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.
TEAM NOTES 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. UK will return to action on Wednesday, traveling to face Marshall at 7 p.m. ET in a conference tilt.
Kentucky (6-6-1, 1-1-1 Conference USA) 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.
UK is now in the midst of a strong 5-2-1 stretch over its last eight games, owning a pair of wins over top-25 foes, with UK's only losses coming vs. No. 11 Indiana and at No. 25 SMU. UK has faced seven ranked opponents in its first 13 games, 54-percent of its schedule, including a current stretch of three consecutive games.
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.
UK has been led offensively by junior Tyler Riggs, who has seven goals and four assists, with Pettys adding five goals and three assists. Lodge has six goals, with senior Gabriel Conelian adding three goals and senior defender Jacob Kemper leading the team with five assists. In goal, junior Jack Van Arsdale has a 1.39 goals-against average with 32 saves in 11 games, while freshman Callum Irving, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, has started three games with a 2.00 goals-against average, saving seven shots.
Kentucky will travel to Huntington, W.Va., on Wednesday for the circuit matchup with the Thundering Herd, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. ET. OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE Sr., MF, Matt Lodge (Rossington, England) NOTES: 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. DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE R-Jr., GK, Jack Van Arsdale (Richmond, Va.) NOTES: 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 game with Mississippi State marked UK's third-consecutive game against an undefeated, top-20 opponent. Previous times in school history UK has played three straight ranked opponents include 1958, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1988, 2007, 2009 and 2011. - The UK defense limited Mississippi State to seven points in the second half. That ties the lowest scoring output by an opponent vs. UK this season. Kent State also had just seven points in the second half. - Freshmen quarterbacks Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles led the UK offense. Whitlow scored UK's second touchdown of the game on a three-yard rush, while Towles marched UK down the field for its first score when he connected with La'Rod King for a 32-yard touchdown. Demarco Robinson led UK in receiving with six catches for 43 yards.
Volleyball - Sophomore Lauren O'Conner tallied 11 kills on a career-high .556 percentage to lead the way in a win over Ole Miss. Freshman Kayla Tronick made her first career start and totaled 10 kills for a staggering .833 clip as she led a middle blocking unit that was flawless on the night. - Against the Gators, the Wildcats earned a 2-0 lead into the locker room, before succumbing to a gut-wrenching comeback by the Gators. UK limited the high octane offensive attack of Florida to just .197 for the match. O'Conner again led the way for UK with a career-high 18 kills on a sizzling .421 percentage. - Senior Stephanie Klefot had a match-high 22 digs to lead the back line defense. With 37 digs on the weekendshe has totaled 1,708 for her career and moves into seventh place all-time in the SEC career record books. Women's soccer - Arin Gilliland scored her fourth goal of the season against Missouri, which now sits in second on the team for most goals scored. The assist on the Wildcat's lone weekend goal went to senior captain Alyssa Telang, who tallied her second point on the season. - The overtime game Friday night was UK's fourth straight, which now stands as a new program record. - The loss Friday was UK's first to a top-25 team all season long, as the Wildcats were 2-0-1 previously against ranked teams. Men's soccer - Kentucky played its fifth and sixth ranked opponents of the year during the week, as the high-powered Hoosiers came to Lexington on Wednesday and secured a 4-1 win at the UK Soccer Complex. The loss to the tradition-laden Hoosiers snapped a five-match unbeaten streak for the Wildcats, the longest streak for UK since the 2009 season. - UK then ventured to Dallas to face league-leader SMU on a bitterly cold night at Westcott Field, with the Mustangs riding a penalty kick in the 65th minute and a late open-goal tally to a 2-0 win to stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games and improve to 4-0 in conference play.
Women's tennis - Sophomore Stephanie Fox led Kentucky at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic, winning the Green Draw after defeating Linn Timmermann of Georgia State 6-2, 6-2 in the championship match. - Nadia Ravita and Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff both finished second in their respective draws with Revita falling in three sets. Morin-Kougoucheff fell in the championship of the Pink Draw to Nayara Moraes of Middle Tennessee. - The tandem of Kirsten Lewis and Ravita fell short of winning the Teal Draw. The duo lost in the championship match 8-5 following an 8-2 win in the first round and an 8-6 semifinal win over Northwestern. Men's tennis - Tom Jomby defeated No. 14 Ben McLachlan of California 7-6, 6-3 to earn the upset. In the second round, the Nates, France, native earned a straight-set 6-2, 7-6 victory over Nathan Pascha of Ole Miss. His run came to an end Saturday to No. 7 Raymond Sarmiento of USC (California) in three sets. - Anthony Rossi came in as the No. 10 overall seed, but fell in the opening round in a three-set match.
