Women's soccer - Kentucky started off the year with a win for the fourth-consecutive season, defeating Coastal Carolina 2-0 thanks to goals off the boots of junior Ashley VanLandingham and freshman Cara Ledman. - The shutout posted by the UK defense was the third-consecutive shutout for the Wildcats in their last three season openers. - Kentucky dominated the game, tallying 21 shots to the Chanticleers one, while generating many set-piece opportunities including 13 corner kicks. - The Wildcats outshot Coastal Carolina 14-0 in the second frame, while also earning nine second-half corner kicks.
Men's soccer - Kentucky got goals from freshman Caleb Richardson and junior Steven Perinovic to post a 2-2 tie against Northern Kentucky University in an exhibition game Friday night. - The Wildcats unofficially opened the Johan Cedergren era, facing the Norse in the lone scrimmage of the season. NKU will transfer to NCAA Division I after a dominating run in NCAA Division II that culminated in the 2010 National Championship. - UK took the lead in the 23rd minute, as the Wildcats forced their second corner kick of the game. Gabriel Conelian lofted the cross inside the six-yard box, with a leaping Perinovic heading the ball into the back of the net at the far post. - After NKU took a 2-1 lead, UK evened up the game in the 76th minute as a long ball was played into the box by Kristoffer Tollesfsen and Dylan Asher. With the keeper coming out of the six-yard box to attempt to secure the ball, Richardson found the ball inside the box and finished the goal for the game-tying tally.
Volleyball - Under the direction of eighth-year head coach Craig Skinner, the 13th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team will begin its quest for an eighth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament with its only home preseason tournament of the season. - UK opens the 2012 campaign by hosting the Kentucky Classic from Aug. 24-25. The Wildcats will welcome North Carolina, Lipscomb and Long Beach State for a round-robin affair. The entire field at the Classic were NCAA Tournament representatives from a season ago. - UK begins the season with its highest preseason ranking in school history and is coming off a 28-6 season that saw the Cats advance to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons. The Blue and White return nine letter winners from last year's remarkable campaign, including seven that appeared in all 34 matches. - The Wildcats are led by second-team All-America selection and the reigning two-time SEC Libero of the Year in Stephanie Klefot. Klefot and junior Whitney Billings were tabbed preseason All-Southeastern Conference selections.
Upcoming schedule Friday, Aug. 24 Volleyball hosts North Carolina 0 7:00 p.m. Women's soccer hosts Eastern Kentucky - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25 Volleyball hosts Lipscomb - 11:00 a.m. Volleyball hosts Long Beach State - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 26 Men's soccer at Dayton - 5:00 p.m.
Johan Cedergren and senior Cameron Wilder talk about the upcoming season at Fall Sports Media Day. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
Johan Cedergren may call one of his players by the wrong name. He may have invented a new dialect of English that his players are slowly catching on to. But in less than eight months, Cedergren and his players have started to bond, and a new voice, despite a new language, has been well received by his new team.
"It's a new term in the soccer office, it's called Swenglish," said Cedergren at Fall Sports Media Day last week. "My players are getting pretty darn comfortable with it."
Comfort is an important word when it comes to being a first-time head coach at Kentucky. Both he and his players seem to have already gotten into a groove.
"I have been here for six months or so, and I have had time to work with the returners and I feel I have a good feel for them," said Cedergren. "I think we have a pretty good feel for the 12 coming back, but for the 13 coming in we have only worked with them for about a week."
Cedergren was given a difficult task of having to revamp his roster, bringing in 13 new players with limited time to do so. In each one of those new players, he was looking for them to fit the right criteria for what he was looking for in a Kentucky soccer player. What they do off the pitch is equally as important as what happens on it.
While recruiting, Cedergren prefers to be as honest and straight up with each recruit, letting them know how important it is to represent Kentucky the right way. He has made it a point to be more demanding in terms of school and non-soccer-related behavior, and in turn, has become more demanding of what his players can bring to the team with an eye on all-around excellence.
