An inadvertent elbow to her right eye in practice that clocked Raetzman never got the rookie down. In fact, her only disappointment was that she couldn't jump back in the game.
"I've never seen a blackout like it and to get it in practice tells you something," Kentucky head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "She never showed a negative emotion until I told her she couldn't play. She literally cried. Here's a kid who is only a few games into her freshman season and she is so passionate. It wasn't the fact that she had gotten hurt, it was the fact that she couldn't play that was so upsetting."
When Raetzman returned to action, she came up swinging.
The Elk Grove, Ill., native was named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week after scoring the match-winning goal in the team's upset of then-No. 13 Florida and then provided two assists in a 3-0 victory against Mississippi State.
"I definitely wanted to get back on the field playing and help our team," Raetzman said. "No one wants to sit out and just watch games, everyone wants to be playing."
SEC Digital Network: You're in your fourth season at Kentucky; how does the program's progress compare to where you wanted it to be when you first started?
Jon Lipsitz: "I am very happy with where we are, but we're not there yet. I am proud of the work that all of us together have done and that goes from the administration to the coaches to the support staff and mostly to the players and their families. That doesn't mean that we're satisfied or we're finished. We want so much more - how do we get there? We get better tomorrow. I always bring it back to that - to be your best tomorrow and move on from there. Obviously, I'm very proud of what we've done and I'm very proud of the players, but that's only good enough for today."
UK will take its show on the road this weekend for games at Arkansas and LSU.
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.
Kelli Hubly and Caitlin Landis (wearing No. 9) each scored goals in UK's 3-0 victory over Mississippi State. (Aaron Borton, UK Athletics)
With the Kentucky women's soccer team off to a 6-1-0 start to 2012, identifying the Wildcats' issues was an exercise in nitpicking. With already a pair of wins over top-25 teams, there wasn't a lot that UK had not done well.
There was one notable exception to that.
Twice the Cats had played Friday and Sunday games in the same weekend. Facing the quick turnaround, UK had once looked underwhelming in a 1-0 with over Southeastern Missouri and once "very poor" - in the words of Jon Lipsitz - in a 3-1 loss to Samford.
Kentucky had a chance to take a step in the right direction against Mississippi State. After an emotional 2-1 comeback win over No. 13 Florida on Friday, in which Lipsitz reported eight different players ran at least six-and-a-half miles, the unbeaten Bulldogs were coming to town.
"On the days when we might be tired physically, we have to be mentally sharper," Lipsitz said. "Today was the day when we grew up some, when we did it all together."
It took a collective effort to complete a dominant 3-0 victory over Mississippi State. Three different Wildcats tallied goals in the win and three different Wildcats had an assist, including freshman Courtney Raetzman who put the finishing touches on an excellent weekend with a pair of assists.
"We've come from in the past where we were almost entirely a counter-attack team that was giving away possession in order to spring some chances to a team that wants to keep the ball," Lipsitz said. "I thought today we probably did our best job of keeping the ball, of really spreading it around the park a little bit."
The weekend was an impressive one for the Cats, as they swept a pair of SEC weekend games for the first time during the Lipsitz era. UK is assured of being in a tie atop the conference standings through the opening weekend with no more than three other teams, pending the results of other SEC games still in progress on Sunday afternoon.
"I thought it was a good step in what is going to be a grind," Lipsitz said. "We still have 11 more games in the conference."
The Cats will take their show on the road next weekend, heading to Arkansas and LSU. The good news on that front is that UK's leading returning scorer finally got into the goal-scoring column this season. Junior forward Caitlin Landis scored Kentucky's second goal less than 12 minutes into the game after she assisted on Kelli Hubly's goal just four minutes in, UK's fastest goal of the season.
"It was a long time coming," Landis said.
Landis scored six goals in 2011, including one in the season's first game, so the wait wasn't much fun. Even so, her four assists entering Sunday's match led the team and Landis has been doing plenty to help her team win all season.
