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."
The men's golf team took at foreign trip to Scotland over the summer. (Photo courtesy of Cameron Mills)
If you ask a former athlete or even current professional athletes, they will likely tell you that being a student-athlete in college is one of the most memorable times of their careers. They may not remember every snap, every swing or every play, but certain special moments and experiences with teammates often remain fresh in their minds forever.
The Kentucky men's golf team had one of those experiences over the summer. In head coach Brian Craig's tenure at Kentucky, he has been able to take his starters on a foreign trip, each of the last two times to Ireland. This year, he decided to mix things up.
In 2012, men's golf was afforded the opportunity to take all 10 players, staff and a couple of extra guests on a trip to the birthplace of their sport: Scotland.
The birthplace of golf offers a different style of golf than is played in the United States. Their courses are considered "links-style," a faster, longer, firmer type of course that vastly contrasts from the traditional course in the U.S., which often leads to a more difficult game. But that didn't keep the Wildcats from having the time of their lives.
"It was obviously a one-of-a-kind trip," said senior Joseph Barr, "And the scenery, you can't beat. It's, everywhere you go, beautiful mount sides, green. It doesn't have the city feel to it. But when you actually do go into the town and city parts, everything's really bunched together and it's a great time."
In fact, the difficulty of some of the most famous and scenic courses in the world was looked upon as a challenge and opportunity to improve. It not only tested the will of these UK golfers but also their creativity.
But if the style of the courses did not make it challenging enough, the wonderfully gloomy weather that is Scotland played a hand in the conditions as well.
"It rains every day in Scotland," said senior Cody Martin. "You just have to accept that you're going to get wet. But we got used to that after about five days. The conditions are the same every day. It's cloudy, it's cool and it rains."
This was no sight-seeing tourist trip, however. They came to Scotland with a purpose: improve their golf game no matter the conditions. Each day brought more golf, new courses and new experiences. Scotland wasn't about learning about Scotland, which they did, but it was learning about themselves and how they could adapt their game.
Though the styles of play vary so much to the point that links golf vaguely resembles the game they are used to playing in the United States, there were still several lessons to be learned.
"You can for sure use your talents of knowing how to play in the wind because the wind you get there is nothing like you get here," said Barr. "It's so dramatic. So when you come back here, you're like, 'Oh, this isn't bad at all.'"
Craig, who decided that he would play with and against his players to generate a competition within the group, believes that his team had a great time regardless of the results or conditions just because the experience was that unique.
"The reaction was, they loved it; every one of them," said Craig. "Even though the weather was not very good over there, it doesn't bother you because the golf is so special."
Despite the gloomy weather, the players kept a bright outlook each day. After all, they were playing on some of the world's top courses and honing their craft. They got to play on Open Championship courses like The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, The Turnberry Resort, and the Royal Troon Golf Resort.
If you're a serious golfer, that's golf heaven.
While the golf may have been special and the sightlines otherworldly, the greatest impact the trip may have made was within the team itself. For the first time since Craig began taking foreign trips, he had an entire team intact to absorb a once-in-a-lifetime experience together.
"We normally only take the starters," said Craig. "But this time we took all 10 guys. We obviously were together all the time, but I think the best part of the trip for the guys was that they got to bond together all the time."
Both seniors echo their coach's sentiments. For most tournaments during the regular season, teams often only travel five or six of their best players. Those guys often get to know each other better than the others and the team rarely gets to share experiences as a unit. For really the first time, this group was able to do just that.
"Even on the days where played 36 holes and that's what we did all day, and even when we were miserably tired and it was pouring down rain, we were still loving it," said Barr. "Turnberry was our favorite golf course and it poured down rain all day and we had the greatest time. We'll just always be able to have this camaraderie that we were able to enjoy this together."
Spending time with teammates is great, and this team certainly came together just as well as Craig could have hoped, but it was the special guests that made this trip extra special. Playing countless rounds of golf in Ireland with your buddies is fantastic. Playing countless rounds of golf with your father, with your brothesr, or with a Kentucky basketball legend can only enhance what was already going to be a fantastic experience.
Stephen Powers was fortunate enough to have his father John join the team on the trip. Barr had his brother and former Kentucky Wildcat Cale Barr, who had previously been on one of the Ireland trips during his time playing for Craig. Then to cap off the guest list, former Kentucky basketball great and two-time national champion Cameron Mills received an invite from volunteer assistant coach Tim Philpott.
