Carlos Drada's UK women's tennis team kicks of the 2013 season this weekend. (Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)
Carlos Drada is a better tennis coach coming off of a 9-14 season than he was when he last brought his team to the NCAA Tournament in 2009. When Drada took over the women's tennis program at UK seven seasons ago in 2006, he had inherited a Sweet 16 team.
Fast forward to 2013, and Drada is just looking to get his team back into a competitive realm in the Southeastern Conference.
Drada had known nothing but success for his program after spending four years as a UK assistant and reaching five consecutive Sweet 16s. However, after his first four seasons, the program suffered a stretch of setbacks
"It was basically three injuries we had in 2009 and 2010, and they were career-ending injuries," said Drada. "Usually you have one of those every five years, but to have three in a year and a half is just devastating, especially when the players were top of the line."
With the struggles came some transfers out of the program. Drada and his staff were faced with the challenge of bringing in young talent to fill some holes in the program. It's been a gradual rebuilding process up to this point.
The top players lost to injury or transfer were upperclassmen and players that were expected to be leaders to show the younger players the ropes. With them gone, the freshmen and sophomores were placed in the tough position to figure things out on their own at practice and during competition.
This season, Drada is stressing to his team to give "100 percent effort 100 percent of the time." In fact, that's been the Wildcats' motto this season both on and off the court. Teaching freshmen to give that type of effort is a lot more difficult when there aren't others to show them the way.
"When you are a young freshman, you learn by example," said Drada. "You learn from your upperclassmen doing it. When there aren't a lot of upperclassmen doing it, then it's harder than when the majority is. At one point, we had five freshmen, so it was very tough to make that transition."
This season, however, two freshmen could be the key to this season's success. Kirsten Lewis and Nadia Ravita are expected to make a big impact in the starting lineup. Ravita is the highest nationally ranked player on the team at No. 78 joining 117th-ranked junior Caitlin McGraw as the only ranked Wildcats this season. It's the first time that Kentucky has had two ranked players in the lineup since 2006.
That season, Kentucky reached the SEC Tournament final.
Though the freshmen have been impressive in their brief time at Kentucky and performed well in the fall, it remains to be seen just how effective they will be when it comes to team competition.
"I'm just very interested in seeing how our freshmen are going to be able to compete at a different venue," said Drada. "All they've competed in is individual tournaments, so I'm interested to see how they handle that pressure."
Their first challenge comes this weekend in a Saturday doubleheader at the Boone Tennis Center when UK hosts Morehead State and Belmont. But there will be several more difficult challenges, not only for the freshmen, but the collective team down the road.
The SEC boasts six top-25 teams, including three top-10 squads. It has seen the competition level continue to rise year after year. Kentucky's biggest challenge is keeping up with the times while trying to stay competitive in the conference.
Last season, UK only managed one victory in the SEC. The Wildcats were competitive in several of those matches, but time after time they had trouble sealing the deal in the end. Drada's goal is to be at least a .500 team in the conference and go from there.
"We're going to start with that," said Drada. "More than that, I want my players to compete on every court. If they do that, they are capable of beating 70 to 80 percent of the players they play against. But it has to be pure competition every day that they go out there."
Drada has learned more about himself in defeat than he ever had in victory. He has learned more about himself as a person. It's made him better.
"The beautiful thing is that it has allowed me to learn a lot of things about coaching, adversity and having to come back," said Drada. "What I know is that has given me a better understanding of being in the top of the nation and having a high ranking."
Now, Drada feels that he's rebuilt his program with the type of people and competitors that he knows can make a difference for this team. Slowly but surely, Drada hopes to turn the page on the last three years to restore his program to where it was during his first four years on the job.
"The good thing now is that I know exactly what I want and what I do not want," said Drada. "We keep looking for the players that we want to bring into this team and the players who have a better affinity to meet the standards we try to reach each day. We're hoping that by following these standards, 10 years from now they are going to be better at whatever they are doing at that time."
Drada knows that because this program has had plenty of success in the last decade - success that he's helped produce and seen with his own eyes - Kentucky can reach that level again. He knows the Cats have all the tools they need to win at their disposal.
