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On June 30, Arin Gilliland received the Honda Inspiration Award at the Collegiate Women's Sports Award. The honor recognized the UK women's soccer star's courage in overcoming her mother's passing and a devastating knee injury suffered at the end of her freshman season.

As part of the CBS Sports Network broadcast, the feature video below on Gilliland's relationship with her mother Letita.


Thumbnail image for SEC Network logo.jpg Programming for the SEC Network continues to take shape.

Exactly three months before the new network launches on Aug. 14, the league announced television schedules for SEC volleyball and women's soccer. In the SEC Network's first season, the SEC - and by extension, UK - will enjoy unmatched national exposure.

In total 80 games - 50 volleyball, 30 women's soccer - will air on either the SEC Network or ESPNU.

"These schedules reflect the breadth of exposure that our student-athletes will receive in the SEC's Olympic sports on the SEC Network," said Commissioner Mike Slive.  "It's indicative of the full array of sports and unprecedented number of televised events SEC fans will enjoy throughout the athletic year."

UK's volleyball and women's soccer teams will be featured prominently. Craig Skinner's Wildcats will make at least eight national television appearances. Here's their complete SEC Network/ESPNU schedule.

Wed, Sept. 24    9 p.m.    KENTUCKY at LSU (ESPNU)
Sun, Oct. 5    6 p.m.     TEXAS A&M at KENTUCKY
Sun, Oct. 12    Noon     AUBURN at KENTUCKY
Sun, Oct. 26    Noon    KENTUCKY at TEXAS A&M
Wed, Oct. 29    8 p.m.    TENNESSEE at KENTUCKY (ESPNU)
Sun, Nov. 9    Noon     MISSOURI at KENTUCKY
Sun, Nov. 16    Noon     FLORIDA at KENTUCKY
Sun, Nov. 23    2 p.m.     KENTUCKY at MISSISSIPPI STATE

Jon Lipsitz's Cats, meanwhile, will appear three times on the SEC Network or ESPNU.

Thu, Oct. 2    7 p.m.     KENTUCKY at MISSOURI
Sun, Oct. 5    Noon    KENTUCKY at TEXAS A&M (ESPNU)
Sun, Oct. 19    4 p.m.     FLORIDA at KENTUCKY

In addition, the first round, quarterfinals and semifinals of the SEC Soccer Tournament will air on the SEC Network.

All this is yet another reason to visit GetSECNetwork.com and demand the SEC Network if your cable/satellite provider has not yet signed on to carry it. So far, only AT&T U-Verse, DISH, Google Fiber and National Rural Telecommunications cooperative (NRTC) have agreed to carry the SEC Network.

Videos from the 2014 CATSPY Awards

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UK Athletics hosted the 12th annual CATSPY Awards on Monday in Memorial Coliseum, with student-athletes, coaches and staff dressing up to celebrate a memorable 2013-14. You can find all the award winner right here, but the highlight of the evening is always the video produced by Kentucky Wildcats TV. Check them all out below.

Happy Dance

Softball

Men's Tennis

Women's Soccer

Rifle

Track and Field

Men's Swimming and Diving

Women's Swimming and Diving


Jon Lipsitz is asking for a little help from the Big Blue Nation to decide the top moment of the 2013 women's soccer season. Watch the video above, pick a moment and tweet it with the hash tag #UKWSTopMoment to cast your vote.

Courtney Raetzman rises for a header vs. Ohio State Courtney Raetzman rises for a header vs. Ohio State

Four minutes rarely amounts to much in the lives of the 18-22-year olds who make up the teams remaining in the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament, but in 2013 that amount of time served as a blessing in disguise for Kentucky.

The Wildcats became a group of walking wounded late in the regular season due to the piling up of injury upon injury. Come last Friday's first-round game, the Wildcats had to recall a player who was thought to be out for the season: Courtney Raetzman.

In fact the UK staff had applied to officially end her season so as to grant her an entire additional season of eligibility due to injury hardship, but NCAA rules denied the request.

The technicality? She had played four minutes too many to qualify for a medical redshirt.

Those four minutes may have seemed trivial if not cruel earlier this season, but as it turned out they were key in allowing the Wildcats to advance to Friday's 10:30 p.m. ET second-round matchup at UCLA.

Raetzman was a revelation in UK's first-round victory over Ohio State.

Her performance was all-the-more impressive given she was wearing what looked to be an extremely restrictive brace, apparently to protect against reinjury.

"We've got a gutsy kid in Courtney Raetzman that was back," head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "I mean, Courtney has been out since the seventh game of the year. She actually played four minutes too much for us to be able to look at redshirting her this year, so everything that she did was, I'm going to find a way back, I'm going to find a way, I'm going to get back on the field.