"I'm sure it's a relief for her," Lipsitz said. "For me, she's been playing fantastic. If Cat scores goals, if Cat gets assists, if Cat just holds the ball for us and starts our attack, if she just moves without the ball and someone else gets it, I'm proud of her."
For Lipsitz, Landis and the Cats, any worries about goal scoring were put into perspective quickly after the final whistle. Sunday was Kentucky's second annual "Kick Cancer Match" and the team held a ceremony with fans after the game to raise awareness for pediatric cancer and honor those suffering from the disease. One dollar from each ticket sold to Sunday's match went toward the fight against pediatric cancer.
The original inspiration for the Kick Cancer Match came from Allison Berger. A few years ago, Lipsitz got a call from the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the UK Hospital about Berger, a young soccer player and fan being treated for brain and spinal cord cancer. Lipsitz went to the hospital to bring Berger some UK gear and what he thought would be a short visit, but it turned out to be much more.
"The cause of raising money for the pediatric oncology unit here at UK just means the world to us," Lipsitz said. "Our lives were changed forever when we met Allison Berger a few years ago over there."
Berger passed away from her illness in March of last year, but her memory lives on through the "Kick Cancer Match" and in the minds and hearts of the Kentucky team.
"Meeting her and her family and now in, Allison's memory, to get to do this every year to raise money just to give back to the kids is amazing for us," Lipsitz said. "We're so honored to get to do something to give back."
UK wore special gold jerseys for Sunday's match. The jerseys are being sold in an open auction online and all proceeds will go to fight pediatric cancer. Go to UKathletics.com/auction to bid.
Courtney Raetzman scored her first career goal in a 2-1 victory over No. 13 Florida on Friday night at the UK Soccer Complex. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
If you've seen the picture, you know Courtney Raetzman had every reason to be a little hesitant in her return to the field. In practice last week, the freshman took an errant elbow to the face going up for a header, leaving her with a nasty black eye.
The photo of her injury - which looked like the work of a movie makeup department - made rounds among coaches, teammates and fans and the swelling forced her to miss a pair of games last weekend.
On Friday night, the diminutive midfielder made her return in Kentucky's first match of Southeastern Conference. If there were any lingering psychological effects, Raetzman certainly didn't show them.
"Being out for a week and a half, I was just so eager to get back and I think all my adrenaline just came out and I really wanted to show that I could come back and not be soft," Raetzman said.
Raetzman - the shortest player on the team - scored the first goal of her short UK career as the Wildcats got a big 2-1 victory over No. 13 Florida. Her goal just 1:46 into the second half proved to be the game winner, completing the comeback from a 1-0 deficit. Sophomore Arin Gilliland scored the Wildcats' first goal on a penalty kick in the 30th minute.
Raetzman's fingerprints were all over the win, which moved Kentucky to 6-1 on the season, a perfect 1-0 in SEC play, and it was about much more than the goal she scored.
"She's a tough kid," head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "She got really upset last week when I told her she couldn't play. To have her back on the field meant a huge amount to this team, both because of her toughness but also because, technically, she helps us to really keep the ball."
From the opening kick, keeping the ball was what this game was all about. Florida is among the nation's best teams because of their ability to maintain possession.
"One of the things that we talked about before the game at halftime is the best way to play against a great possession team is to possess the ball," Lipsitz said. "I think we needed to stay calm, we needed to possess the ball."
In Raetzman's absence, the Cats experienced uneven results. They picked up their biggest win of the season on the road against Louisville last Friday before faltering against Samford on Sunday in a 3-1 defeat, their first of 2012.
"We can do it without her, but when we have her, we're better," Lipsitz said.
Raetzman has stepped into a starting role from the moment she arrived, serving as a key cog in the UK midfield. She had a pair of assists in her first two games, but the goal on Friday was her first.
"It feels amazing, that's for sure, but it's just like any other game in the SEC," Raetzman said. "It's going to be tough no matter what game, so any goal's going to feel great."
