I think it comes from the emphasis that we put on set pieces in practice," VanLandingham said. "It's a very important thing in games and we worked very hard on it."

Game of the week: Men's soccer's valiant comeback effort falls just short

The opening game of the Johan Cedergren era for the men's soccer program didn't end like Cedergren had hoped. In a 4-3 loss at Dayton Sunday night, the Wildcats fell way behind in the second half as Dayton scored four second half goals to put UK at a 4-1 disadvantage.

Dayton and UK played to a first-half stalemate, where no team penetrated the goal through the first 45 minutes. Each team swapped goals early in the second half before Dayton knocked in three unanswered goals on the Cats to pull ahead 4-1.

Kentucky tried to dig out of the hole with offensive fire power and make a late run at the Flyers. They came up with goals from Charley Pettys and Matt Lodge in the second half to mount a late comeback attempt, but Dayton held the one-goal margin to the final horn and came away with the victory.

Photo of the week: Vollyeball shows off the hardware

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

Video of the week: A day in the life of fall football camp




Alumnus/Alumnae of the week: Rusin makes splash in big-league debut

As the Chicago Cubs continue to handout big-league opportunities to some of their organizational prospects, former UK lefthander Chris Rusin took full advantage of his first Major League start.

Rusin hurled five innings of one-hit baseball in his Major League debut, and retired the first nine Milwaukee Brewers he faced in order. His instant success on the mound may have been a surprise to some, but his ability in the batter's box shocked the world, as Rusin tripled in his first plate appearance of his career.

The lefty fell into trouble in the fourth, after hitting a couple of batters and loading the bases, an infield single scored the lone run against Rusin. Though he was saddled with the loss (0-1, 1.80 ERA), it was a spectacular debut for the former Cat.

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