The University of Kentucky men's golf team hosted their third annual alumni outing on Sunday, Jan. 20 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. at the Old Palm Golf Club. The match is their only round of live play before their spring season gets underway Feb. 18-19 in Mobile, Ala., at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate.
KSRcollege.com's Ben Ward stopped by earlier this week to discuss the upcoming season with UK head coach Brian Craig. With the addition of European transfer Ben Stow, Craig has high hopes for the 2013 campaign.
"I feel like with the addition of Ben Stow in the lineup we got a lot more firepower and you know what, I'm not saying we are the odds on favorite [to win the SEC title], but we could do it. Beyond that I feel like this team is capable of making a run deep into the postseason," UK head coach Brian Craig told me yesterday morning. I like the sound of that, don't you?
Guy Ramsey took on the rigorous task last holiday season of dubbing Wildcats esteemed victors of the 2011 Scratchies. The Scratchies commemorate the best of the best of the fall semester, celebrating the many achievements and top events and performers so far in the athletic calendar. Guy has, with great regret and sorrow due to a stressful and hectic schedule, passed along the duties of handing out these illustrious Wildcats to me. After putting in countless hours of research and analysis, consulting with the Cat Scratches brain trust, and many sleepless nights, it is with great honor that I present to you the winners of 2012 Scratchies for the fall semester...
MVW (Most Valuable Wildcat) Cally Macumber (Cross Country) - The 2012 cross country season was one of the best in Kentucky history as junior Cally Macumber helped welcome new head coach Edrick Floreal with an individual SEC Championship. Macumber won the SEC Championship on Oct. 26, she earned SEC-best times in both the 5,000- and 6,000-meter events, won SEC Athlete of the Week twice, and was named 2012 SEC Cross Country Runner of the Year. She became the first Wildcat to win the women's SEC Title since 1989.
The Dream Team (team of the semester) Volleyball - For the second time in as many seasons and the third in four years under head coach Craig Skinner, the Kentucky volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16. Kentucky earned the No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, giving the Cats the opportunity to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats defeated East Tennessee State to move on and face Ohio State. Kentucky won convincingly over the Buckeyes, 3-1, after dropping the first set.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they would be matched up with the No. 1 seed in Penn State in the West Lafayette, Ind., Regional. The six-time NCAA Champions fought off the Wildcats as UK made runs in the first two sets and ended another successful Kentucky season. The Cats finished the year with another 20-win season with a final record of 22-11. They faced one of the toughest schedules in the country, beat Tennessee twice, and had three Wildcats named All-Americans including second-team selection Whitney Billings and honorable mentions Stephanie Klefot and Christine Hartmann.
The Adolph Rupp Award (coach of the semester) Jon Lipsitz (women's soccer) and Johan Cedergren (men's soccer) - The Kentucky soccer programs each reached new heights in the respective programs this season, and much of the credit goes to those running those teams. Women's soccer head coach Jon Lipsitz guided his team to the first NCAA Tournament win in program history with a victory over UT Martin in the first round. Kentucky racked up big wins against Louisville and Florida and finished 14-7-1 to cap off one of the best seasons in program history.
Johan Cedergren's first season at the helm of the men's program got off to a rocky start, but it didn't take long before he rallied the troops. The Cats dropped their first three matches of the season before getting in the win column against Saint Joseph's. The Wildcats' next win came in a huge upset over rival Louisville, which sparked a four-game win streak. After a tie against Memphis and losses to Indiana and Southern Methodist, Kentucky went on another four-game win streak to put itself in prime position to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Not only did Kentucky make the NCAA Tournament field, but the Cats were selected to host the first round for just the second time in program history. Kentucky fell to No. 19 Xavier in the first round, but UK finished with a 10-9-2 record and Cedergren looks to have his program on the rise.
The Butler-VCU Award (surprise team of the semester) Men's soccer - When UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart hired Johan Cedergren to become the new head coach of the men's soccer program, most expected Cedergren to eventually right the ship and get the team headed in the right direction. But no one could have expected the run they would go on after starting the season 1-4-0. There was a gloomy outlook on the beginning of the season as Cedergren looked to install his style on his veteran squad. But the Wildcats got a broke out and broke through with an upset win on the road over rival Louisville. After the 1-4-0 start, Kentucky went on to post a 9-5-2 mark over its last 16 games, building a strong enough resume not only to make the NCAA Tournament, but also host the first round for the second time in program history.
One Shining Moment (best moment)
Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart introduces his newest hire in head football coach Mark Stoops in his first press conference. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Stoops Press Conference (football) - Kentucky football got a shot in the arm with the hiring of Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as the new head coach at the University of Kentucky. It was a hire that reignited passion in the Kentucky football program as Stoops brings with him an impressive resume backed up by a pedigree of successful collegiate football coaches.
After an exhaustive coaching search, Barnhart found his man and officially named Stoops the next head football coach on Nov. 27. And for the first time as the new head coach, he was introduced to the media, donors, Kentucky Athletics staff and some fans for the very first time during an elaborate celebration/press conference on Dec. 2. Stoops and his family got to see firsthand what the Big Blue Nation is all about as he was first greeted by fans waiting outside of the Nutter Field House in the rain. As he entered, he was met by Kentucky cheerleaders and the sound of the Kentucky fight song on his way to the podium to meet Barnhart and UK President Eli Capilouto.