Now, it's time to put it all together and win some matches. Kentucky feels that it's better at every position than it was heading into 2012. The Cats will get an early indication if that's the case this Saturday. Either way, Drada is confident in the future of his program.
"As the level of the SEC has risen, it's tough to maintain that standard, but I know we're going to get there," said Drada. "We're doing really well. Now we know exactly what we need and what we want for this program.
"We're doing a great job in recruiting and it's going to show in the years to follow."
Football - The UK defense continued to improve, limiting Missouri to 273 yards of total offense which was the lowest number of yards UK has allowed all season. - The Wildcat defense also created a season-high three turnovers in the game, getting two interceptions and a fumble recovery. J.D. Harmon was impressive in the effort for Kentucky, earning a career-best seven tackles on top of the two interceptions.
Volleyball - Senior setter Christine Hartmann narrowly missed out on a triple-double with nine kills, 52 assists and 11 digs against Tennessee. She directed four players to 10 or more kills in the match including 19 on a .472 hitting clip from senior Ashley Frazier. - With 21 digs against UT, senior Stephanie Klefot moved into sole possession of fourth place on the SEC all-time career digs leader list. - In the victory over Georgia, UK saw Hartmann lead the defensive effort with a career-high 19 digs. She passed out 58 assists and again found four players for 10 or more kills. - Freshman Sara Schwarzwalder led the defensive effort for the weekend with team-highs in blocks in both matches including matching a career-high eight in the victory against the Bulldogs. Women's soccer - UK's eight SEC wins marks the most conference wins for the Wildcats since the 1999 season. It ties a program record for most SEC wins in a season. - The Wildcats have shut out four of the last five opponents they have faced, as goalkeeper Kayla King has only allowed one goal in the last 422 minutes of action in the net. - UK finishes the season having six different freshmen score a goal, as the class accounted for more than 30 points on the season.
Men's soccer - Jack Van Arsdale notched his fourth shutout of the year and UK got splendid play from defenders Steven Perinovic, Jacob Kemper, Jacob Speed and Isak Krogstad in a win at No. 23 Tulsa. - UK has improved to 6-2 on the road in 2012, with the Wildcats tied for the second-most road wins in the NCAA entering the Saturday win.
Rifle - The No. 2 University of Kentucky rifle team defeated No. 15 Tennessee-Martin 4656 - 4577 Sunday in Barker Hall. - Freshman Connor Davis led the Wildcats with an aggregate score of 1170. - Junior Aaron Holsopple finished with a match high in smallbore, shooting a 582. Women's soccer - Senior Jessica Stiles finished the weekend 3-0 in singles play and 2-1 in doubles. Stiles' play left her in second for singles champion, one point off first. - Junior Khristina Blajkevitch capped off a perfect singles weekend with a 6-1, 6-1 win on Sunday.
Cross country - Cally Macumber achieved a feat no other University of Kentucky Wildcat had accomplished in 23 years when she won the SEC Cross Country Championship by a four-second margin with a time of 20:23.29 in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday. - The UK women placed fifth overall, while the men finished sixth. - Luis Orta was the first Wildcat to finish on the men's side in 24:10.83 over 8K. - Three Wildcats earned spots on the All-SEC teams by virtue of their performances at the Conference meet as Macumber and Oswald were named to the First Team, while Orta made the Second Team. - Macumber and Oswald each received All-SEC honors for the second time in their careers. Orta, a senior, reached All-Conference status for the third time.
Swimming and diving - The Kentucky men and women's swimming teams picked up their first wins of the season against Southern Illinois in a tri-meet. - Kentucky's men were led by sophomore Lucas Gerotto who picked up his second victory in the 100-butterfly (49.70) and took third in the 50-freestyle (21.15). The men also earned their first relay victory of the season in the 4x100-freestyle as Chris Lott, Will Heidler, Gerotto and Chris Thomas combined for the winning time of 3:05.62.The women pulled out two wins with senior Mandy Myers taking home first in the 100-buttefly with a time of 55.53. Sophomore Christina Bechtel earned her first win of the season as well with a win in the 200-butterfly with the winning time of 66.10.