For the Barr brothers, it was a very special moment that they will be able to share with each other and their family for the rest of their lives.
"I was so worried that he wasn't going to be able to go because it was such an expensive trip," said Joseph Barr. "You know you always want to be able to have some family members there. That's why for me and Stephen Powers, he got to have his Dad there. John Powers and my brother were the only family that were able to come, but we were very fortunate to have them there."
They were also fortunate to have Mills along for the journey to share his life experiences, both on and off the hardwood. Mills also served as the team photographer, shooting some amazing pictures of the players and the scenic landscapes that the team competed on. Though he wasn't part of the team, it may have been Mills who had the best experience of all.
"I haven't followed UK basketball my whole life," said Martin. "I didn't know (Mills) before he went on the trip. But I obviously know who he is now. He was a ton of fun to be around and he had so much fun. He probably had the most fun out of everyone there to be honest. He plays the least golf out of anyone who went. He took pictures of us all and he had a blast. I know that."
It was experience after experience for these players. Whether it was a new course, high winds, firm conditions, or special guests, this team was taking it all in, savoring every last bit before the Wildcats had to return home.
Now, when they look back, they are a stronger, tighter group, all because of the similar experiences that they shared together as a team. After spending some time back home, they've played some golf to get back into the swing of things, but Scotland is, and will continue to be, forever fresh in their minds.
"Every day we talk," said Barr. "Every time we see each other it just brings back old memories."
This week marks the last few quiet days around UK Athletics before football fall camp gets started after Media Day on Friday. Still, there are a few news items to report.
-On Tuesday afternoon, UK Athletics announced its 2012 Hall of Fame class. Six Wildcat greats will be welcomed into the prestigious group as a part of Hall of Fame Weekend. On Sept. 14-15, in conjunction with Kentucky's football game against Western Kentucky, the six individuals below will be officially inducted.
Derek Abney - Football (2000-03)
Leroy Edwards - Men's basketball (1935)
J.B. Holmes - Men's golf (2002-05)
Jeff Keener - Baseball (1980-81)
Clayton Moss - Swimming and diving (1999-2003)
Nancy Scranton - Women's Golf (1983-84)
-Junior men's golfer Cody Martin qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship, shooting even-par over two rounds at the U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Coldstream Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio. He joins teammate David Snyder as the second Wildcat to qualify. Play at the championship begins on Aug. 15 at Cherry Hills Golf Club in Denver.
-Anthony Davis will be suiting up for Team USA for the second time on Tuesday evening, as the Americans take on Tunisia at 5:15 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network. Even if Davis continues to serve as the 12th man against Tunisia, he will likely play should the game prove to be the blowout so many expect it to be.
In recent years, the NCAA has emphasized the importance of the Academic Progress Rate, imposing tougher goals and enforcing stricter penalties on programs that fail to meet them. The 22 teams from the University of Kentucky Athletics Department have responded.
Once again, UK's programs exceeded the four-year NCAA cut score of 900 (which will escalate to 930 over the next few years), ensuring that each remains eligible for postseason play. UK teams combined for an average four-year APR of 975.3, more than two points better than the NCAA average of 973. To take it a step further, 15 of UK's 22 teams exceeded the national average in their respective sports.
"With the increase of the cut score, achieving the APR has become even more challenging," Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a release. "Our coaches and support personnel have done well in adjusting to the requirements and I'm proud of our student-athletes for their work in posting strong scores."
Leading the way was men's golf, which earned a perfect APR of 1000. Following behind closely were women's cross country (994), men's cross country (993), women's golf (993) and women's tennis (992). Also exceeding the national average for their sports were men's basketball (963), football (951), baseball (975), women's basketball (970), softball (984), men's tennis (987), women's indoor track (984), women's outdoor track (986), volleyball (990) and rifle (982).
Not only did UK teams compare favorably to their counterparts at other institutions, but they also showed improvement. Sixteen of UK's 22 teams had better four-year scores than in 2004-05, including baseball, which is up 77 points over that time frame.
The men's basketball team, fresh off a national championship, also continued to show significant progress. Its score of 963 is 41 points better than 2004-05 and stands to improve even more. In each of John Calipari's two seasons as head coach, UK's single-season APR has been 979, including in 2010-11, the last year included. The 2011-12 academic year will be reflected in the APR release next summer, which bodes well given that the combined team grade-point average for the spring semester was 3.12.