The hiring and the event sparked the Kentucky fan base and now has the state buzzing about football in the thick of the college basketball season.
The "Band is Out On the Field" Award (best game/match) Volleyball comes back from 2-0 deficit at Tennessee - Kentucky was looking for its first season sweep of Tennessee since 1995. The Wildcats earned their first three-set sweep over the Volunteers since that same 1995 season in their first meeting of 2012. Knoxville, Tenn., had not been kind to the Wildcats in recent history, and it looked as if history would repeat itself once more. After the first two sets of the match, the Wildcats faced a 2-0 deficit at the break and it was all but certain that UK would split matches with UT.
The Wildcats came out angry and hammered the Vols, 25-14, in the third set. They then held off UT in set four, forcing the decisive fifth set with a 25-22 victory. Riding all of the momentum of the match, stealing it directly from the clutch of Tennessee's hands, Kentucky handled the Volunteers with a 15-5 in a set where UT never threatened. And for the first time in 17 years, Kentucky returned to Lexington with two wins over the neighbors to the south.
The Doug Flutie Hail Mary Award (best play)
Hubly's golden goal in 93rd minute earns first-ever NCAA Tournament victory - Kentucky and UT Martin were locked in a scoreless battle heading to overtime. The Wildcats had earned the right to host the first round as they sought the first NCAA Tournament win in program history. In the 93rd minute of the game, freshman Kelli Hubly came from the right wing, took a one-on-one opportunity, beat the defender and knocked her shot in past the diving UT Martin goalkeeper for the game winner.
Honorable mention: Janee Thompson's three, Azia Bishop's block clinch comeback win at Louisville for UK Hoops
All-Wildcat Team (the Scratchies equivalent of the All-America Team) Cally Macumber (XC)- SEC Cross Country Runner of the Year, SEC Champion Whitney Billings (volleyball) - Second-Team All-American Avery Williamson (football) - Second in SEC in tackles with 135 while adding three sacks Larry Warford (football) - Three-year starter at offensive guard named All-American by AP Stephanie Klefot (volleyball) - SEC Libero of the Year for conference record third consecutive season Arin Gilliland (women's soccer) - First-Team All-SEC Matt Lodge (men's soccer) - First-Team All-C-USA Steven Perinovic (men's soccer) - First-Team All-C-USA Greg Ferrucci (diving) - Two-time SEC Diver of the Week so far in 2012 Henri Junghanel (rifle) - Tied a program best shooting a 597 in the air rifle event
All-Calipari Team (all-freshman team) Courtney Raetzman (women's soccer) - Freshman All-SEC scoring four goals with 12 total points Kelli Hubly (women's soccer) - Scored six goals, including a game winner in the NCAA Tournament Sara Schwarzwalder (volleyball) - Freshman All-SEC tallying 149 kills (1.51 k/set) in 30 starts Landon Foster (football) - Named to the first team Freshman All-America by Scout.com as well as earning All-SEC Freshman accolades Archie Goodwin (men's basketball) -Averaging team-highs in points (15.8) and assists (4.4) through 10 games Nerlens Noel (men's basketball) - Putting up impressive numbers across the board, averaging 10.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.8 spg, 3.9 bpg through his first 10 games Rebecca Hamperian (diving) - Named SEC Female Freshman of the Week (Nov. 6)
All-Up-and-Comers(non-freshmen on the rise) Kyle Wiltjer (men's basketball) -First double-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds vs. Lipscomb (averaging 11.7 points on the season) Zan Morgan (volleyball) - Started for the first time as junior in 2012 averaging 2.3 kills/set and 1.1 blocks/set Samarie Walker (women's basketball) - Has started all 10 games this season averaging 9.0 points and 7.6 rebounds Charles Pettys (men's soccer) - Scored six goals in his junior campaign in 18 games this season Liz Breed (women's golf) - The junior shot a 2-under-par (70) helping UK to a 6-under-par score, a record low round in program history, at the Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, Texas Will Bishop (men's golf) - The sophomore won the Cabo Collegiate shooting 2-under-par for the event to pick up his first collegiate victory
He said what? (quote of the semester) - "We've been sitting in the office for three years going, '2012, 2012, 2012. And that doesn't mean we didn't think it could happen before. We almost did it last year, but it was our dream that we knew it was going to happen this year. We knew." - Jon Lipsitz after women's soccer won the first NCAA Tournament game in program history.
The Dougie Award Coach Mitchell dances to MC Hammer at Big Blue Madness
English transfer Ben Stow looks to put UK men's golf over the top this spring. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
He hadn't been in the United States much more than a month before he made a lasting impression on his coaching staff. They knew that they had found the foundation of their team, a guy who could take them to the next level.
English transfer Ben Stow was paired with two of his assistant coaches as well as a member of the Champions Trace Golf Club during their practice round. Due to a hectic school schedule created by the same circumstances that led him to the Commonwealth, he was forced to play in the first practice group in order to make class on time.
Stow was still new to the team, having just met his assistants and club member Jeff Garrett. While preparing for their first hole, volunteer assistant Tim Philpot laid out the situation for Stow.
"Jessie (Mudd) and I are playing you and Jeff Garrett, and Jeff is a 16-handicap," said Philpot.
Stow was first to tee off. As he teed up his ball and prepared his first shot, he looked back at the other members of the foursome and said, "Now he's an 11, because I'm a plus-five."