Monday, Oct. 29 Women's golf at Alamo Invitational (San Antonio, Texas)
Tuesday, Oct. 30 Women's golf at Alamo Invitational (San Antonio, Texas)
Wednesday, Oct. 31 Women's soccer vs. Missouri (Orange Beach, Ala.) - 8:30 p.m. Men's soccer hosts UCF - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 1 Men's basketball hosts Northwood - 7:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2 Volleyball hosts Ole Miss - 7:00 p.m. Men's tennis at Collegiate Clay Court Tournament (Orlando, Fla.) Swimming and diving hosts Auburn - 2:00 p.m. Women's soccer SEC Tournament Semifinals (Orange Beach, Ala.) - TBA
Saturday, Nov. 3 Men's tennis at Collegiate Clay Court Tournament (Orlando, Fla.) Rifle at North Carolina State Football hosts Vanderbilt - 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 4 Volleyball hosts South Carolina - 1:30 p.m. Men's tennis at Collegiate Clay Court Tournament (Orlando, Fla.) Men's soccer hosts South Carolina - 1:00 p.m. Women's soccer SEC Tournament Championship (Orange Beach, Ala.) • TBA
Football - The game with Mississippi State marked UK's third-consecutive game against an undefeated, top-20 opponent. Previous times in school history UK has played three straight ranked opponents include 1958, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1988, 2007, 2009 and 2011. - The UK defense limited Mississippi State to seven points in the second half. That ties the lowest scoring output by an opponent vs. UK this season. Kent State also had just seven points in the second half. - Freshmen quarterbacks Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles led the UK offense. Whitlow scored UK's second touchdown of the game on a three-yard rush, while Towles marched UK down the field for its first score when he connected with La'Rod King for a 32-yard touchdown. Demarco Robinson led UK in receiving with six catches for 43 yards.
Volleyball - Sophomore Lauren O'Conner tallied 11 kills on a career-high .556 percentage to lead the way in a win over Ole Miss. Freshman Kayla Tronick made her first career start and totaled 10 kills for a staggering .833 clip as she led a middle blocking unit that was flawless on the night. - Against the Gators, the Wildcats earned a 2-0 lead into the locker room, before succumbing to a gut-wrenching comeback by the Gators. UK limited the high octane offensive attack of Florida to just .197 for the match. O'Conner again led the way for UK with a career-high 18 kills on a sizzling .421 percentage. - Senior Stephanie Klefot had a match-high 22 digs to lead the back line defense. With 37 digs on the weekendshe has totaled 1,708 for her career and moves into seventh place all-time in the SEC career record books. Women's soccer - Arin Gilliland scored her fourth goal of the season against Missouri, which now sits in second on the team for most goals scored. The assist on the Wildcat's lone weekend goal went to senior captain Alyssa Telang, who tallied her second point on the season. - The overtime game Friday night was UK's fourth straight, which now stands as a new program record. - The loss Friday was UK's first to a top-25 team all season long, as the Wildcats were 2-0-1 previously against ranked teams. Men's soccer - Kentucky played its fifth and sixth ranked opponents of the year during the week, as the high-powered Hoosiers came to Lexington on Wednesday and secured a 4-1 win at the UK Soccer Complex. The loss to the tradition-laden Hoosiers snapped a five-match unbeaten streak for the Wildcats, the longest streak for UK since the 2009 season. - UK then ventured to Dallas to face league-leader SMU on a bitterly cold night at Westcott Field, with the Mustangs riding a penalty kick in the 65th minute and a late open-goal tally to a 2-0 win to stretch their unbeaten streak to nine games and improve to 4-0 in conference play.
Women's tennis - Sophomore Stephanie Fox led Kentucky at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic, winning the Green Draw after defeating Linn Timmermann of Georgia State 6-2, 6-2 in the championship match. - Nadia Ravita and Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff both finished second in their respective draws with Revita falling in three sets. Morin-Kougoucheff fell in the championship of the Pink Draw to Nayara Moraes of Middle Tennessee. - The tandem of Kirsten Lewis and Ravita fell short of winning the Teal Draw. The duo lost in the championship match 8-5 following an 8-2 win in the first round and an 8-6 semifinal win over Northwestern. Men's tennis - Tom Jomby defeated No. 14 Ben McLachlan of California 7-6, 6-3 to earn the upset. In the second round, the Nates, France, native earned a straight-set 6-2, 7-6 victory over Nathan Pascha of Ole Miss. His run came to an end Saturday to No. 7 Raymond Sarmiento of USC (California) in three sets. - Anthony Rossi came in as the No. 10 overall seed, but fell in the opening round in a three-set match.