Raetzman's perspective is a mature one for someone playing her first conference game, but it's exactly what Lipsitz is looking for. UK found out the hard way last weekend that a great performance on a Friday guarantees nothing on Saturday and now finds itself in a similar set of circumstances just a week later. The Cats scored their first goal against Florida since 2009 on Friday and picked up their first win over the Gators since the 2006 SEC Tournament Championship.
"It says three points and that's all," Lipsitz said. "One of the things that I think we learned last week is we had a big win on Friday. A huge win over Louisville and we laid an egg on Sunday. We came out flat."
UK will turn around and host Mississippi State on Sunday with less than 48 hours rest looking for a much different result than the last time it came off an emotional victory."
"I think mental strength is a huge part of it," Lipsitz said. "We do everything we can to physically recover, but we all know the Friday-Sunday is not easy. It's not going to be an easier for Mississippi State."
One player pretty much guaranteed to deliver maximum effort on Sunday at 1 p.m. is Raetzman. She's had enough of that whole rest thing.
"That was the worst thing ever just to see with one eye and have to watch everything," Raetzman said. "I'm so happy to be back."
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 9:
Volleyball: Morgan Bergren
Freshman Morgan Bergren made a splash in her first career action at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Nebraska this week. She was inserted into the lineup in the second set of the Duquesne win and passed out 22 assists, had two kills, six digs and a trio of blocks in leading UK to a .413 hitting percentage. The progression continued in her first career start against Oklahoma, a team receiving votes in the poll, where she earned her first 40+ assist game with 42 assists, four kills, an ace, seven digs and four blocks. She really shined against No. 1 Nebraska and a packed house of 4,163 fans where she contributed her first career double-double effort with a UK season-high 47 assists and 10 digs. She also had a career-high four kills and five blocks in leading UK to a .266 hitting percentage against the top-ranked Huskers. She found senior Ashley Frazier for a career-high and match-high 20 kills on a blistering .459 hitting percentage while also finding five players for four or more kills on the night.
Women's soccer: Kelli Hubly
Freshman Kelli Hubly scored her first career goal in Kentucky's 2-0 win over No. 12 Louisville Friday night. The goal was scored in the 80th minute, and provided the insurance for the Cats to secure the upset win on the road. The goal was a one-touch goal that was put home to the near post after beautiful cross-field service from sophomore Arin Gilliland.
Women's soccer: Kayla King
Louisville native Kayla King stepped up in a big way Friday night, tallying the clean sheet in a monumental upset of No. 12 Louisville in the Wildcats first road game of the season. After an injury to Kayla Price in the third minute, King came in off the bench, and tallied a season-high six saves, including a PK that would have tied the game at 1-1 late in the game. In addition, King was selected to the Cardinal Classic All-Tournament Team.
Volleyball: Alexandra Morgan
Junior Alexandra Morgan had a terrific week for the Wildcats in Nebraska. She posted a team-high 19 blocks for an average of 1.73 per set. She's logged nearly 50 blocks in the first 10 games of action that leads the conference. Furthermore, she tallied season-high numbers with seven blocks in the opening two matches of the weekend and posted five or more in all three matches. She also contributed six digs on the weekend, including a career-high four against Oklahoma. Morgan also contributed to the offensive side of things. She had a career-high 10 kills on a UK-season best .833 hitting percentage against Duquesne in which she did not commit an error. She matched her career-high with 10 kills in the loss to Oklahoma before putting together a .300 hitting clip performance against the top-ranked Huskers.