The English transfer promptly stepped up to his position in the tee box, wound up and launched his drive 300 yards down the middle of the fairway and went about his business.
That's who Stow is: a talented, confident, experienced player who figures to bolster a Kentucky men's golf lineup that found success in the fall without him.
Now Stow, who hasn't played in a single tournament since leaving his home in Salisburry, England in August, is chomping at the bit to compete for his new university and new teammates at the University of Kentucky.
That opportunity almost never came as concerns about credits transferring and visa issues arose.
Stow knew it wouldn't be easy, but the opportunity to test himself against some of the best competition the United States has to offer was the primary reason he chose to come to America, play for Kentucky and compete in the Southeastern Conference.
"I've competed at the highest level in Europe," said Stow. "So I was like, 'I want to go to America and see how I fare against those guys,' because there's some good players out here in collegiate golf."
Meanwhile, Stow was working tirelessly and purposefully to maintain his game as he plotted his potential move across the water hazard known as the Atlantic Ocean. He played a tournament in Iceland, the European Championship, spent six hours at home where he spent time with friends, ate dinner and was back in the air on his way to Kentucky.
It only took one visit to the United States, one visit to UK's campus - an empty summer campus with few students around - for Stow to make up his mind. He would spend his junior and senior seasons at the University of Kentucky instead of the United Kingdom.
"I sat down with my dad when I got back," said Stow. "I had eight hours on the plane, and I was like, 'Dad, I love it. I think it's the right thing to do.' "
Stow had other options. He says that South Carolina, Tennessee and Illinois each reached out to him, but Kentucky was the only place that he visited. But it was no stroke of luck that Stow randomly decided to play for Brian Craig and the Kentucky men's golf program. It all culminated with one of Craig's contacts, a valuable one that helped him land the talented European.
Terry Casey, the father of English golfer and PGA Tour member Paul Casey, had reached out to Craig to tell him about one of his players that he managed in the English Golf Union. Terry suggested to Stow that he think about playing in the United States and that he take a look at Craig's program at the University of Kentucky. Stow loved the atmosphere and the people that he met during his lone trip to the Bluegrass State.
The Atlantic Ocean was hardly the only obstacle between Stow and his collegiate golf career, however.
Often times, transferring from one college to another is a difficult process, even when both schools are in the same country. Credits don't transfer, curriculum differs, and not every institution offers the same degrees. Becoming an American student by transferring from an English university doesn't help much in those matters.
Stow and Craig waited, holding their breaths collectively waiting for a decision on whether or not Stow would be a Wildcat. It went down to the wire, but news finally broke that he would be eligible to play for Craig at UK.
Stow got over here as fast as he could, but time was ticking. Visa issues slowed the process down even more for him, and chances of him making it to campus in time for the beginning of his first semester were diminishing by the day. Looking for any possible way to speed up the process, the staff looked to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. The Senator came through, helped speed up the process and with great haste did Stow start his voyage.
At the last possible moment, Stow enrolled at the University of Kentucky right at the end of the add/drop period in the early portion of the fall semester. And the rest, well, is still to be determined.
Stow has yet to play a single round for Kentucky, but he's already making an impact on his new teammates who have taken him in almost immediately. While some players may resent a player of Stow's status and the experience he brings to the table, the team has embraced him with the possibilities of what could be.
"Ben's got a trait that every great player has, and it's the number one trait and that's desire," said Craig. "That's where he's rubbed off on the team is in desire because that trumps everything. So that kind of desire to train and do what you need to do to get better is a great model to your peers.
"Ben's got a unique opportunity to be a leader right off the bat even though he hasn't been here very long, he's very well connected with the guys."
His desire, or as Stow calls it, "work ethic," is what has made him into a player who has built a resume that says he has earned the No. 2 ranking in Europe among players age 21 or younger, played on several continents and competed in the top European events in the sport has to offer.
"I've always been a very, very driven person. Competitive I suppose," said Stow. "When I get my work hat on, it's kind of hard to get me out of that state."
Though Stow claims he's always had something "burning inside" of him, his competitiveness and passion for the game really took off after training sessions with Ryder Cup veteran and European player Gordon Brand Jr. Brand Jr., a relentless worker who told Stow stories of his days of playing in tournaments with bandages on his hands because of cuts left on his palms due to tireless practice habits, has made a long-lasting impact.
"He said to me, 'If you work harder than everyone else, then success is inevitable,'" said Stow.
Stow has weaved those words of wisdom into his own daily fabric.
"Kind of one of my mottos when I get up and train is if I give 100 percent every day, then success is inevitable," said Stow. "If I put in 100 percent every day, I don't need to worry about being successful because I know I'm going to get there. It's just a matter of when."
Stow, however, hopes the when is sooner rather than later. He has Tiger Woods-like expectations and aspirations. After a five-month layoff from the sport he's spent his whole life passionately training for, he's ready to get back into the swing of things to prove to everyone and to himself that he's one of the very best. He's not bashful about it either.
"I'd like to be the best player on the team, have the lowest stroke average," said Stow. "I'd like to kind of get the team into the top-25 and make the NCAA Tournament. On a personal level, I'd like to eventually get SEC Player of the Year and be an All-American."