Cross country - Luis Orta and Cally Macumber were named SEC cross Country Athletes of the Week after stellar performances at the Greater Louisville Classic. - Macumber finished second individually with a 5,000 meter time of 16:55.14, a mark, which currently stands as the best 5K time in the SEC so far this season. She now finished inside the top two in all three meets the Wildcats have competed in this campaign. - The senior came in ahead of Washington's Katie Flood, the defending Pac-12 cross country champion and a top-10 finisher at the 2011 NCAA Championships. - Orta earned the award for his 12th-place time of 24:06.96 over 8K. - He earned the same award three times last season. It was the third-consecutive top-20 performance for Orta this year and his ninth-consecutive top-25 finish.
Monday, Oct. 8 Men's golf at Jack Nicklaus Invitational (Dublin, Ohio)
Tuesday, Oct. 9 Men's golf at Jack Nicklaus Invitational (Dublin, Ohio)
Friday, Oct. 12 Women's soccer at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m. Volleyball hosts Mississippi State - 5:00 p.m. Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Saturday, Oct. 13 Football at Arkansas - 7:00 p.m. Men's soccer at UAB - 8:00 p.m. Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.) Cross Country at Pre-Nationals (Louisville, Ky.) Rifle at Nebraska
Sunday, Oct. 14 Women's soccer at Georgia - 2:00 p.m. Volleyball hosts Texas A&M - 1:30 p.m. Men's golf at Querencia Cabo Collegiate (San Jose del Cabo, Mexico) Women's golf at Tar Heel Invitational (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
UK Athletics may be in the middle of the offseason, but that doesn't mean its athletes aren't working hard to prepare themselves for next year. If anything, Wildcats from the women's basketball, softball, women's tennis, women's soccer, volleyball and gymnastics teams are working harder than they do during the season.
Kentucky strength and conditioning coach Stephanie Tracey-Simmons is putting athletes through each of those teams through an intense set of summer workouts. The workouts are designed to build strength, endurance and confidence for the upcoming season, but they also have effect of unifying teammates and creating bonds across sports. Jen Smith from the Lexington Herald-Leader has the story:
The UK strength and conditioning coach says it's not her mission to make athletes miserable. She wants to make them tougher and stronger, more confident.
"I always tell the basketball players, 'You guys hate me now, but you're going to love me in March,'" Simmons says.
By the time basketball season rolls around and the season starts in November, Simmons is sure of one thing. "They will have the confidence that they can run anyone in the country down and wear them out."
There's a competitive portion to the summer workouts. At the end of it, each sport's coach is provided with a chart of how each player finished, not only individually, but also against players from the other participating sports.
"It's a big competition at the end of the summer to see whose team performed the best," says Bria Goss, a sophomore guard on the basketball team. "Also, individually you're competing against other sports. We all push each other and get better."
With four different teams adding to Kentucky's tally, UK Athletics is fast closing in on Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's benchmark of 15 conference or national championships by the year 2015.
With the work of all UK's varsity teams, the Wildcats are also on the cusp of Barnhart's goals in the classroom.
For the second consecutive semester, UK student-athletes narrowly fell short of the 3.0 department-wide grade point average set forth by Barnhart. All UK student-athletes combined for 2.97 GPA and the GPA for scholarship athletes was a slightly higher 2.98 GPA. The average team GPA for the spring semester was 3.07.
"I am very proud of the effort our student-athletes logged in the classroom this semester," Barnhart said. "We fell just shy of our GPA goal and will work tirelessly to reach it, but I am happy with the academic culture we have fostered at UK. I appreciate everything our student-athletes, coaches and support staff have done to make that happen."