See below for four-year APR information by sport and a comparison to UK's 2004-05 totals and national averages:
Last August, former Kentucky golfer and current professional J.B. Holmes had to withdraw from the PGA Championship. He was tested and diagnosed with a condition called Chiari malformation (CM), or structural defects in the cerebellum.
He underwent two surgeries in a month, the first removing a part of his skull and the second addressing an allergy to an adhesive used in the first. Since then, Holmes has recovered and returned to the PGA Tour in January.
This week, he is participating in the Players' Championship and is the story of the tournament even before teeing off in a competitive round. On Wednesday, Holmes met the Wendorff family, which has three children with CM. He hosted the three boys with the condition and their parents on the final practice day to show them a good time and that living a normal life with CM is possible.
Zachary and Skyler were later diagnosed with CM. Zachary has had a surgical procedure to treat the condition. Skyler is asymptomatic.
"They're kind of looking for somebody to look up to," Dan said.
Holmes is 5-foot-11, but that's tall enough. He treated Skyler, Brayden, Zachary and Cami (the 4-year-old sister has no signs of CM) like golf royalty. They walked the fairways with Holmes and even took turns taking some practice putts.
"It was awesome," Dan said. "It was awesome. I was glad to see that they could meet with somebody, an adult that's doing well and doing what he loves -- [despite] the misfortune of having the Chiari malformation."
Holmes got something out of it, too. His smile was just as big as the kids'.
And not that he needs another lesson in perspective, but Wednesday's meeting was a nice reminder of what matters.
"At the time, you think [bogeys are] the end of the world," said Holmes, whose neck muscles are still recovering from the surgeries. "And they really don't mean anything."
The clock is ticking down on this year in UK Athletics.
Baseball is the only team still in regular season play, while men's tennis, softball, track and field, women's golf and men's golf are all preparing for postseason play. You can find more information on each one at the individual sport pages, but I figured I would compiled and summarize information on how to follow all of your Wildcat teams in the postseason. Men's tennis - Hosting NCAA Tournament beginning Friday
For the fourth consecutive season, UK was chosen to host first and second round matches. Kentucky, the No. 6 overall seed in the tournament, will open their NCAA run against No. 75 Radford (20-5) 3 p.m. Friday at the Boone Tennis Complex. Should the Cats win, they will advance to meet the victor between Indiana (21-8) and Louisville (18-9), a match that will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Boone Tennis Complex.
Tickets are still available and you can visit Tourney Central http://www.ukathletics.com/ncaatennis/ for more information. For those unable to attend, there are plenty of ways to keep up with the action:
If UK advances past the second round, it will travel to Athens, Ga., for the Sweet 16.
Softball - Opens SEC Tournament on Thursday
With a late-season surge, UK earned the fifth seed in the SEC Tournament and the right to face fourth-seeded Georgia at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. All tournament games will be carried live on the ESPN family of networks with UK's first round game on ESPNU and ESPN3.
Just a couple weeks ago, it appeared the SEC Tournament may be UK's last chance to qualify for NCAAs, but the Wildcats are now two games over .500 and likely to reach the NCAA Tournament even with a first-round loss in the SEC. Stay tuned to the blog this evening, because we will have a feature on senior Rachel Riley to preview the tournament.
Track and field - Preparing for SEC Championships
The track and field team is already in Baton Rouge, La., where the Wildcats will participate in the SEC Outdoor Championships. The event begins on Thursday and lasts through Sunday. Metz Camfield is traveling with the team and will have updates on UKathletics.com. Also, follow @KentuckyTrack on Twitter as the Cats look to improve on an eighth-place finish at SEC Indoors.
Women's golf - NCAA bound
Last week, the women's golf team learned its NCAA Tournament path, and the Wildcats will be heading to Columbus, Ohio for the Central Regional of the NCAA Women's Golf Championship, which begins on Thursday and lasts through Saturday. The Cats will be part of a 24-team field that includes six other SEC teams as they look to finish a strong 2012 during which they've bested the school record for team scoring average by nearly two strokes.
Men's golf - Awaiting NCAA fate
The Wildcats, after a seventh-place finish in the SEC Championships, are hoping to earn their first NCAA Regional berth since 2009. If UK does hear its name called, Regionals will take place May 17-19.