"And a week ago, she wasn't even really going full-go in training. Just two days ago, she was finally cleared to train, tackle, do everything. For that kid to come back in and play like that, it's unbelievable."

The impact of Raetzman's play cannot be overstated, and her return helped UK in tactical terms, but the comeback also was also helpful in ways less quantifiable. When a player works that hard and gets back onto the pitch so quickly and so effectively, teammates apparently take a great deal of inspiration.

"Anytime you get a player back on the field from injury, it's great," All-SEC forward Arin Gilliland said. "We're a family here and being able to have someone on the field that really makes a difference once again is a great feeling and it brings so much energy back to the field and it gets everyone excited."

The team's excitement at Raetzman's return translated into goals galore and a win, but similar stories have been widespread across the team in 2013. Such unexpected stories of perseverance seem necessary for a team like UK, which has lost so much talent because of injury to be able to make it as far as UK has.

Caitlin Landis's 2013 journey is yet another example of a player who spent part of the season on the periphery of Lipsitz's first choice lineup only to play a pivotal role once the NCAA Tournament came around.

Landis, a senior, began the season by losing a starting place which she had held for much of her career, but like many other Wildcats, injuries to others forced her back into heavy playing time.

Apparently the adversity brought out a new level in Landis's game, which was on full display when the forward opened the scoring in the 3-1 win over Ohio State.

"The way she sees the field and her ability to play other players in now is something she didn't have before," Lipsitz said earlier this season. "She was not starting early in the year, and we made some adjustments ... She has put a stranglehold on it ever since. I hope she feels like I was totally wrong when I wasn't starting her early.

"I hope she looks at me every day and thinks, 'You are an idiot,' because I want my players to want to be on the field and think they deserve to be. She was ready when her number was called and she's been ready ever since."

And then there's the case of Ashley VanLandingham, whose season has in many ways been best exemplified by not even four minutes, but only a matter of seconds.

The senior captain started the trend of UK women's soccer players suffering untimely injuries as she was declared out for the season with a knee problem last spring.

Nonetheless she was named a team captain, and served this season as UK's loudest player offering support from the sidelines during games and as one of the Wildcats' most influential leaders.

VanLandingham's symbolic minutes came on senior day, when she started the game with the opening kickoff being played out of bounds before she showed her rehab progress by jogging off for an immediate substitute. The move was a nice in-game touch of ceremony, which served as a sort of reward for a player who had given so much to the program.

"I had recruited Ashley to go to Charlotte when I was coach there as she is from North Carolina," Lipsitz said. "What a leap of faith on her part to come play here at Kentucky. That's special, but as much fun as it was to watch her on the field her progression as a leader this year despite not playing is the most special thing of all."

The senior captain's one minute of play this season had almost no direct impact on the events, which transpired on the field during UK's game that day or any other wins. Yet, just like Raetzman's return or Landis' ability to be a team-first player while on the bench, the ceremonial start represented off-field work, which helped UK in ways less visible but still important.

Nov. 17 Performances of the Week

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Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Nov. 17:

Women's soccer: Arin Gilliland

Arin Gilliland, who is a MAC Hermann Award Watch List candidate, scored the game-winning goal in the 53rd minute, collecting her team-leading 12th goal of the season on a breakaway slotted far post. Gilliland also tabbed an assist on Kentucky's third goal from, freshman Zoe Swift, for her fourth multi-point game of the season, which also leads the team and ties for the SEC lead.

Women's soccer: Caitlin Landis

Caitlin Landis scored the game-opening goal in the 50th minute, putting home a rebound off a re-fire from a corner kick. The goal for the senior was her fourth of the season as she put Kentucky up 1-0 early.

Volleyball: Alexandra Morgan

Senior Alexandra Morgan had a tremendous week for the Wildcats as UK went 2-0 with a pair of sweeps on the road at Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Morgan opened the weekend by leading UK to a season-high 19 blocks. The Birmingham, Ala., native had a career-high 11 rejections which marked the most blocks by a Wildcat in a single match in the 25-point rally scoring era. She also contributed seven kills on a .438 hitting clip, as UK as a unit only managed to hit at a .186 clip. Against Ole Miss, she again led the squad with six total blocks to run her total to 17 for the two matches at a rate of a stunning 2.83 per set. She added six kills on .400 hitting. For the weekend, Morgan went errorless with 13 kills at a .419 clip and registered 4.00 points per set, just behind Whitney Billings' 4.08 per set who plays in every rotation.