But the Englishman doesn't just want to be an All-American, or an All-European. Stow has his sights set even higher. With his tireless training and desire, maybe his goals aren't that far-fetched.
"As far as I'm concerned, the sky's the limit," said Stow. "I want to be the best golfer in the world at some point."
When January rolls around and Stow finally tees it up for the first time as a Wildcat in the Jones Cup Invitational, it will be nearly five months since Stow played a meaningful round of golf, something he hasn't done since he was 12 years old. It will be an opportunity to get a head start on the season after sitting out the fall, but also to help to get him rolling as he looks to help elevate his team to the highest level. While Stow is brimming with anticipation for the upcoming season, his head coach is just as giddy with the opportunity to add a player of Stow's stature to an already surging UK lineup.
"I'm excited because I think we have a chance to be a really special team this spring," said Craig. "We have a chance to really be good. We were good in the fall, but we have some guys I think can play better. And then with Ben in there, we've got a whole new dynamic to the lineup."
Will Bishop captured his first collegiate victory at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate tournament this fall. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
At the dawn of the fall portion of its 2012-13 schedule, Kentucky men's golf coach Brian Craig said he hoped that his team would build consistency. The quest for consistency was a direct result of an uneven 2011-12 season which found Kentucky all over the map, especially in their '11 fall campaign.
With a fifth-place, a fourth-place, and two second-place finishes in their four fall events this season, the Wildcats made significant strides on that front.
"We made a lot of progress," said Craig. "We were consistent. That was the biggest thing we were looking to gain coming into this year because last year we were wildly inconsistent and it cost us."
What it cost them was a shot at an NCAA tournament berth, a destination that Kentucky hasn't reached since the 2008-09 season. Last season, the Cats were considered a bubble team, but Craig felt that his team had a few more quality wins than some of the other teams on the bubble. But despite their success in the spring, it was their fall struggles that kept them from returning to the NCAA field.
Craig was fairly confident heading into the fall that his team would resurrect its game and find success this fall. And as the team improved from tournament to tournament, a leader emerged for the Wildcats.
Though he's just in his second season of collegiate golf, sophomore Will Bishop has become a budding star and a leader on this Kentucky golf team, both on and off the course.
Bishop picked up an individual tournament victory, albeit a weather-shortened championship, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The Lexington, Ky., native picked up his first collegiate win shooting a career-low equaling two-under-par 70 in the lone round of the tournament, propelling Kentucky to a second-place finish behind Ole Miss.
And while his game has been on a steady rise since last season, his work ethic off the course has been equally impressive to his head coach.
"I'm really happy for Will because in the spring semester he really buckled down, changed his attitude, matured," said Craig. "He's one of our team leaders now, on and off the golf course. He does everything the right way, great kid, works hard, super-talented, great fundamentals. There's no reason he shouldn't keep getting better."
The Querencia Cabo Collegiate tournament was the final tournament of Kentucky's hectic fall schedule. With the Wildcats finding success and consistency over the last four events, they head into the winter with a much sweeter taste in their mouth than a year ago.
While Kentucky's play in the fall may not carry over to the spring, the Wildcats should carry a bit of momentum at least into the winter. Craig says his team will a more cheerful disposition and that seeing the fruits of their labor will help them continue to push harder in the offseason.
Now, as UK takes a bit of a break from the game to recharge the batteries as the seasons change, the Wildcats continue to work with an eye toward the spring. The golfers are still getting into the weight room bright and early at least three times a week to work on their bodies and strength.
Though the Wildcats are working on their physical strength individually, they will be much stronger as a team with a new addition to its roster. Craig reeled in junior transfer Ben Stow from England, and after sitting out the fall portion of the schedule, the transfer from the United Kingdom will now be competing for UK in 2013 as the most accomplished amateur player on its roster.
His teammates are cognizant of Stow's success as well. Craig says Stow's presence and track record alone has immediately elevated the team as a whole.
"Ben, you can tell clearly, demands a little bit of respect because of his record," said Craig. "It's also because of the way he takes care of his business. He doesn't fool around. He works hard in the classroom. He works hard on the golf course. That's a good model for his peers."
With how the Wildcats performed over the last few months and the addition of Stow to the 2013 rotation, the bar has been raised with an eye towards a run in the Southeastern Conference and a return to the NCAA Tournament.
"This year, for us, I think that our expectations are pretty high because we add a new player in Ben Stow in the spring," said Craig. "Stow is the most accomplished player on our team in amateur golf. And by far."
But the one thing the Cats must carry in their bags with them this spring over from the fall competition is its consistency. Consistency was the biggest key to UK's success this fall, and consistency will be instrumental for the Wildcats again in the spring.
Without it, those high expectations and dreams of postseason success may not come to fruition.
"Consistency in golf is huge," said Craig."That's where all the rankings and postseason births are based on: consistency."
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 14:
Women's soccer: Arin Gilliland
Sophomore Arin Gilliland scored the game-winning goal Sunday in a 1-0 win on the road at Georgia while also collecting the assist on the game-winning goal to Kelli Hubly in a 1-0 win at Tennessee as UK completed the weekend sweep. The Lexinton, Ky., native now leads Kentucky with 15 points on the season, striking for five goals and five assists. The game-winning goal by Gilliand was her second on the season.
