Nov. 4, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After netting four goals during a two-game week, including a hat trick on senior day, Kentucky senior forward Tyler Riggs has been named National Player of the Week by College Soccer News, it was announced on Monday morning.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Riggs netted the game-winning goal for the Wildcats in a must-win at Marshall on Wednesday, before his heroics on senior day Sunday vs. Florida Atlantic.
After tearing up during the senior day festivities pregame, Riggs starred on the field to complete the ninth hat trick in program history with goals in the 46th, 57th and 79th minutes. Overall, he led UK with seven shots and his three goals came in just 24 minutes played in the second half. His first goal came just 23 seconds into the second half, the third-fastest goal to open the final period in program history.
"Seemed like everything I touched, went positive," Riggs said following the game Sunday. "I am so thankful and it couldn't have come at a better time. It is exciting. I have been waiting for (a hat trick) for a while. I have had a couple of two-goal games in my career but I couldn't have pictured it any better than tonight. This was just a perfect night."
A three-time All-Conference USA selection, Riggs has 28 goals in his storied career, the fourth-most in school history. He now has 65 points in his career, the seventh-most in program annals, also ranking sixth in shots (136) and game-winning goals (seven).
The hat trick marked the first for Kentucky since Dylan Asher netted three goals in a win over FIU in 2012. It marked the third consecutive year Kentucky has had a player go for a hat trick, as Matt Lodge scored three goals in a win over IPFW in 2011.
"It was great for Riggs to get a hat trick," UK head coach Johan Cedergren said postgame on Sunday. "It just shows the kind of quality player he can be when he is really switched on. Tyler is just a couple of goals short of the all-time goal scoring record and maybe if we keep going for a while he will get there. A game like today, where he is switched on and is working really hard and is fighting for his team, there are few guys out there that are better. He is going to be huge for us going into the conference tournament."
A two-time Academic All-America selection, including a first-team honor in 2012, Riggs owns a 3.93 cumulative GPA as a mechanical engineering major. Over his career, Riggs - a preseason candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, given to the NCAA's top senior student-athlete - has shined in the community as well, with an extensive volunteer resume.
This marks the ninth weekly honor of Riggs' decorated career and his first since winning four weekly honors as a sophomore in 2011. Riggs has earned Conference USA Player of the Week twice in his career, Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week honors once each, and College Soccer News National Team of the Week honors twice, the last coming on Sept. 19, 2011. He was also named National Soccer Coaches Association National Player of the Week with a three-goal, two-game stretch to open 2011. Also named to the CSN National Team of the Week, the CSN National Player of the Week honor marked the first of his career.
Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday in its home finale, hosting Wright State at 7 p.m. ET at the UK Soccer Complex.