Cross country - Luis Orta and Cally Macumber were named SEC cross Country Athletes of the Week after stellar performances at the Greater Louisville Classic. - Macumber finished second individually with a 5,000 meter time of 16:55.14, a mark, which currently stands as the best 5K time in the SEC so far this season. She now finished inside the top two in all three meets the Wildcats have competed in this campaign. - The senior came in ahead of Washington's Katie Flood, the defending Pac-12 cross country champion and a top-10 finisher at the 2011 NCAA Championships. - Orta earned the award for his 12th-place time of 24:06.96 over 8K. - He earned the same award three times last season. It was the third-consecutive top-20 performance for Orta this year and his ninth-consecutive top-25 finish.
Monday, Oct. 8 Men's golf at Jack Nicklaus Invitational (Dublin, Ohio)
Tuesday, Oct. 9 Men's golf at Jack Nicklaus Invitational (Dublin, Ohio)
Friday, Oct. 12 Women's soccer at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m. Volleyball hosts Mississippi State - 5:00 p.m. Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Saturday, Oct. 13 Football at Arkansas - 7:00 p.m. Men's soccer at UAB - 8:00 p.m. Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.) Cross Country at Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.) Rifle at Nebraska
Sunday, Oct. 14 Women's soccer at Georgia - 2:00 p.m. Volleyball hosts Texas A&M - 1:30 p.m. Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico) Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Overall Record: 5-6-1, 0-1-1 C-USA Record Last Week: 0-2-0, 0-1-0 C-USA Recent Results Wednesday, Oct. 3 - lost vs. No. 11 Indiana, 1-4 Saturday, Oct. 6 - lost at No. 25 SMU, 0-2
Upcoming Schedule (times eastern) Saturday, Oct. 13 - at UAB - 8 p.m. TEAM NOTES The Kentucky men's soccer played a pair of games against ranked foes during the week, suffering a loss at home on Wednesday to No. 11 Indiana and then falling on the road at No. 25 SMU on Saturday night. UK will return to action with a conference matchup at UAB on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET in Birmingham, Ala.
Kentucky (5-6-1, 0-1-1 C-USA) played its fifth and sixth ranked opponents of the year during the week, as the high-powered Hoosiers came to Lexington on Wednesday and secured a 4-1 win at the UK Soccer Complex. The loss to the tradition-laden Hoosiers snapped a five-match unbeaten streak for the Wildcats, the longest streak for UK since the 2009 season.
UK then ventured to Dallas to face league-leader SMU on a bitterly cold night at Westcott Field, with the Mustangs riding a penalty kick in the 65th minute and a late open-goal tally to a 2-0 win to stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games and improve to 4-0 in conference play.
The Wildcats did get a goal in the game vs. IU, coming from leading scorer Tyler Riggs, a native of Louisville, Ky. Riggs' goal was his seventh of the year, with the junior adding four assists. Senior Charley Pettys ranks behind Riggs in scoring, with four goals and three assists, while senior Matt Lodge - the UK career record holder for shots taken - has tallied five goals. Senior Gabriel Conelian has three goals while senior Jacob Kemper owns four assists. Bryan Celis and Steven Perinovic have also tallied goals, with Kristoffer Tollefsen adding two assists.
In goal for UK, junior Jack Van Arsdale has started nine games and played in 880 minutes, posting a 1.43 goals-against average with 27 saves. Freshman Callum Irving has started three contests and has a 2.00 goals-against average with seven saves.
Overall, UK has 21 goals in 12 games in 2012, averaging 12.6 shots per game and owning a 76-60 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK is averaging 1.71 goals allowed per game, with three coming on penalty kicks.
Riggs netted his team-leading seventh goal in Wednesday's contest against the Hoosiers. (Michael Reaves, UK Athletics)
Sometimes you need to fail to realize where you need to improve and build on for the future. The University of Kentucky men's soccer suffered a 4-1 setback against the nationally ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Wednesday at the UK Soccer Complex.
The loss snapped UK's five-game unbeaten streak and evened its record at 5-5-1 on the year. The Wildcats now turn their focus toward the rest of the season where they hit the road for three consecutive Conference USA matchups.
The Hoosiers showed why they are a top-15 team on Wednesday but the Wildcats know they can't dwell on the loss and are aware they have bigger goals to worry about than a non-conference loss. The Cats will take what they learned from Wednesday's contest as they continue with the rest of their schedule in effort to make the postseason conference tournament.
