Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 23:
Volleyball: Whitney Billings
Junior Whitney Billings guided the Wildcats to a big-time road victory at Texas A&M to help UK snap the Aggies' nine-match winning streak. Billings notched her 18th career double-double effort with season-high totals of 16 kills, 16 digs and six blocks. She also had a career-best five service aces in the win. Against LSU, she totaled 14 kills and added seven digs. For the week, she had team-highs in points (4.10), blocks (1.0) and aces (0.50).
Volleyball: Stephanie Klefot
For just the sixth time in her career, senior libero Stephanie Klefot posted back-to-back 20-dig matches this weekend in helping lead UK to a 1-1 weekend on the road. Klefot matched a career-high of 29 digs at LSU, and then charted 20 in a five-set win at Texas A&M to help snap the Aggies' nine-match winning streak. Klefot for the week, averaged 4.90 digs per set - well above her 3.96 season average. She topped 20 scoops in a match for the 25th and 26th times in her career. Furthermore, with the 49 digs, Klefot (1,641) officially moved into second place on the UK all-time career digs list passing BriAnne Sauer (1,634). That total also ranks 10th all-time in the SEC record books.
Women's soccer: Courtney Raetzman
Freshman Courtney Raetzman has been on fire for the Wildcats as of late, tallying 10 points in the last four games. The freshman charted a goal on Friday night on the road vs. Arkansas, and also scored two goals in UK's win over LSU. Raetzman scored all four of UK's points Sunday, scoring the go-ahead goal in the opening half as well as the golden goal in the 106th minute to give UK the 2-1 OT win. The freshman has scored four goals in four games, while also charting two assists in that time frame.
Men's soccer: Tyler Riggs
Junior forward Tyler Riggs had a prolific week in leading the Wildcats to a pair of wins ... During the two wins, Riggs totaled a goal and two assists ... In a win over East Tennessee State, Riggs contributed his second assist of the year ... On Saturday night at Evansville, Riggs netted the game-winning goal and later dished out an assist ... The Louisville, Ky., native played the full 180 minutes on the week, firing a total of nine shots ... His seven-shot outing at UE on Saturday marked a new career high and a season individual high for the Wildcats ... On the year, Riggs has three goals and three assists and in his career, Riggs has 19 goals, eight assists and 46 points.
Men's soccer: Jack Van Arsdale
Junior Jack Van Arsdale had another dominating week in between the pipes, leading the Wildcats to a pair of wins ... A native of Richmond, Va., Van Arsdale paced a stellar UK defensive attack in a 3-1 win over East Tennessee State on Wednesday, with the Bucs getting their goal on a penalty kick ... On Saturday, Van Arsdale notched his second shutout of the year in a 2-0 winning effort ... On the year, Van Arsdale has a 0.90 goals-against average in six games and 500 minutes, saving 18 shots ... Over the last three games - all UK wins - Van Arsdale has allowed only one goal in 270 minutes.
Football - The football team dropped its Southeastern Conference opener Saturday to No. 14 Florida 38-0 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. - Junior tailback Jonathan George led the team in rushing for the second-consecutive game, posting 52 yards on 13 carries. Overall, UK had 159 rushing yards against the Gators, which was the most a UK team has posted vs. UF since gaining 175 in 2003. - Sophomore linebacker Bud Dupree paced the UK defense with eight tackles and a sack. Junior Avery Williamson also gathered eight tackles in the game, while senior Martavius Neloms had an interception and Collins Ukwu blocked a field goal. Volleyball - UK dropped a heartbreaking five-set loss at LSU, before rallying for a five-set win that snapped a nine-match winning streak at Texas A&M. UK was led by senior Stephanie Klefot who put together back-to-back 20-dig matches for just the sixth time in her career. The 49 digs allowed her to chart 1,641 for her career and officially moved her into second place on the UK all-time career digs list passing BriAnne Sauer (1,634). That mark also ranks 10th all-time in the SEC. - Junior Whitney Billings also provided a spark for UK in the win in College Station. She had season-high numbers in kills (16), digs (16) and blocks (6), while also charting a career-high five aces. It marked the 18th double-double effort of her career. Senior Ashley Frazier launched 17 kills at LSU and followed that with 16 at A&M to lead the way offensively for UK.
Women's soccer - The UK women's soccer team split its first SEC weekend series, winning the Sunday game in overtime with LSU 2-1. - Freshman Courtney Raetzman scored one goal Friday night and two goals Sunday, including the golden goal in the 106th minute of the game to top LSU 2-1. The Elk Grove, Ill., native has tallied 10 points in the last four games. - The one goal allowed Sunday in the win over LSU was the eighth time in 10 games that the UK back line has allowed one or fewer goals in a game. Men's soccer - Kentucky won its third consecutive game with a victory at Evansville on Saturday to pull up to a .500 record after starting the campaign 1-4-0. The Wildcats used an explosive offensive attack and sterling defense during their three-game winning streak. - The Wildcats have been led offensively by Tyler Riggs in 2012, who has three goals and three assists in UK's first eight games of the year. - A native of Richmond, Ky., Jack Van Arsdale has allowed only one goal in his last three games, coming on a penalty attempt. He now owns a 0.90 goals-against average in six games and 500 minutes, saving 18 shots with two shutouts. UK freshman goalkeeper Callum Irving has also started three games, with seven saves and a 2.00 goals against average. - As a team, UK has averaged 1.62 goals a game and 11.8 shots a contest and a 53-43 advantage in corner kicks. Defensively, UK owns a 1.24 goals-against average.