Volleyball: Christine Hartmann
Senior Christine Hartmann directed the UK offense to a pair of sweeps of SEC Western Division foes including handing Texas A&M just its second loss of the season in league action. Against the Aggies, Hartmann led the Blue and White to a .351 hitting percentage which is the highest percentage yielded by Texas A&M this season. The Aggies lead the league in opponent hitting percentage allowing .143 for the season and .159 against league foes - and that's following yesterday's match. The previous best hitting clip allowed by A&M was a .229 clip, also to Kentucky. Hartmann dished out 39 assists and led UK to 14 or more kills in all three sets including 18 in the second set and 17 in the set-clinching win. UK hit above .400 for a stanza twice in the match. Furthermore, the 39 assists for a three-set match is a season-best for the senior. Hartmann's defensive prowess guided the Wildcats to a win over visiting Mississippi State. Hartmann had a squad-best eight digs and as well as a team-high three blocks to lead the way against the Bulldogs.
Rifle: Emily Holsopple
Junior Emily Holsopple led Kentucky in air rifle during the first match of the year, posting a 592 Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. To go along with her 592 in air rifle, Holsopple posted a 587 in smallbore to record an aggregate score of 1179. Holsopple's 592 came from steady shooting throughout and was just above her 2011-12 air rifle season average of 591.9.
Women's soccer: Kelli Hubly
Freshman Kelli Hubly added to her team lead, scoring her fifth goal of the season in Knoxville, Tenn., as UK charted a 1-0 win over Tennessee. The tally was the game's only goal, and was struck in the 70th minute. The game-winner was Hubly's second of the season and now stands second on the team with 12 points.
Rifle: Henri Junghänel
Senior Henri Junghänel opened the 2012-13 campaign with a bang, shooting a 590 in smallbore against Nebraska. Junghänel's 590 marks the highest smallbore score for a Wildcat since Ethan Settlemires shot a 590 in the 2011 NCAA Championships and goes down as a personal best. Junghänel led the team with a total aggregate score of 1181, after shooting a 591 in air rifle. Junghänel's performance helped the preseason No. 2 Wildcats knock off No. 4 Nebraska, moving the Wildcats to 1-0 with the conference win.
Women's soccer: Kayla King
Junior Kayla King had her best weekend in the Blue and White, recording back-to-back, 90-minute shutouts on the road at Tennessee and Georgia. The Louisville, Ky., native had a career high 10 saves on Sunday in Athens and kept a clean sheet vs. Tennessee on Friday night as the Wildcats picked up a crucial six points. King fended off 36 shots over the two games and dropped her GAA to 0.81 on the season. The back-to-back shutouts was a career first for King, as she had recorded one prior in her career entering the weekend.
Men's soccer: Matt Lodge
Senior midfielder Matt Lodge connected on his first career penalty kick goal as the game-winning tally in leading UK to a 2-1 comeback win at No. 25 UAB on Saturday ... Lodge finished the penalty after freshman forward Caleb Richardson forced the attempt by drawing a foul on a run in the box ... The win for UK was its first over UAB since the 2008 season and marked UK's first comeback win of the year ... A native of Rossington, England, Lodge has six goals in 2012 and owns 23 in his sparkling four-year career ... He ranks tied for fourth in UK career history in goals and sixth in points (61) ... With his eighth career game-winning goal - and his second in 2012 - Lodge ranks tied fourth in program history ... In the win at UAB, Lodge fired a club-best three shots and now has a school-record 177 in his career.
Men's golf: Chase Parker
Chase Parker recorded his best finish of the year thus far, finishing in a tie for sixth individually at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational, Oct. 8-9. The Augusta, Ga., native fired a 3-over-par, 75 in round one before concluding the 36-hole stroke-play tournament with a 2-over-par, 74 in the second round. Parker was 5-over for the event and helped lead the Wildcats to a fourth place finish against a competitive 11-team field.
Volleyball: Sara Schwarzwalder
Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder returned to the lineup this week and provided a spark for the Wildcats en route to a 2-0 weekend. Schwarzwalder was magnificent in helping lead UK past Texas A&M for the second time this season. The freshman logged seven kills on a .667 hitting percentage. Both the kill total as well as the hitting percentage are career-bests for the Ohio native within SEC play. She also pitched in with a career-high two digs in the victory. Her three blocks against Mississippi State ranked as a team-best in leading UK to a win over the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena.
Men's soccer: Jack Van Arsdale
Junior goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale saved five shots in a stellar performance to lead UK to a win at No. 25 UAB on Saturday night ... Van Arsdale charted five saves, including several leaping, diving and fully extended efforts to thwart scoring chances for the physical Blazers ... On the year Van Arsdale has a 1.39 goals-against average in 11 games and 970 minutes, saving 32 shots with two shutouts ... The native of Richmond, Va., has now shined in UK's two wins over top-25 foes on the road in 2012, also posting a six-save performance in a 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Sept. 14 ... Van Arsdale has now started eight consecutive games in goal for UK, sporting a 1.34 goals-against average in those games, with UK owning a 5-2-1 record.
Football - The Kentucky football team fell over the weekend to Arkansas 49-7 in Fayetteville. The game was suspended because of lightning twice. The second delay was with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter and Arkansas leading 49-7. The game would not resume. - In the third quarter, freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow threw his first collegiate touchdown pass, a 61-yard play to La'Rod King. King now has 1,569 receiving yards in his career, moving past Anthony White for seventh place on the UK career receiving yardage list. He also has 17 receiving TDs in his career, tying Steve Meilinger for fifth place on the UK career list. - Kentucky is fielding one of the nation's youngest teams, playing 14 true freshmen and 26 total (true and redshirt) frosh, one of the nation's top-five teams in each category. True freshman cornerback Cody Quinn led UK in tackles with a career-best seven.
Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team enjoyed a 2-0 week against SEC Western Division foes racking up a pair of sweeps over Mississippi State and Texas A&M. UK captured the win over the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena in front of a Craig Skinner era record crowd of 5,162 fans. - Kentucky then turned around and earned an impressive sweep of the Western Division leading Texas A&M Aggies. Senior setter Christine Hartmann directed the offense to the tune of 49 kills on a blazing .351 hitting percentage. The .351 clip is the highest hitting percentage surrendered by the Aggies this season who currently lead the league in opponent hitting percentage. - Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder led the offensive effort against the Aggies with seven kills on .667 hitting, which both rank as career-highs within conference action.
Women's soccer - Junior Kayla King recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time in her career, dropping her season GAA to a miniscule .833. The Louisville, Ky., native had a career high 10 saves on Sunday in Athens and kept a clean sheet vs. Tennessee on Friday night as the Wildcats picked up a crucial six points. King fended off 36 shots over the two games - Arin Gilliland scored the game-winning goal vs. Georgia, scoring her fifth goal of the season, adding to her team lead of 15 points on the season. In addition, the Lexington, Ky., native tallied the assist in the game-winning goal to Kelli Hubly in the win over Tennessee.
Men's soccer - The Kentucky men's soccer team continued its rugged schedule to open the 2012 season, traveling to face No. 25 UAB on Saturday and posting a 2-1 comeback win with a pair of second-half tallies. - Kentucky faced off with its seventh ranked opponent of the 2012 season in facing UAB, with the Wildcats falling behind 1-0 early and rallying with goals from senior midfielders Charley Pettys and Matt Lodge for the comeback win. Lodge's goal marked the 23rd of his career, ranking fourth-best in UK history. - The Wildcats have been paced by a dynamic offensive unit in 2012 that has netted 23 goals in the first 13 games, averaging 1.77 goals per game and 12.2 shots a contest. Defensively, UK has a 1.51 goals-against average and owns an 85-69 advantage in corners.
Rifle - The Kentucky rifle team started off its season with a 4666 - 4643 victory over No. 4 Nebraska. - Senior Henri Junghanel led Kentucky in smallbore, posting a 591. Junghanel also shot a 591 in air rifle. - Junior Emily Holsopple shot a team-best 591 in air rifle after shooting a 587 in smallbore. Women's golf - Kentucky finished tied for 12th in the Tar Heel Invitational that was filled with 13 top-50 teams. - Junior Liz Breed was the high finisher for the Wildcats, finishing tied for 32nd at 9-over-par. Men's golf - The UK men's golf team placed fourth at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational this week, finishing just four strokes off from first. - The Wildcats also competed in the Bearcat Invitational this week as head coach Brian Craig sent Harrison Greenberry, Joseph Barr, Seth Blann and Matthew Anderson to compete in the event as individuals.
Cross country - The Kentucky women's cross country team produced a 12th-place performance at NCAA Pre-Nationals on Saturday in Louisville. - Macumber raced across the challenging E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park 6,000 meter course in 20:09.00 to notch her fourth top-10 finish in as many meets this season. - Oswald earned a time of 20:32.70 to finish in 23rd ensuring UK was the only unranked team at the nationally competitive meet with multiple top-25 performers. - The Wildcat men finished in 25th-place overall.
Upcoming schedule Monday, Oct. 15 Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico)
Tuesday, Oct. 16 Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico)
Wednesday, Oct. 17 Men's soccer at Marshall - 7:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Friday, Oct. 19 Women's soccer hosts South Carolina - 6:30 p.m. Volleyball hosts Arkansas - 7:00 p.m. Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Rifle at Murray State Swimming and diving hosts Tennessee and Indiana - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20 Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Football hosts Georgia - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 Volleyball hosts LSU- 1:30 p.m. Rifle hosts Army Women's tennis at ITA Regionals (Lafayette, Ind.) Men's tennis at USTA/ITA Regional Indoor (Memphis, Tenn.) Women's soccer hosts Auburn - 2:30 p.m. Men's soccer hosts Florida International - 5:00 p.m.
Football - The football team dropped its Southeastern Conference opener Saturday to No. 14 Florida 38-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. - Junior tailback Jonathan George led the team in rushing for the second-consecutive game, posting 52 yards on 13 carries. Overall, UK had 159 rushing yards against the Gators, which was the most a UK team has posted vs. UF since gaining 175 in 2003. - Sophomore linebacker Bud Dupree paced the UK defense with eight tackles and a sack. Junior Avery Williamson also gathered eight tackles in the game, while senior Martavius Neloms had an interception and Collins Ukwu blocked a field goal. Volleyball - UK dropped a heartbreaking five-set loss at LSU, before rallying for a five-set win that snapped a nine-match winning streak at Texas A&M. UK was led by senior Stephanie Klefot who put together back-to-back 20-dig matches for just the sixth time in her career. The 49 digs allowed her to chart 1,641 for her career and officially moved her into second place on the UK all-time career digs list passing BriAnne Sauer (1,634). That mark also ranks 10th all-time in the SEC. - Junior Whitney Billings also provided a spark for UK in the win in College Station. She had season-high numbers in kills (16), digs (16) and blocks (6), while also charting a career-high five aces. It marked the 18th double-double effort of her career. Senior Ashley Frazier launched 17 kills at LSU and followed that with 16 at A&M to lead the way offensively for UK.