Cameron Wilder, a returning senior midfielder, has not experienced Cedergren's recruiting pitch, but he's received the message loud and clear. With what he has seen and heard so far from his new head coach of the expectations of the soccer program, he has already bought in. Despite starting a new chapter for men's soccer at Kentucky, with new faces on the staff and on his own team, Wilder believes the team has had no problem getting comfortable thanks to Cedergren's open-door policy.
"It's good," said Wilder. "It is a good line because it's comfortable to go talk to coach if we need to but we know he makes the ultimate decision and we are all aware of that."
Cedergren has made sure since day one to let his players know he is at Kentucky for their best interests. His availability is another thing that Wilder and his teammates have been pleased with. It has helped both sides, the players and the staff, to build trust and open a channel of communication with one another.
"It's no hesitation or issue if we have a question to call coach and he will tell us straight up if there is anything he can do, and the whole staff is like that," said Wilder.
The comfort level is something that Cedergren will need to rely on as the season approaches. A new voice and approach can be difficult to adjust to, especially for the returning group and upperclassmen who had done things for so long a certain way. As expectations change and philosophies are put into place, comfort and trust will play important parts in the overall success of this transitional season.
Kentucky unofficially opened up the Johan Cedergren era over the weekend in an exhibition with Northern Kentucky University. They came away with a 2-2 tie against the newly appointed Division I Norse. Things may not have gone necessarily to plan for the Wildcats, but there were certainly positives to take out of the first match of the year.
"Nobody expected us to be perfect tonight," said Cedergren after the game.
It was a good litmus test to see just where his team stood, where they excelled, and what areas still needed improvement. But now, the exhibitions are over and attention turns to this Sunday when they travel to Dayton for game one of the 2012 season. Everything he and his team have worked on his in his short time at the helm will be put to the test.
It seems like only a few weeks ago that Cedergren started at Kentucky, but now, in only a few days, he will make his head coaching debut. While they may not be as comfortable as they want to be at the start of the season, he and his team are just excited to finally get going.
"We start against Dayton next Sunday," said Cedergren. "But for me and my staff we can't believe it is here. We were sitting here in May, planning practices for August and it's here and we are knee-deep into it. We are all healthy and looking good, and we have a very, very tough schedule but here now we don't have any negatives."
Thursday is going to be a busy one here at the Joe Craft Center.
Beginning at noon, UK Athletics will host a press conference quadruple header ahead of the fall sports season. It will start with Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart introducing new track and field and cross country coach. Next, women's soccer coach Jon Lipsitz and midfielder Alyssa Telang will take their turn previewing the season. Volleyball's Craig Skinner and Stephanie Klefot will follow and Johan Cedergren and Cameron Wilder from men's soccer will close it out.
Each of the press conferences is expected to last 15 minutes and you can watch them all live on UKathletics.com. Throughout Thursday and Friday, Ryan Suckow and I will have stories from the event in addition to our regular football coverage.
There's no getting around it now. The season is upon us.
It's August. The middle of August. Summer break has come and went, and the typical University of Kentucky student is tying up loose ends preparing for the trek back to Lexington for the beginning of the fall semester. But there is another group of students who have already been in Lexington, back at work in the hot summer sun or the muggy confines of a gymnasium. Fall sports are right around the corner for Kentucky, and student athletes are already in full swing when it comes to preparation.
Before you know it, men's and women's soccer will be kicking off and volleyball will be looking to build on last year's trip to the Sweet 16. All of that starts in the summer, when other kids are mowing lawns, swimming or vacationing, the elite athletes of the University of Kentucky are using their time to better themselves in the classroom, in the weight room or improving their game. All in the name of the University of Kentucky.
Craig Skinner's volleyball team is hard at work in Memorial Coliseum on a daily basis, sweating out two-a-days in hopes of building on a strong ending to the 2011 season. Kentucky hopes to build on a Sweet 16 run and break through into the Final Four, which will be hosted in the Bluegrass.
Johan Cedergren hopes to rekindle a winning tradition for men's soccer. After accepting the position as an assistant at Dartmouth in late December, Cedergren has sought to make a connection with his new players. A 3-0 run in the spring has Cedergren and his team excited about the prospects this fall.