Among all teams, women's tennis had the highest GPA at 3.55, while men's cross country had the highest GPA among men's teams at 3.29. Of UK's 20 Division I teams, 12 had a GPA of over 3.0, including the championship-winning men's basketball, rifle and men's tennis teams. ***See below for complete grade information for each sport***
The work of the men's basketball team was particularly impressive. The Wildcats brought home the program's eighth national championship, spending essentially the entire month of March away from campus for tournament play, yet still excelling academically.
Five players off this year's championship team opted to turn professional early - all projected first-round picks and three in the lottery - but also demonstrated their commitment to both UK and eventually graduating by finishing the semester strong as full-time students. Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague - three so-called "one and dones" - combined for a spring GPA well above 3.0. Additionally, the lone seniors on the team, Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas, each received their diplomas at May commencement.
"All these kids are good kids," John Calipari said. "We had a (3.12) GPA as a team for this term with five players who are leaving early, so all this stuff bitter old men say that they don't go to class, it's not true."
The men's basketball team is just the most high-profile example in a department full of student-athletes committed to excelling both on and off the field. With spring sports yet to be recognized, 90 Wildcats have already been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall and Winter Honor Rolls. UK student-athletes have also volunteered over 4,000 total hours to various charitable causes.
"I am excited about all the great things our student-athletes are doing," Barnhart said. "They do so much to enrich our athletic department, our University and the Lexington community. We are blessed to be a part of their development and take that responsibility seriously."
Baseball - With No. 1 LSU coming to Cliff Hagan Stadium, No. 2 Kentucky won the series over top-ranked LSU with wins in the second and third game of the series. Kentucky's series win is the first over a No. 1 ranked team in the modern era of the program, with the Wildcats producing record crowds during the three-game set. - UK leads the nation in wins, sits atop the SEC standings and owns a 12-3 record in one-run games and an 11-5 record in games against top-25 teams. The Wildcats have opened up the year with series wins over No. 2 South Carolina, at Tennessee, at No. 18 Georgia, No. 10 Ole Miss, at No. 9 Arkansas and No. 1 LSU. The Wildcats are off to the best start to a season in the over 100-year history of the program, with its SEC start the best in program annals. - The Wildcats have been paced by a team offense that leads the conference in nearly every category, hitting .316 as a team, with a .488 slugging and a .403 on-base percentage, belting 47 homers in 41 games and stealing 36 bases. Individually, freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino leads UK with a .351 average, with a league-leading 17 doubles, seven homers and 34 RBI, stealing nine bases.
Football - The Kentucky football team held its annual Blue/White Game Saturday evening at Commonwealth Stadium. The first teamers, who went by Kentucky on the scoreboard, won 35-28 over the second team (Wildcats). The first team outscored the second team 35-14 overall, as the Wildcats were spotted 14 points as part of the spring game format. - Quarterback Maxwell Smith led Kentucky to victory, totaling 353 yards on 29-of-45 passing and two touchdowns. - Wide receiver Demarco Robinson led Kentucky's receiving corps with nine catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The Wildcats' leading receiver was tight end Anthony Kendrick with three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown. - On defense, linebacker Tyler Brause was the Wildcats' leading tackler with seven, while linebacker Avery Williamson charted a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss and one sack for the Kentucky squad.
Men's tennis - The sixth-ranked Kentucky men's tennis team made its second consecutive appearance in the Southeastern Conference Tournament finals over the weekend before falling to fourth-ranked Georgia in the title match. This was Kentucky's third all-time appearance in the final match. - Kentucky defeated No. 43 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Ole Miss to advance to the finals. The win over VU was Kentucky's 25th of the season, helping UK surpass the 25-win mark for three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. - Senior No. 3 Eric Quigley led Kentucky with a 2-0 record in singles action, helping him break the school record for most wins in a single season with a 47-6 record this year. Kentucky junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore Tom Jomby were named to the SEC All-Tournament team after the final match.
Softball - The Kentucky softball team traveled to the state of Mississippi for a five-game road swing. UK began the week well with a sweep of Ole Miss, which marked the fifth consecutive time the Wildcats had earned a series from the Rebels. - Both senior pitchers in Chanda Bell and Rachel Riley earned victories, while freshman Griffin Joiner led the bats with an .800 average against the Rebels. - Mississippi State took all three against UK during the weekend series, winning all three outings by just one run each game. The final two wins came in walk-off fashion.