"The result is disappointing but honestly anything we could have done in this game would help us," junior forward Tyler Riggs said. "It doesn't hurt us by losing because it was a game we weren't supposed to win, but all that matters is conference so we have seven games to turn it around."
When Kentucky is on their game, head coach Johan Cedergren believes his squad can play with anyone in the country. The Cats have shown their fight against nationally ranked foes St. John's, Northwestern and Charlotte, while also topping No. 18 Louisville.
However, the Hoosiers presented another challenge for UK. Indiana showed why they are a powerhouse and gave the Wildcats a sense of where they are as a team and what they need to improve on.
"I think it's great to be able to have a team like Indiana come in, play under the lights on this field," Cedergren said. "We played okay but I think Indiana was kind enough to show what it takes to be a top-10 team in the country."
IU attempted just five shots on goal on Wednesday, with four finding the back of the net. The Hoosiers set themselves up with great opportunities and made life very difficult on UK junior goal keeper Jack Van Arsdale.
Moving forward, Kentucky can't afford to make the same mistakes against C-USA teams like SMU, UAB and Tulsa. Cedergren knows his back four must be sharper and will work with them in training this week.
Offensively, Indiana looked very solid and used precise touch passing to set attackers up in great positions for goal opportunities. The Wildcats can go to the film room and take away what the Hoosiers did offensively and learn from it.
"Some of their ball movement and one-touch play was phenomenal," Cedergren said. "That's what we try to do in practice and tell them you are not going to beat a Division I team dribbling. You've got to play and move, play and move. We are pretty close but we are not quite there yet."
The big thing to take away from Wednesday's outcome is how can the Wildcats bounce back. The Cats have proved it once already that they can overcome adversity after beginning the year 1-4 and reeling off that five-game unbeaten streak.
The Cats' next opponent is SMU on Saturday, Oct. 6 and begins a stretch of three straight road contests that also features UAB (Oct. 13) and Marshall (Oct. 17). The SMU match will be a good test for the Wildcats and will be a chance for UK to respond after the beating they took from the Hoosiers.
Cedergren and the team is very confident it can respond based off early struggles in the season and the ability to succeed as of late.
"I'm very confident with this team," Riggs said. "We have made a lot of strides this year, starting out rough, 1-4 and bouncing back with a five-game unbeaten streak. I'm feeling confident that this group of guys can get it done."
Head coach Johan Cedergren has the Wildcats riding a five game unbeaten streak heading into Wednesday's showdown with Indiana. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
"Great moments are born from great opportunities."
Those were the opening words Team USA hockey head coach Herb Brooks told his team during his pregame speech before Team USA knocked off the powerhouse Soviet Union squad in the 1980 Olympics.
Wednesday evening, the University of Kentucky men's soccer team has a great opportunity to make a statement this season and knock off another nationally ranked opponent. The Wildcats welcome into town the 11th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers, who around the soccer world have consistently been a prominent team over the years.
"I played against Indiana while I was at Cincinnati," head coach Johan Cedergren said. "They are a powerhouse. They are a good team, they have kids on the national team and with everything they have done over the years."
Indiana comes in with a record of 7-2-1 and is always considered one of the top teams in the Big Ten Conference.
If you take a moment and look back at Kentucky's season, you would notice that a victory against No. 18 Louisville on Sept. 14 seemed to turn the Wildcats' season around. UK stood at 1-4 entering that contest before going into Cardinal Park and stunning its in-state rival, 1-0. Since that match, the Cats have reeled off a five-match unbeaten streak and have improved their record to 5-4-1.
The game on Wednesday will have a lot of similarities to the Louisville game. The Hoosiers are considered another huge rival, and being a nationally ranked foe, UK has another chance to make another statement and make the most of a great opportunity.
Now that the Cats are on a bit of a roll and having already beaten a ranked U of L team, there is no fear in the squad and they are confident they can play with anyone in the country.
"If we can go into Louisville and beat them at Louisville, there is no reason we can't beat Indiana at home," Cedergren said. "That is no disrespect to them but I feel we have enough quality in the squad that we can give any team a good game on a good day for us."
That being said, Cedergren has said his team can't shy away from the moment and they have to make smart decisions on the ball. Plain and simple, the Cats must be very sharp come Wednesday evening.
The Wildcats came out flat in the first half of their conference opener against Memphis before eventually coming away with a draw on Sunday. If UK is going to have any chance against the Hoosiers, they can't afford to get off to a slow start. Cedergren has no worries his squad will be prepared and up for the challenge.
If anything, it may be IU who comes out flat and takes UK a little too lightly.