And women's soccer looks to combine some veteran leadership with some talented underclassmen under the tutelage of head coach John Lipsitz. Lipsitz guided the women back to the NCAA Tournament, and this season looks to take more steps forward
People are definitely getting excited in the Big Blue Nation as we prepare to get underway here at UK Athletics. Women's soccer will have its first game of the season this Friday when it hosts Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. at the UK Soccer Complex. On Sunday, volleyball will get a final tune-up when the Wildcats go live in the annual Blue/White Scrimmage Sunday at 6 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum. Then, men's soccer kicks off its season with a Sunday evening match up at Dayton at 5 p.m.
With Kentucky football on the horizon, it won't be too long before we're all back to normal, cheering on the Blue and White to bring home the victory.
The 2012 season will be Johan Cedergren's first as head coach of UK men's soccer. (UK Athletics)
New head coaches always have some type of plan for what they want their new team and program to be about.
"I think the plan was to be somewhere where you could win a national championship and compete for national championships every year, and that's Kentucky."
No, those aren't the words of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari, but if it sounds like something he said at the beginning of his tenure, there's a reason for that. Coach Cal's philosophies, aspirations and goals are very similar to those of the man to whom that quote is attributes. Those are the words of new men's soccer head coach Johan Cedergren, and he has big ideas and lofty goals for the UK men's soccer program even before his team has played its first real game under him.
Cedergren was named head coach back in December, and since day one, he has been trying to implement his plan and message to his players.
"One of the first things I did, I think it was the second day of class, and we met," said Cedergren. "And at that point, my assistants weren't hired yet, so it was just me and the guys that were coming back. And I basically went through my philosophy of how I wanted to do things going forward."
He laid it all out there for his players in an attempt to connect and build the foundation for relationships with his new team. It's important to Cedergren to have close relationships with his players so that they always are on the same page. That did not happen immediately. But his open-door policy helped smooth things over right away.
"We had several guys that came in the spring," said Cedergren, "where in my mind I thought it was crystal clear what we wanted to do, but in their mind, not at all on the same page. So I think it's always important to keep an open door. And I think throughout the spring, they all got to know me and we know what to do going forward."
Kentucky had an uneven season in 2011 (9-9-2) by their standards, but there was plenty of talent on the roster. That is one thing that has Cedergren particularly excited about his first season at the helm. However, he also knows that there are some things already in place and old habits are hard to break.
Cedergren also has an influx of freshman that he is ecstatic about despite the fact that he and his staff has only had three to four months to put a recruiting class together in their first season. One of the challenges he will encounter is making an early first impression on his freshmen, but also handling the returning players in a way that he's not completely retooling their games.
"Kentucky has been a very good soccer team in the past, and they started off really good early on, and they had some good results," said Cedergren. "They beat Brown 5-1, so there's a lot of ability already on the squad. So you don't want to take that away, but maybe you want to do things a little differently. So we try to take the best of what's already here and then bring some of the stuff that we're used to doing and change things up a little bit, and that took some time in the spring, but we definitely got pretty far."
The spring season was definitely encouraging for Cedergren and his staff. They defeated all five of their spring opponents and began laying the foundation for what their team will look like in 2012. Playing short in the spring season had players somewhat out of position and questioning what was going on, but with the results and the continued success, Cedergren noticed his players started to buy in to what he was selling.
Now, as he and his family settle into their new Kentucky home, Cedergren is realizing that Lexington isn't quite Hanover, N.H. The former associate head coach at Dartmouth is now understanding what the Big Blue Nation is all about, and it's quite different than what he's used to.
Even in his first few weeks in the job, people were starting to recognize the new men's soccer coach at the University of Kentucky. The UK faithful, especially in Lexington, feel a strong sense of ownership in their athletic teams with no professional sports in the state. The notoriety is something that surprised Cedergren, but he happily embraces it.
"Anywhere you go, everyone's wearing blue," said Cedergren. "License plates, flags, it's everywhere. I've been surprised with how many people knew who I've been. I went to the (YMCA) when my wife signed up and the very first person there was like, 'Oh, you're the new soccer coach.' So I think that just being recognized out and about, and also the support from the institution is a big difference."