Women's soccer - The UK women's soccer team split its first SEC weekend series, winning the Sunday game in overtime with LSU 2-1. - Freshman Courtney Raetzman scored one goal Friday night and two goals Sunday, including the golden goal in the 106th minute of the game to top LSU 2-1. The Elk Grove, Ill., native has tallied 10 points in the last four games. - The one goal allowed Sunday in the win over LSU was the eighth time in 10 games that the UK back line has allowed one or fewer goals in a game. Men's soccer - Kentucky won its third consecutive game with a victory at Evansville on Saturday to pull up to a .500 record after starting the campaign 1-4-0. The Wildcats used an explosive offensive attack and sterling defense during their three-game winning streak. - The Wildcats have been led offensively by Tyler Riggs in 2012, who has three goals and three assists in UK's first eight games of the year. - A native of Richmond, Ky., Jack Van Arsdale has allowed only one goal in his last three games, coming on a penalty attempt. He now owns a 0.90 goals-against average in six games and 500 minutes, saving 18 shots with two shutouts. UK freshman goalkeeper Callum Irving has also started three games, with seven saves and a 2.00 goals against average. - As a team, UK has averaged 1.62 goals a game and 11.8 shots a contest and a 53-43 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK owns a 1.24 goals-against average.
Cross country - The women's cross country team finished second with 47 points at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational, its second runner-up finish of the year. The men's team finished seventh with 200 points. - Junior Cally Macumber led the women's cross country team at the Virginia/Panorma Farms Invitational, winning the 5K event with a time of 17:29.13. - Senior Chelsea Oswald and junior Allison Peare earned their second top-10 finishes of the year, with Oswald finishing sixth with a time of 17:53.34 and Peare finishing ninth with a time of 18:28.84. - Senior Luis Orta led the men's team in the 8K event, finishing 16th after completing the event in 24:37.73.
Women's golf - The UK women's golf team placed eighth at the Mason Rudolph Invitational. Ashleigh Albrecht finished with the lowest score for the Wildcats at 12-over par and was tied for 23rd individually. - Next up for the Wildcats is the Tar Heel Invitational, Oct. 12-14 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Men's tennis - The UK men's tennis team competed in its third tournament of the fall, as the Cats traveled to Louisville to take part in the Louisville Invitational. - Brett Johnson, Maks Gold, Beck Pennington and Michael Binder made the trip to Louisville for UK as both Johnson and Gold recorded wins in the singles draw. Upcoming schedule
Monday, Sept. 24 Men's golf at Saint Mary's College Invitational (Monterey, Calif.)
Tuesday, Sept. 25 Men's soccer at IPFW - 7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Saint Mary's College Invitational (Monterey, Calif.) Wednesday, Sept. 26 Volleyball hosts Tennessee - 8:00 p.m.
Football - Junior tailback Jonathan George had a career game, scoring three touchdowns - two rushing, one receiving - in Kentucky's 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky on Saturday. George finished the game with 13 rushes for 51 yards, adding a career-high six catches for a career-best 54 yards. The junior was the first player to score two rushing touchdowns and a receiving score in the same game since Randall Cobb in 2010 vs. Auburn. - Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith three for 300-plus yards for the second-consecutive game, becoming the first player to accomplish that feat since Mike Hartline in 2010. - Defensively, Collins Ukwu, Alvin "Bud" Dupree, Avery Williamson, Taylor Wyndham, Mister Cobble and Martavius Neloms all had career-high tackles. Williamson led the way with 14 stops. Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team opened SEC action with a home contest against No. 13 Florida. The Wildcats suffered a 3-0 loss to the Gators in front of more than 1,800 fans at Memorial Coliseum. - Senior libero Stephanie Klefot had a season-high 18 digs in a three-set match. - Junior Alexandra Morgan matched a career high with 10 kills to lead the offensive effort for the Blue and White. - Kentucky will now hit the road for its first two-match conference set with dates at LSU on Friday and Texas A&M on Sunday.
Women's soccer - Kentucky upset No. 13 Florida Friday night 2-1 in a game that featured a PK from each team before freshman Courtney Raetzman scored her first-career goal in the 47th minute to notch the game winner. The win over the Gators was the Wildcats' first since the 2006 SEC Championship game. - UK ended Mississippi State's undefeated season Sunday, collecting three goals from three different players in a 3-0 win. The win marked the third-consecutive win over MSU for the Wildcats. - Sophomore Arin Gilliland scored a goal in each game this weekend, charting the equalizer in Friday night's upset on a PK in the 30th minute, and also scored in the 50th minute vs. Mississippi State on a rebound. - Junior Kayla King recorded her first-career shutout Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 win over MSU. In addition, King was in the cage for the entire 90 minutes, collecting the win Friday over No. 13 Florida as the Louisville native recorded six saves.