Men's basketball: Julius Randle

  • Recorded a double-double in both games this week. He's just the fifth player in program history to begin the season with four-straight double-doubles, and the first since Reggie Hanson achieved the feat to begin the 1989-90 season.
  • His 27-point, 13-rebound effort against Michigan State gave him a third-straight 20-point, 10-rebound game to become the first Division I freshman to open with three-straight 20-10 games since Kansas State's Michael Beasley in 2007.
  • His 54 rebounds to begin his career are the most of any player in the John Calipari era.
  • Had a career-high two blocks against Robert Morris.
  • Scored 23 points and had nine rebounds as UK erased a 14-point second half deficit to even the game late in the second half vs. No. 2 Michigan State.

Men's basketball: James Young

  • Had a break-out offensive weekend for the Wildcats with a career-high 19 points against second-ranked Michigan State
  • Scored in double-figures in both games this week
  • Has sunk at least one 3-pointer in all four games this season for UK
  • Had career-highs of points, rebounds and field goals made against Michigan State
  • Logged career-highs in assists (3) and steals (2) in a win over Robert Morris

Jon Lipsitz saw an opportunity.

His team having finally broken through five minutes into the second half on a goal by Caitlin Landis, Lipsitz shouted from the bench, "Intensity."

Not willing to settle for a 1-0 lead in Kentucky's NCAA Tournament opener against Ohio State, he demanded more. Lipsitz wanted the Wildcats to go in for the kill.

"That's what I sensed," Lipsitz said. "That it was the moment and it was time and not to let them off the hook."

In less than three minutes, the Cats delivered.

Following through on her coach's sideline direction, Arin Gilliland created a breakaway chance with a tackle at midfield and raced into the box before calmly slotting a shot far post past the outstretch hands of Buckeye keeper Jillian McVicker.

Gilliland's approach in tallying her team-high 11th goal was but one example of the relentlessness Lipsitz wants his players to show.

"I wanted our forwards to have a mentality where you're just assassins," Lipsitz said. "You just refuse to be stopped and you're just going to go and go and go."

On Friday night, they went and went and went.

Each member of the the attacking trio of Gilliland, Landis and Zoe Swift scored a goal in Kentucky's 3-1 win over Ohio State. They fired 19 shots between the three of them and tallied a pair of assists.

"We literally were probably in each other's head is how I felt," Gilliland said. "Anytime I would look up and want them to be in a certain spot, they were there. And I'm sure they felt the exact same way. It was just this connection we had today in the game and it's a soccer player's dream to have that."

From the opening kickoff, the three forwards were firing on all cylinders, but a goal escaped them during the first half. With 12 shots and five corners in the first half, UK dominated everywhere but the place where it counts: the scoreboard.

In the halftime locker room, Lipsitz was sure to point out to the Cats how well they had played. However, he's not a believer that past opportunities serve as any indication that goals are forthcoming.

"It's not going to come unless we make it come," Lipsitz told his team. "It doesn't just happen. We have to make the decision it's going to happen."

After the way UK practiced this week, Lipsitz had little doubt the Cats would make that decision.

"I'm not one for a lot of coach-speak," Lipsitz said, "so when I got interviewed this week I said, 'Look, this is the best week of training we've had. We're really sharp. We've done the work and we've prepared and we're taking care of details and we're ready.' "

Starting last Monday, Lipsitz organized training sessions leading up to the NCAA Tournament as if UK were preparing for its season opener.

"The beginning of the week, we were just getting at it and it felt like another preseason just going after each other and being physical," Landis said.

Swift -- one of a handful of freshmen playing featured roles on an injury-depleted team -- got some personalized coaching during UK's second training camp.

Lipsitz has pushed Swift all season long and she's responded almost all the time, earning All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team honors and scoring nine goals, including the one she had Friday. But during UK's second preseason, Lipsitz refined her role and put Swift back in her comfort zone.

"I think he brought me back in so I could feel more confident," Swift said. "But then I know he's just going to bring me back out of my comfort zone. I'm just getting ready for it."

Swift didn't have to wait long for her first NCAA win, but the same can't be said about the UK program. Last year, the Cats won in the tournament for the first time in program history, prompting an emotional postgame press conference for Lipsitz.

This time around, the feeling was different. Winning on Friday was about living up to expectations.

"Our standards are: We're hosting the first round of the NCAA Tournament, we've earned it and we win," Lipsitz said. "That's our standard now."

Landis and her fellow seniors have played a central role in building the UK program toward reaching that standard. The Cats have played and hosted in the NCAA Tournament three straight years now and advanced to the second round back-to-back times.

The senior forward was briefly willing to reflect on her time at UK, but she's not ready to start using the past tense just yet. Landis is too busy thinking about a matchup with either No. 2 UCLA or San Diego State next Friday.

"Going at it and getting better, it's a fun experience and I'm going to really miss it," Landis said. "But, yeah, we're not done yet."

 

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