With that kind of support comes lofty expectations. That's where Cedergren's ambition come into play.
The Kentucky men's soccer program has never won a national title, but that doesn't mean it can't. Cedergren sees his new job as a place where that can happen, and even in its infancy, his plan is right on track.
"I think you have all kinds of thoughts and ideas before you get here, and then you want to implement them," said Cedergren. "And I would say so far, everything is going according to plan. We've been able to bring in some high-profile recruits, scheduling has been no problem...I've been saying to (assistant coaches) Dave (Casper) and Erik (Imler) that there's got to be something really bad around the corner because so far it's been easy."
That "something around the corner" is the 2012 season, and that will likely be his biggest challenge to date as head coach at the University of Kentucky. But the challenge is exactly why Cedergren, the 2010 National Soccer Coaches of America Assistant Coach of the Year under Dartmouth head coach John Cook, chose to come to Kentucky. The challenge is great, but the reward is much greater. If Cedergren has it his way, those rewards will come sooner rather than later.
"We have a very good returning team as far as a really good incoming class, so we're hoping to be good," said Cedergren. "But you never know until the fall, and you never know what's going to happen. A couple of bad results and all of a sudden things derail and you have to go back to the drawing board. We have some very high expectations within the staff, and we're hoping to make a splash."
But as a head coach, things do not always work out as planned. If he does not reach the successes he strives for in the early going, he will rely on some advice he received from Cook during his time at Dartmouth.
"The one thing he said over and over again was to be patient," said Cedergren. "It's O.K. It doesn't all have to happen in the first week, first month or first year. Whenever I've gotten frustrated with whatever it is, I've always kept that in mind to be patient, it doesn't all have to happen right now."
If it doesn't happen this year, it likely will in the near future. Though winning is very important and the primary way head coaches are measured, Cedergren's program will be about much more than that. Yes, he has big goals for what he hopes to see on the field one day, but he knows that there's more to life than soccer.
Perhaps this is where Cedergren's philosophies are most like Calipari's. What he hopes to impress on his young team is to have the desire to win and to be the best they can.
"It is a lot of hard work, and it's something we talked a lot about in the spring. You may not want to do as much fitness, lifting or study hall hours, but in the end, anyone who comes into this program, we're going to make you the best you can be in all facets of life. Not only on the soccer field, but in the classroom, as a person in society in general. Those are the kinds of guys we want to have here, and the guys we have here are really, really buying into it."
If Cedergren can continue to hammer those concepts into his players, the results will come faster than even he could hope. Despite not having coached a single meaningful game in his tenure, Cedergren has already tasted a lot of success at UK. Expectations are high again for the UK men's soccer team and many feel that he is the man to get the job done.
A new voice and a bit of youthful enthusiasm may reinvigorate the program; much in the way Calipari has done for the basketball program. If Cedergren executes the plan he has in place, he will be raising banners of his own somewhere down the road.
"I was standing under the basket and saw a pass headed right at my head," Bilas recalled Tuesday. "I was just ducking when all of a sudden two big hands come out of nowhere and grab the ball like it was tossed. I mean, this was a bullet, and I was sure it was going to hit me."
Davis caught the ball and scored.
"Holy (Toledo)," Bilas recalled thinking. "That was one of the best catches I can remember."
After winning all 16 of its league regular-season games by an average of 16.4 points, UK won by a combined 12 points against LSU and Florida -- two teams the Cats had previously throttled -- in the SEC quarterfinals and semifinals. Then they collapsed over the final five minutes against the Commodores.
"I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. I want them to dominate people," Calipari said. "It may not be fair, but that's how I view these guys -- trying to get them to that next level, trying to make sure that they understand you're going to have to outwork the other teams."
With President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron seated in the front row along one baseline, this so-called "First Four" game of the 2012 NCAA Tournament ranked first only chronologically until a improbable Western Kentucky rally made it memorable.
Western came back from 16 down in the final five minutes to win 59-58.