Men's soccer - The Kentucky men's soccer team continued its stiff schedule to open up the non-conference season, traveling to No. 18 Louisville and springing a thrilling 1-0 win on Friday in front of 5,583 fans at an electric Cardinal Park. - Kentucky faced its fourth ranked foe in the first six games of 2012 on Friday night in an intense, rivalry atmosphere in the Derby City. The Wildcats struck for a free-kick goal on the boot of senior midfielder Matt Lodge in the 38th minute and used a heroic defensive effort from goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale, defenders Steven Perinovic, Jacob Speed, Dylan Asher and Jacob Kemper, with midfielder Cameron Wilder also starring in the winning effort. - The win for UK was its first at Louisville since 2004 and snapped a three-game winning streak in the series for the Cardinals, the 2010 NCAA College Cup runner-up. - Lodge continued to move up the record books with his goal on Friday night, giving him 20 goals, 15 assists and 55 points in his career, ranking sixth in UK history in goals and points.
Men's golf - The UK men's golf team opened up their 2012-13 year with a fifth place finish at the Wolf Run Invitational this past weekend. - Stephen Powers and Will Bishop finished in the top-20, posting scores of 5-over-par and 7-over-par, respectively. Women's golf - The women's golf team kicked off their 2012 fall schedule with a victory at the Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational, winning the tournament by two strokes with a score of 14-over. - Ashleigh Albrecht led the Wildcats with a 1-over-par, sixth place finish. - Freshman Cylia Damerau also recorded a top-10 finish, placing ninth with a score of 4-over. Damerau was huge down the stretch for the Cats, shooting 3-under the final two rounds.
Sophomore Will Bishop led all UK players in qualifying with a score of -14.
Brian Craig and his men's golf team open up their fall slate with a trip to Zionsville, Ind., Saturday with a clear goal in mind: Improvement. But that goal is just one of many goals in Craig's greater scheme.
With Kentucky going up against some very talented golfers from Indiana University, the University of Illinois and Ohio State, among other opponents, UK will get its first early test and an opportunity measure where its game is.
"This is a good (way) to start the season off because it's a good blend," said Craig. "But you will get a gauge because there are some teams that are really good."
In order for Craig's players to be where they need to be, and that's preferably in the top-five when this weekend is all said and done, his players have to focus on themselves rather than the competition. If they do that, Kentucky should be in contention near the end.
"The only thing we can control is the decisions we make, the attitude we have, how we think about ourselves, so my goal would be that we do that well," said Craig.
The object of the fall for the men's golf team this fall is to continue to master its game with an eye toward next spring, when the competition matters most. The spring brings some of the most competitive fields in the country due to UK's affiliation with the Southeastern Conference. The SEC boasts arguably the best golf conference in the nation.
Craig believes that a NCAA championship is attainable at UK, and that the road to that title is via a different title: the SEC championship.
"As a team, our goal is always to be a in a position to win the SEC championship at the end of the year," said Craig. "If we can do that, then we're going to be in a position to win the NCAA championship because the SEC is as good as it gets."
This weekend will give the Wildcats an opportunity to see just how much they have to improve to get to that level. After qualifying, Craig likes what he's seen from his golfers, especially sophomore Will Bishop who ran away with the top spot.
Bishop won the five-round qualifier by eight shots, including a 10-under par round of 62 to post a team-best 14 under for the qualifying rounds. As surprising as that score appears, Craig was hardly surprised by the success of his sophomore.
"No, it wasn't a surprise at all," said Craig. "About March of last year, he became a new player and has been maturing since then and getting better."
Craig described Bishop's transformation as a player as going "from a boy to a man." A good portion of that improvement can be credited to former golfer Mads Kristensen who pulled Bishop to the side last season. Kristensen's message to Bishop made an immediate impact, because since that moment, Bishop hasn't turned back.
"When one of your peers does that, sometimes it sticks, and (Bishop) will tell you it stuck," Craig said. "And ever since that point he's been a different guy and a different player."
But Bishop isn't the only one that has his coach excited. Those who qualified, other than Bishop, senior Chase Parker, juniors Cody Martin and Stephen Powers, and sophomore David Snyder each played well, save for one round during qualifying.
Craig came away from qualifying encouraged, but is looking for more consistency out of his team this weekend.
"It seemed like everybody had one really bad round except from Will," said Craig. "But then we had some really good stuff too, though. We had some good shots as well as some very low scores to go in there with that. We just need to be more consistent overall. You just have to be in men's golf."
The Wolf Run Invitational will present Kentucky with a tough task, as the course itself is one of the most challenging courses they will play on all season. It requires a high golf IQ and the ability to execute in order to find success.
Craig is looking for the Cats to bring both a high IQ and execution out on the course, but he wants them to play with some attitude. While the spring portion of their schedule is the one that counts, they can't reach their goals without first taking care of business in the fall. That's where things went wrong last year.
Last season, UK lacked the consistency necessary to string an entire year together. They struggled mightily in the fall, and despite a strong spring, there failures in autumn held them back. He hopes a more experienced group of players will help them this time around to achieve more consistent results. If they are capable of that, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to achieve their goals.
"This year is all about consistency, because last year we didn't have a good year, but we had a solid spring," said Craig. "The fall killed us. We have no excuses not to be more consistent; these guys are not green behind the ears anymore. We need to get to the point when we have our 'C' games we are still a competitive team in that field, and if we do that, we are going to go a long ways in the post season."