Cross country - The women's cross country team finished second with 47 points at the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational, its second runner-up finish of the year. The men's team finished seventh with 200 points. - Junior Cally Macumber led the women's cross country team at the Virginia/Panorma Farms Invitational, winning the 5K event with a time of 17:29.13. - Senior Chelsea Oswald and junior Allison Peare earned their second top-10 finishes of the year, with Oswald finishing sixth with a time of 17:53.34 and Peare finishing ninth with a time of 18:28.84. - Senior Luis Orta led the men's team in the 8K event, finishing 16th after completing the event in 24:37.73.
Women's golf - The UK women's golf team placed eighth at the Mason Rudolph Invitational. Ashleigh Albrecht finished with the lowest score for the Wildcats at 12-over par and was tied for 23rd individually. - Next up for the Wildcats is the Tar Heel Invitational, Oct. 12-14 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Men's tennis - The UK men's tennis team competed in its third tournament of the fall, as the Cats traveled to Louisville to take part in the Louisville Invitational. - Brett Johnson, Maks Gold, Beck Pennington and Michael Binder made the trip to Louisville for UK as both Johnson and Gold recorded wins in the singles draw. Upcoming schedule
Monday, Sept. 24 Men's golf at Saint Mary's College Invitational (Monterey, Calif.)
Tuesday, Sept. 25 Men's soccer at IPFW - 7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Saint Mary's College Invitational (Monterey, Calif.) Wednesday, Sept. 26 Volleyball hosts Tennessee - 8:00 p.m.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 16:
Women's soccer: Kayla King
Junior Kayla King helped anchor the UK defense in two SEC games as UK upset No. 13 Florida (2-1) and knocked off undefeated Mississippi State (3-0). King made nine saves on the weekend, while only allowing one goal, which was a PK on Friday. The Louisville, Ky., native also tallied her first individual shutout of her career Sunday, as UK notched its fifth shutout as a team in just eight games.
Men's soccer: Matt Lodge
Senior midfielder Matt Lodge netted one of the biggest goals of his decorated career in leading UK to a monumental 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Friday night ... Lodge's third goal of the year came in the 38th minute at UofL, in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a UK men's soccer game, 5,583 fans at Cardinal Park ... His tally was a gorgeous strike on a free-kick opportunity from just outside of the 18-yard box, bending it around the wall and past the diving keeper at the far post ... The goal was Lodge's 20th career, ranking his sixth-best in UK annals ... He also ranks sixth in UK career history with his 55 points, adding 15 assists in his 59 career games.
Women's soccer: Courtney Raetzman
Freshman Courtney Raetzman scored the game-winning goal Friday night against No. 13 Florida in the SEC season opener off a corner kick in the 47th minute. The goal was the first-career goal for Raetzman. The freshman from Elk Grove, Ill., also notched two assists in the 3-0 win Sunday afternoon over undefeated Mississippi State, giving her four points on the weekend.
Men's soccer: Jack Van Arsdale
Junior keeper Jack Van Arsdale turned in the best game of his career in leading the Wildcats to a thrilling 1-0 win at No. 18 Louisville on Friday night in front of 5,583 at Cardinal Park - the most fans to ever witness a UK men's soccer game ... A native of Richmond, Va., Van Arsdale saved a career-high six shots in his first career clean sheet ... Among his remarkable saves in an electric atmosphere, Van Arsdale thwarted a breakaway with a kick save, extending his right leg out to narrowly stop a scoring chance ... His performance helped UK post its first win at Louisville since 2004 ... The transfer from Virginia Commonwealth saved shots in the ninth, 22nd, 36th, 47th, 72nd and 83rd minutes ... On the year, Van Arsdale has started in three games and played in four, owning a 1.12 goals-against average in 320 minutes with 15 saves ... In his two-year UK career, Van Arsdale has a 1.47 goals-against average in seven games, with 21 saves. "Jack you could see in him today that he made up his mind he was going to keep a clean sheet," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said of Van Arsdale's outing. "To come in here at Louisville to keep a clean sheet is a fantastic feeling." ... "Jack kept us in the game," UK senior co-captain Matt Lodge said. "He must have made about 10 saves in the second half. Credit the back four as well, Stevie (Perinovic), Dylan, Speed and Kemper they all played really good tonight."
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."