Calipari certainly appears to have succeeded based on that method of evaluation. Kentucky (32-2) enters the NCAA tournament as a clear title favorite after being one Christian Watford buzzer-beating three away from an undefeated regular season.
If Calipari does not cut down the nets with this Kentucky team, the pressure on him to win his first ring will only intensify. Here's a look at where Calipari ranks on my list of college basketball's best all-time coaches who did not win a championship.
Kentucky has pulled off another sweep of the awards, this time for The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference women's basketball team.
A'dia Mathies was named player of the year Tuesday, Matthew Mitchell claimed the coaching award, and Bria Goss picked up newcomer of the year. On Monday, the Wildcats took all three awards for the men's team.
The No. 2 seed is the second in school history for the Wildcats, and ties their highest seed ever in the tournament. Kentucky was also a two seed in 1982. The other first-round matchup in Ames, Iowa, features No. 7 seed Green Bay (30-1) and No. 10 seed Iowa State (18-12).
"It's a really historic night for us, and we're so excited," UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It's the first time in our school's history that the women's program has been to three straight tournaments. It's the first time we've ever gotten a seed this high (since 1982). It's a great night for us and we couldn't be more excited about advancing to the tournament and getting a two seed and having a chance to compete for a national championship. It's a real, real exciting night for our program."
Freshman A.J. Reed pitched six dominating innings and had three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs to power the 16th-ranked and unbeaten University of Kentucky baseball team past Wright State 9-1 on Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The 6-foot-4, 235-poound Reed (3-0) became the first player in UK's modern-era history (1979-present) to start a game on the mound and at the cleanup batter. He allowed seven hits and the run, throwing first-pitch strikes to the first 21 batters.
Courtney Lee and rookie Chandler Parsons each scored 21 points, Patrick Patterson blocked Serge Ibaka's point-blank putback attempt in the final 2 seconds, and the Rockets charged back from an 11-point deficit in the last 3 minutes to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-103 on Tuesday night.
One person didn't view Brandon Knight's breakout game on Saturday night as a breakout: Knight himself.
Knight jumped out like a rocket in the Pistons' blowout win over the Toronto Raptors, atoning for two low volume performances in wins against the Lakers and Hawks (six points, seven assists total). He scored all 19 of his points in the first half and finished with seven assists.
Forward Tayshaun Prince became the sixth player in franchise history Saturday to play in 700 career games with Detroit. Prince, a 2002 draft pick, has played at least 78 games in seven of his nine seasons. The only players who have played more games in a Pistons uniform are Joe Dumars (1,018), Isiah Thomas (979), Bill Laimbeer (937), Vinnie Johnson (798) and Lindsey Hunter (703).
While occupying his post in charge of Cat Scratches, Eric Lindsey debuted the Scratchies, a set of awards given for the best performances in UK Athletics for the preceding semester. I wasn't sure at first whether I would continue the tradition, but once I found just how quiet it gets around here during the holidays, I decided it was time to give out some hardware (or maybe I should say "software", since there are no physical awards to be given).
I'll spare you any more preambles, here are the winners for fall 2011:
MVW (Most Valuable Wildcat) Danny Trevathan (Football) - No, the UK football team did not have the kind of season they envisioned, going 5-7, but Trevathan could not have done any more than he did to help his team succeed. For the second year in a row, the linebacker led the SEC in tackles. The senior linebacker concludes his career ranked 10th all-time in tackles in program history and has reeled in multiple postseason honors for his stellar final season. The 2011 campaign saw Trevathan log 143 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, four interceptions and three sacks.
The Dream Team (team of the semester) Volleyball - Craig Skinner has this program on the rise. The Wildcats finished the season with a 26-4 record and a second Sweet 16 berth in three seasons. The regional semifinal was hosted in Memorial Coliseum and over 4,000 rowdy fans showed up to support the Cats as they nearly pulled an upset of Texas, the nation's No. 1 overall seed, before falling 3-1. The atmosphere, though not the outcome, was a fitting sendoff for the most decorated group of seniors in school history. The trio of Ann Armes, Becky Pavan and Gretchen Giesler depart with a record of 100-31 and the best winning percentage (.731) in school history).