Track and field - Junior Luis Orta finished ninth in the 3,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., running the third-fastest 3,000m run (8:49.45) in school history. - Sophomore Brandon Bagley ran a career-best time in the 400m hurdles Saturday, clocking in with a 53.93 to finish third. - The women's 4x100m relay team finished first with a time of 45.62, Andrew Evans won the men's discus with a 176-02 and Terri-Ann Grant won the women's high jump at 5-10.50. - Jennifer Svoboda threw a season-best mark in the women's shot put with a mark of 50-08.75.
Women's tennis - The women's tennis team traveled to Oxford, Miss., for the SEC Championship. The 11th-seeded Wildcats faced 6th-seeded South Carolina in the first round of the tournament. - In doubles play, the 82nd-ranked team of Jessica Stiles and Caitlin McGraw took on No. 37 Dijana Stojic and Jaklin Alawi in a highly-competitive match. UK mounted a late comeback to hold off Stojic and Alawi from taking match-point on multiple occasions, holding the score at 7-6. Ultimately, Stojic and Alawi were able to barely edge out Stiles and McGraw to take the 8-6 win and the doubles point. - In singles play, multiple Wildcats found strength in their second set. Unfortunately, the late surges were not enough to grab the singles wins. South Carolina secured its win as the No. 4 and No. 5 matches ended simultaneously to give the Gamecocks a 5-0 victory. Women's golf - The University of Kentucky women's golf team placed ninth at the 2012 SEC Championship. - Senior Ashlee Rose led the Wildcats, finishing in a tie for 12th at 14-over-par 230. Rose led Kentucky with 35 pars, the second most by an individual on the weekend. - Junior Betsie Johnson finished in a tie for 29th at 21-over-par 237.
Men's golf - Kentucky finished seventh at the SEC Championship, going 6-under-par in the final three holes to finish at 26-over-par total. - Joseph Barr and Stephen Powers led UK, tying for 19th at 4-over-par. - Kentucky's final team score of 868 was its second-best score at the conference tournament since 2006.
Tuesday, April 23 Softball hosts Morehead State - 4:00 p.m. Baseball at Louisville - 6:00 p.m. Thursday, April 25 Track and field at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Friday, April 26 Softball at Florida - 6:00 p.m. Baseball at Vanderbilt - 7:30 p.m. Track and field at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Saturday, April 27 Softball at Florida - 1:00 p.m. Baseball at Vanderbilt - 3:00 p.m. Track and field at Penn Relays (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Sunday, April 28 Softball at Florida - Noon Baseball at Vanderbilt - 2:00 p.m. Track and field at Payton Jordan Invitational (Palo Alto, Calif.)
- Kentucky posted two impressive wins
over the week to conclude regular-season action, defeating No. 23 Illinois and No.
43 Vanderbilt. The win against Vanderbilt sealed the outright SEC Championship
for Kentucky, who went 11-0 in league play for the first time in school
- The victory over Vanderbilt
completes a nine-match winning streak to end the season for Kentucky. During
those nine matches, the Wildcats have defeated some of the best teams in the
nation, posting wins over six teams that are currently ranked in the
Intercollegiate Tennis Association's top 25.
- UK won both doubles points during
the week, moving to 17-0 this season when it wins the doubles point. Seniors Eric
Quigley and Alex Musialek, along with junior Anthony Rossi and sophomore
Alejandro Gomez went 2-0 in singles on the week.
- UK receives a first-round bye in the
SEC Tournament and will play the winner of LSU-Vanderbilt in the second round
Friday at 3 p.m. ET.
- Facing its toughest test in an
historically unprecedented season, No. 1 Kentucky baseball traveled to Baum
Stadium and won a series at No. 9 Arkansas last weekend for the first time
since 2002 and just the second time in the history of the program. UK won two
of the three games at Arkansas, also suffering a midweek loss to No. 19
Louisville during the four-game week.