Football - The Kentucky football team won its third consecutive home opener, defeating Kent State 47-14 on Saturday. - Kentucky had a strong all-around performance in the game, racking up 539 yards of total offense, including 354 passing yards - which was the most for a UK offense since a 430-yard outburst against Tennessee in 2007. - Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith threw for all 354 yards, including finding senior wide receiver Aaron Boyd 11 times for 100 yards - both career highs for Boyd. Junior tailback Raymond Sanders had a career night with 13 rushes for 115 yards and touchdown, including a 67-yard burst to the end zone. - Defensively, Kentucky recorded its first safety since the 2009 season while also stopping Kent State from scoring all three times they entered the redzone. The UK defense, which forced and recovered a fumble in the game, ended the contest with three sacks, six tackles for loss and six pass breakups. Volleyball - The Kentucky volleyball team capped off non-conference action against its toughest competition of the season at the Ameritas Players Challenge on the campus of the University of Nebraska. UK earned a win over Duquesne, before suffering heart-wrenching four-set losses to Oklahoma, a team receiving votes in the latest poll, and No. 1 Nebraska on its home floor. - Senior Ashley Frazier was simply sensational against the Huskers with a career-high tying and match-high 20 kill performance on a sizzling .459 hitting percentage. - Freshman setter Morgan Bergren had a coming-out party of sorts against the Huskers in front of 4,163 fans as she recorded her first career double-double effort with a UK single-match high 47 assists and 10 digs. She also added career-high marks with four kills and five blocks. - In the victory over Duquesne it was the middle blockers who shined as the duo of junior Alexandra Morgan and freshman Sara Schwarzwalder combined for 20 kills with no errors. Morgan's defensive presence continues to aid the Wildcat cause as the junior turned back 19 opponent attacks in 11 sets for a blistering 1.73 rejections per frame.
Women's soccer - Kentucky opened its road portion of the schedule with a dramatic 2-0 upset of No. 12 Louisville on the road at Cardinal Park Friday night. - Junior Kayla King was inserted into the game in the opening minutes, and recorded six saves, keeping a clean sheet and saving a penalty kick late in the game which would have tied the score at 1-1. - Freshman Cailin Harris scored UK's lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Samford. Harris, Arin Gilliland and Kayla King were named to the Cardinal Classic All-Tournament Team. - UK returns home Friday night for its Southeastern Conference opener against No. 24 Florida Friday night, with a Sunday matchup vs. undefeated Mississippi State.
Men's soccer - The Kentucky men's soccer team finished second at its invitational tournament over the weekend, picking up a 2-0 win over St. Joe's and falling to No. 4 Charlotte on Sunday, 1-0. - Kentucky has played an extremely grueling schedule to open the 2012 season, as the Wildcats have played three top-25 foes in their first five matches. UK entered the matchup with Charlotte, the 2011 NCAA runners-up, fresh off a dominating 2-0 win over St. Joseph's in its home opener on Friday night. - UK finished second in the 2012 UKIT with the loss, as the high-octane 49ers claimed the championship, Stony Brook third place and St. Joe's fourth. - UK freshman midfielder Bryan Celis - who scored his first career goal on Friday - junior defender Steven Perinovic and junior forward Tyler Riggs were selected to the UKIT All-Tournament team by the UK coaching staff. Upcoming schedule Monday, Sept. 10 Men's tennis at Southern Intercollegiate (Athens, Ga.) Women's golf at Old Waverly Bulldog Invite (West Point, Miss.) Tuesday, Sept. 11 Women's golf at Old Waverly Bulldog Invite (West Point, Miss.)
Wednesday, Sept. 12 Women's golf at Old Waverly Bulldog Invite (West Point, Miss.)
Friday, Sept. 14 Men's soccer at Louisville - 7:00 p.m. Women's soccer hosts Florida - 7:00 p.m. Men's tennis at Duke Invitational (Cary, N.C.)/ Illinois Invitational (Chicago) Women's tennis at Muirfield Village Invitational (Muirfield, Ohio)
Saturday, Sept. 15 Football hosts Western Kentucky - 7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Wolf Run Invite (Zionsville, Ind.) Men's tennis at Duke Invitational (Cary, N.C.)/ Illinois Invitational (Chicago) Women's tennis at Muirfield Village Invitational (Muirfield, Ohio) Sunday, Sept. 16 Volleyball hosts Florida - 1:00 p.m. Women's soccer hosts Mississippi State - 1:00 p.m. Men's golf at Wolf Run Invite (Zionsville, Ind.) Men's tennis at Duke Invitational (Cary, N.C.)/ Illinois Invitational (Chicago) Women's tennis at Muirfield Village Invitational (Muirfield, Ohio)