In spite of losing those three, UK figures to build on a great season in 2012. Two-time defending Southeastern Conference Libero of the Year and second-team All-American Stephanie Klefot returns for her senior season and will be joined by setter Christine Hartmann and outside hitter Whitney Billings, both of whom were first-team All-SEC performers. Senior-to-be Ashley Frazier (All-SEC second team) and rising sophomore Lauren O'Conner (All-SEC freshman team) will also be very much in the mix.
Honorable mention: Women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball The Adolph Rupp Award (coach of the semester) Jon Lipsitz (Women's soccer) - Since taking over at Kentucky prior to the 2009 season, Lipsitz has built the women's soccer program in small strides. UK was just 5-10-4 in his first year, but it was clear that the culture was changing. His second season brought a trip to the SEC Tournament, but expectations were still not particularly high entering 2011, at least not outside of Lexington. Instead, the Cats got off to a great start, piling up early-season wins and moving into the top 20 of the RPI.
Under Lipsitz's guidance, Senior Kelsey Hunyadi was at the center of everything, as she had one of the best offensive seasons in UK history in helping lead the team to a 13-7-1 record, a winning mark in SEC play and a berth in UK's first NCAA Tournament since 2006. Kentucky also earned the right to host a tournament game for the first time since 1998 and the fan base responded to the excitement Lipsitz has injected into the program, as 1,065 fans attended the game, third-most of the 32 first round sites nationally.
Honorable mention: Craig Skinner (volleyball), Matthew Mitchell (women's basketball), John Calipari (men's basketball)
The Josh Harrellson Award (most improved player) Samantha Drake (women's basketball) - The Bardstown, Ky., native had her moments as a freshman, but was not expected to be more than a role player for UK Hoops in 2011-12. Through the first five games of the season, that's exactly what she was, as she averaged 5.4 points. Over Drake's next seven games as UK rose to a No. 6 national ranking, the 6-foot-3 center established herself as one of Matthew Mitchell's most reliable contributors.
She has scored in double figures six times during the stretch, including a career-high 21 points in a trip to face No. 3 Notre Dame and 18 last week against Samford.
"It was not one moment, but it started happening one day then started snowballing," Mitchell said of her improvement. "There was a play here, then the next day she would make two or three. It was pretty dramatic.
"She had a terrific summer and I just tried to put it to her, 'There's nothing that you can't get through.' Finally she proved to herself she can really perform at a high level."
As UK enters SEC play, Mitchell will look to Drake to sustain that improvement. The Butler-VCU Award (surprise team) Women's soccer - For all the reasons Lipsitz is the coach of the semester, women's soccer is the surprise team. The Cats clearly had talent with Hunyadi, star incoming freshman Arin Gilliland and others, but this year's team was supposed to be one that battled to make the bottom half of the SEC Tournament bracket. Instead, UK raced out to a 7-0-0 start to the year and never looked back in earning a No. 6 seed in Orange Beach, Ala., and a home match in the NCAA Tournament, where the Wildcats lost in heartbreaking fashion on penalty kicks against Washington State. One Shining Moment (best moment)
Fans carried Matt Roark off the field after he rushed for 124 yards in a 10-7 win over Tennessee. (Brett Marshall, UK Athletics)
Football ends the streak - This one's a no-brainer. It had been over a quarter-century since Kentucky had defeated Tennessee in football and when wide receiver Matt Roark stepped onto the field as quarterback with Maxwell Smith and Morgan Newton sidelined due to injury, it certainly looked as if the streak would continue. Instead, Roark led a gritty offense that did just enough to win thanks to a staunch defensive effort by a group of seniors who desperately wanted to defeat the Volunteers. The 10-7 win set off a raucous celebration, capped off when Roark served as the honorary 'Y' at Rupp Arena that same night.
The "Band is Out On the Field" Award (best game/match) Men's basketball beats North Carolina - The hype for UK-UNC started way back in May when Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller decided to return to their respective schools. It was clear the Cats and Tar Heels would be ranked atop the polls when the season started, setting up a potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in Rupp Arena in early December. UNC lost to undo that possibility, but that was the only part of the game that didn't live up to the hype.