- The Wildcats are continuing the best
start to a season in the history of the program, with its 11-4 opening through the
first half of the 30-game league schedule. UK's series win at Arkansas was the
first in a nine-game home series span for the Razorbacks, and UK's doubleheader
sweep on Saturday was the first allowed by Arkansas to one team since the 1996
- UK leads the nation in wins, sits
atop the SEC standings, own an 11-2 record in one-run games and a 9-4 record in
games against top-25 teams. The Wildcats have opened up the year with series
wins over No. 2 South Carolina, Tennessee, No. 18 Georgia, No. 10 Ole Miss and
No. 9 Arkansas.
- The Kentucky softball team charted a
3-2 week against Arkansas and Georgia to keep the Wildcats in the hunt for postseason
play. The series victory over the top-10 ranked Bulldogs is just the second
time in school history UK has taken a series from Georgia and first since 2000.
- The sophomore duo of Emily Jolly and
Lauren Cumbess were instrumental in leading the Wildcats. Jolly batted .500 with
a team-high five runs scored, six RBI and a pair of homers. Jolly played a part
in eight of UK's 13 scoring innings this week.
- Sophomore Lauren Cumbess put the
exclamation point on a tremendous pitching performance by UK's staff. Senior Chanda
Bell limited Georgia to just one-hit and one-run in the opening game of the
series. Cumbess topped her teammate with the first no-hitter of her career in
the series-clinching victory on Saturday. Cumbess allowed just five base
runners while striking out seven in the win. It was the first no-hitter for UK
since April of 2011 and the first thrown against Georgia since former Tennessee
All-American Monica Abbott turned the trick in 2007. In 14 innings of two wins
over the Bulldogs, UK pitchers limited Georgia to one hit and 11 total base
- Cumbess was also a spark offensively
with a .471 batting average and a pair of doubles. Senior Brittany Cervantes homered
three times in five games and has hit six in the last eight games for UK.
Track and field
- Keilah Tyson won the 200m dash at
the Border Battle Kentuckiana with a UK freshman record time of 23.68. Tyson's time
is the third fastest 200m in UK history and is her fourth UK freshman record.
- Terence Boyd had career-best marks
in the long jump and triple jump. Boyd's long jump of 24-04.50 is the fifth
best in UK history, and his triple jump of 50-00.50 is the eighth best in
- Kayla Parker won the 100m hurdles
with a career-best time of 13.72, the seventh fastest time in UK history.
Parker also had a career-best long jump mark of 18-08.75.
- Kentucky's 4x100m relay team of
Julie Nunn, Kayla Parker, Shiara Robinson and Keilah Tyson finished first with
a time of 45.28, the fourth-fastest in UK history.
- The women's tennis team faced No. 24
Vanderbilt for its last match of the regular season. The Wildcats fell to the Commodores,
- Freshman Stephanie Fox and sophomore
Misha Testerman grabbed a doubles victory for the Cats, defeating Megan Gorney
and Nelly Redeva, 8-5.
- The Wildcats will next travel to
Oxford, Miss., for the SEC Championships. As the 11th seed, they will face
6th-seeded South Carolina at 10 a.m. ET on April 19.
Tuesday, April 17
Baseball hosts Cincinnati - 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 18
Softball at Ole Miss (DH) - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 19
Women's tennis vs. South Carolina -
10:00 a.m. (Oxford, Miss.)
Baseball - Kentucky completed its first series win over Ole Miss since the 2008 season, as the Wildcats won the set over a blistering-hot Ole Miss club that entered the weekend fresh off a series win over consensus No. 1 Florida. UK posted a 3-2 win in the opener, suffered a 9-3 loss in the second game, before riding a strong pitching effort from Corey Littrell to a series-clinching win on Sunday, 8-3. - UK has opened up the 2012 season with a 30-3 mark, the best start to a season in school history, leading the NCAA in wins and pacing the conference atop the standings for the second consecutive week. - UK's 9-3 start to conference play is also a program best, with UK running up a school-record 21-game home winning streak earlier in the year and a program-best 22 game winning streak to open the season, the second-longest streak in the storied history of the SEC. UK now owns a 7-2 record against teams ranked in the top 25, with UK also boasting a 9-1 record in one-run games in 2012.