"It's a midweek game, it's on the road for them, I'm sure they have a Big Ten game coming up Saturday (against Wisconsin) and maybe they will overlook us just a little bit," Cedergren said.
Offensively, the Wildcats are going to face a tough challenge trying to put the ball in the back of the net. IU goalkeeper Luis Soffner won his second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award last week and has recorded six shutouts on the year.
The Hoosiers have allowed just five goals in 10 matches, while the Wildcats have netted 20 goals through their first 10 contests. Something has to give on Wednesday and Cedergren feels good knowing he has a very talented goal scorer in junior Tyler Riggs up front.
"More than half of the time when (Riggs) gets a chance he's going to score for us," Cedergren said. "We just have to make sure that we feed him the ball and concentrate on set pieces."
Kentucky must respond coming off the Memphis match, in which the Cats surrendered two goals for the first time in seven games.
Goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale played lights out against Louisville and UK may need a similar effort against the Hoosiers, along with the rest of the back four in order to shut down the IU attack.
There is no doubt in Cedergren's mind that his team has the talent to defend against anyone. The fact that they are college kids raises a question of what they will bring every night, which showed against Memphis. However, the anticipation of Wednesday's contest should give the Cats that extra motivation they were looking for on Sunday.
"Indiana is a much higher profile team than us," Cedergren said. "There are a lot of things that help us get ready and I don't have any doubt that the back four and the goal keeper are going to do a good job and keep Indiana away from our 18."
Following the IU game, the Wildcats go on the road for three straight conference games. SMU (Oct. 6), UAB (Oct. 13) and Marshall (Oct. 17). Not only is it a tough stretch with all of the contests coming on the road, but SMU and UAB are considered contenders in the Conference USA.
The game against the Hoosiers will provide the Cats with a nice tune up before their road trip. UK is definitely going into Wednesday's match with every intention of winning but is also aware of their goal from the beginning of the season - making the conference tournament.
If Kentucky is upended by IU, the Wildcats will suffer no consequences in their league standings and will only gain valuable experience heading into the rest of conference action.
Indiana better be careful though. Kentucky is a dangerous bunch that is all of a sudden playing with a little swagger, and Cedergren believes this may be a game that the Wildcats can pull off another upset.
"I just think that we let a couple slip early in the season against Northwestern and St. Johns and I think it's one of those times where I feel that we are primed and ready for another upset," Cedergren said.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 30:
Volleyball: Whitney Billings
Junior Whitney Billings has guided the Wildcats to a season-long winning streak of three matches including an upset of No. 25 Tennessee this week and a four-set win over Auburn on Sunday. With the win over the Lady Vols, UK has now won just two of the last nine meetings while stretching its winning-streak over the Tigers to four matches. Billings simply has been superb leading UK in kills (4.14) and digs (4.43) this week with a pair of double-double efforts. She had 10 kills and 16 digs vs. Tennessee, and then totaled 19 kills and 15 digs in the win over Auburn. She has now charted three-straight double-double efforts for just the second time in her career (and second this season). The 19-kills vs. Auburn was a career-high for a four-set match, as well as a season-high. The 16 scoops vs. the Lady Vols matched a season-high. The 10-kill performance with zero errors marked the first double-figure kill effort without committing an error in her career. For the week, she ranked in UK's top-two performances in every statistical category including kills (first), assists (second), aces (second), digs (first), blocks (second) and points (first). During conference action she is the only player who leads her team in scoring to rank in the top-20 statistically of conference leaders in four or more categories: kills (17th), aces (1st), blocks (15th) and digs (20th).
Women's soccer: Kelli Hubly
Freshman Kelli Hubly scored both of UK's goals in the 2-2 draw with No. 6 Texas A&M Friday night in Lexington. The Elk Grove, Ill., native struck for the game-opening goal in the 52nd minute and then again with under 10 minutes remaining in the game. The 5-9 forward has already tallied 10 points on her freshman campaign, which is tied for second on the team.
Men's soccer: Tyler Riggs
Junior forward Tyler Riggs had a prolific two-game week in leading the Wildcats to a win and draw ... During the 5-1 win at IPFW, Riggs totaled two goals, his second career multi-goal game ... In the Conference USA opener against Memphis on Sunday, Riggs contributed sixth goal of the year, also adding his fourth assist ... The Louisville, Ky., native fired a total of six shots during the week, with three going for goals ... On the year, Riggs has a team-high six goals and four assists and in his career, Riggs has 22 goals, nine assists and 53 points ... With 22 goals, Riggs ranks tied with Matt Lodge for sixth-best in UK career history and his 53 points rank seventh-best.