UK trailed by as many as nine points early, but battled back to take a late lead in front of a delirious sellout crowd. The Cats seemed poised to seal the win, but the Heels forced a turnover by Doron Lamb and got a 3-pointer from Reggie Bullock to cut UT's lead to 73-72. Marquis Teague was then fouled and headed to the foul line for a one-and-one. He missed the front end with 21 seconds left, setting up a chance for UNC to take the last shot for the win. UK would hold on, but only because of our play of the semester... The Doug Flutie Hail Mary Award (best play)
Davis' block seals win over UNC - Point guard Kendall Marshall ran the clock down and used a screen to position himself for a pass to Zeller inside. As they had been doing all game, the Cats sent a double team at him and Zeller lost the ball, but conveniently right into the waiting hands of Henson. He pulled up for a short jumper, but Anthony Davis skied to get a piece of the shot and grabbed the rebound off his own block. UK would then run out the final five seconds. Video
All-Wildcat Team (the Scratchies equivalent of the All-America Team) Kelsey Hunyadi (women's soccer) - Her 38 points were the second most in school history. Luis Orta (cross country) - With a fifth-place finish at the SEC Championships, Orta became UK's first first-team All-SEC performer since 2003. Stephanie Klefot (volleyball) - The junior was a second-team All-American and won SEC Libero of the Year for the second year in a row. Matt Lodge (men's soccer) - Lodge tallied seven goals and 10 assists during his junior season. Doron Lamb (men's basketball) - He is the leading scorer (16.1 points per game) for the nation's third-ranked team. Winston Guy (football) - Moving to a new linebacker position, Guy had 120 tackles and a team-leading 14 tackles for loss. A'dia Mathies (women's basketball) - Now healthy, the junior guard has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her UK career.
All-Calipari Team (all-freshman team) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (men's basketball) - Averaging 13.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks through 12 games. Anthony Davis (men's basketball) - Leads UK with 10.0 rebounds per game and ranks among nation's leaders with 52 blocks. Arin Gilliland (women's soccer) - Blue-chip prospect split time between defense and attack, scoring four goals. Bria Goss (women's basketball) - Has started 11 games, averaging 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds. Lauren O'Conner (volleyball) - Played in 124 of 126 sets on the season, totaling 284 kills and was named to SEC All-Freshman team.
All-Up-and-Comers (non-freshmen on the rise) Ashley Frazier (volleyball) - Played her first season at UK after transferring, leading the team with 406 kills. Christina Hartmann (volleyball) - Took over setting duties early in the season and was a first-team All-SEC performer. Cody Martin (men's golf) - Led UK with an average round of 72.6 as a sophomore and finished second in the UK Bluegrass Fall Invitational. Alejando Gomez (men's tennis) - Off to a running start to sophomore season with a 15-2 singles mark during the fall season. Greg Ferrucci (swimming and diving) - Sophomore twice won SEC Diver of the Week during the fall, breaking a school record in the one-meter dive in the process. Tyler Riggs (men's soccer) - Followed up good freshman season with an even better sophomore year, totaling 11 goals and five assists. Best Streak Award Men's basketball's home win streak - With eight wins in Rupp Arena to open 2011-12, UK has extended its home winning streak to 42 games, eclipsing Duke (41) for the longest in the nation. Kentucky has yet to lose a home game with John Calipari roaming the sidelines, winning all 41 games in Rupp during his three-year tenure.
He said what? (quote of the semester) Craig Skinner, after volleyball played No. 1 Texas to a near draw in the Sweet 16 in front of over 4,000 fans in Memorial Coliseum - "I think that's about as high a level of volleyball as you can play. If you aren't excited to play in front of a crowd like that and with a group that puts their heart and soul into the game then I'd be stunned. We're on the right path and we have to continue to take steps forward and this team is so motivated that I'm not worried that won't happen."
The Dougie Award (best dance/celebration) Matthew Mitchell at Big Blue Madness - Mitchell's dance in the video below pretty much speaks for itself. The only remaining question is how he's going to top himself in 2012.