Men's tennis - Behind a dominating performance in singles action that included a come-from-behind effort from senior No. 7 Eric Quigley for the decisive fourth point of the match, UK clinched a share of the SEC regular-season title with a 5-2 win over No. 14 Ole Miss on Sunday. UK began the weekend with a 6-1 win over No. 10 Mississippi State. This is the first SEC title since UK won the overall SEC Championship in 1992. - Quigley was the star of the weekend for Kentucky, winning both of his singles matches to increase his impressive record to 10-0 against SEC foes. The native of Pewee Valley, Ky., defeated two highly ranked foes during the week, including No. 15 Artem Ilyushin and No. 19 Nik Scholtz. Quigley's win over Scholtz was the match clincher vs. Ole Miss. - The two wins over the weekend takes Kentucky's record against top 25 teams this season to 9-3, while UK has earned 29 wins over top-25 teams since the start of the 2009 season. UK also continued to perform well at home, boosting its home record to 58-10 since the start of the 2009 season.
Gymnastics - UK concluded the season with a fifth-place showing at the NCAA Champaign Regional behind a team score of 194.750. - The Wildcats saved the best performance of the night for last, scoring a team score of 48.95 on uneven bars. Junior Caitlyn Ciokajlo led the way for Kentucky with a career-high tying 9.875, which ranked her fifth overall at the meet. - UK seniors Storey Morris and Whitney Rose ended their collegiate careers with strong showings at the event. Morris posted a team-best 9.825 on balance beam and a 9.8 on both vault and bars, while Rose tied a season best score on bars with a 9.775. Softball - The Kentucky softball team earned a crucial series victory over South Carolina this weekend at home to improve to 5-7 in Southeastern Conference action and remain in the hunt for a spot in the SEC Tournament. - Kentucky was led by the hot-hitting of senior Brittany Cervantes and freshman Griffin Joiner. Cervantes batted .400 for the week, including .500 against the Gamecocks. Cervantes hit homers in all three games against South Carolina, while scoring five times and driving in four runs. Joiner led the offensive unit with a .444 average for the week. She notched a pair of doubles and three runs driven in to help the Wildcat cause. - Senior Rachel Riley also boasted the Wildcat attack with a .400 average and a pair of homers. She was vital in her pitching performance as well. Riley tossed her first shutout of the season in the series-tying victory. She went the distance and struck out five in the win. Senior Chanda Bell earned the other victory in the circle for UK while striking out 10 in a complete-game series-clincher on Sunday. Women's tennis - Women's tennis grabbed its first SEC victory of the season over Mississippi State, posting a final result of 5-1. - In singles play, Jessica Stiles defeated 113th-ranked Alexandra Perper at the No. 1 singles slot, 6-7 (3), 6-1, 1-0 (10). Khristina Blajkevitch also found herself in a tight match as she defeated Olesya Tsigvintseva 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 (8). Caitlin McGraw and Stephanie Fox also grabbed singles victories for the Cats. - UK next faced No. 16 Ole Miss and fell 7-0. Freshman Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff put up a valiant effort in singles play, falling just short of Erin Stephens at the No. 3 singles slot, 6-7, 4-6.
Men's golf - Men's golf finished 13th at the Gary Koch Invitational, its final tournament of the regular season. - Junior Joseph Barr led Kentucky with a final score of 8-over-par, tying for 38th. - It was the second time this season Barr had the best or tied for the best tournament finish on the team.
Women's golf - The University of Kentucky women's golf team finished 13th at the 2012 Bryan National Collegiate. - Junior Heather Lott finished the weekend in a tie for 35th at 11-over-par 227. - Junior Betsie Johnson led Kentucky with eight birdies on the weekend.
Track and field - Competing at the Florida Relays, junior Shiara Robinson recorded the seventh-best time in the 400m hurdles in UK history with a 1:00.85. - Sophomore Julie Nunn ran the 10th fastest 400m dash in program history, clocking a 55.71. - Freshman Keilah Tyson continued her impressive rookie campaign, missing out on her UK freshman record in the 100m by just 0.01 seconds. - Junior Luis Orta finished fifth in the 5,000m with a time of 14:09.47, while sophomore Allison Peare finished fifth in the 800m. Upcoming schedule
Tuesday, April 10 Baseball hosts Louisville - 6:30 p.m.