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KSR Today: Happy Mother’s Day, BBN

4 min read
KSR Today: Happy Mother’s Day, BBN

Good morning, folks! And a Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms and motherly figures of the Big Blue Nation. It’s been a busy weekend so far in Lexington for UK Athletics, and it won’t be slowing down as we dip into Sunday. Let’s dive right into today’s must-know news and notes.

Men’s tennis back in the Elite 8

For the second straight season, Kentucky men’s tennis is on to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8. The Wildcats took down traditional tennis powerhouse Stanford 4-3 on Saturday in Lexington, KY. Nearly 1,000 fans showed up at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, setting a new program record for highest attendance.

UK will now head off to Orlando, FL in hopes of bringing back some championship hardware after coming up just one win short of a title a season ago. This will be the sixth Elite 8 appearance in school history.

Court 1 – No. 67 Joshua Lapadat/JJ Mercer (UK) vs. Banerjee/Fery (STAN) 5-3 (unfinished) 
Court 2 – Chaudhary/Kolasinski (STAN) def. Taha Baadi/Christophe Clement 6-2 
Court 3 – Basavareddy/Rajesh (STAN) def. Liam Draxl/Jaden Weekes (UK) 6-2 

Court 1 – No. 3 Arthur Fery (STAN) def. No. 13 Liam Draxl (UK) 6-4, 7-6 (6) 
Court 2 – No. 18 Alafia Ayeni (UK) def. No. 56 Samir Banerjee (STAN) 6-1, 6-1 
Court 3 – No. 59 Joshua Lapadat (UK) def.  No. 15 Nishesh Basvareddy 6-4, 6-2 
Court 4 – Taha Baadi (UK) def. Neel Rajesh (STAN) 6-3, 6-4 
Court 5 – Filip Kolasinski (STAN) def. Jaden Weekes (UK) 6-4, 7-6 (5) 
Court 6 – Charlelie Cosnet (UK) def. Aryan Chaudhary (STAN) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 

Order of Finish: 
Doubles—2, 3 
Singles—2, 4, 3, 1, 5, 6 

Kentucky’s next opponent? The defending champion Virginia Cavaliers, which bested UK by a dominant score of 4-0 in the national finals last year. That match is set for Thursday, May 18 at 5:00 p.m. EST. The Elite 8 will be streamed live on Playsight, with commentary on the Cracked Racquets YouTube Channel. The Semifinals and Final will be televised live on Tennis Channel. You can view the entire bracket here.

Kentucky football adds another NIU transfer

Daveren Rayner is officially a ‘Cat. The Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central product committed to the Kentucky coaching staff during his official visit in Lexington on Saturday.

Rayner (6-3, 205) entered the transfer portal on April 28 and ended his time as a free agent just over two weeks later. The linebacker took an official visit to Cincinnati last week before deciding to commit to the Wildcats. A former low three-star recruit, Rayner recorded 118 tackles over his three years in the MAC with seven pass breakups, two interceptions, and two blocked kicks. The transfer was an All-State performer in high school who picked NIU over Ball State, Central Michigan, and Miami (OH).

BBN what’s good!? I’m home!!

— Daveren (@d9veren) May 13, 2023

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Make that 2 new transfer additions

The Big Blue Wall also received some added depth on Saturday in the form of West Virginia transfer Dylan Ray, a walk-on offensive lineman who played 32 offensive snaps for the Mountaineers as a redshirt freshman in 2022.

Clocking in at 6-5, 293 pounds, Ray is a development piece for offensive line coach Zach Yenser. Prior to his time at WVU, Ray was named offensive line MVP as a senior at Noblesville (IN) High, helping lead the Millers to the Class 6A sectional playoffs. He was a multiple-year starter and letter-winner for his school.

Now, he’s a ‘Cat.

First off I want to thank West Virginia University, Coach Joseph and Coach Moore for everything they have done for me throughout the past 2 years.

With that being said I am happy to announce my commitment to University of Kentucky!!! #BBN

— Dylan Ray (@dylanray22) May 13, 2023

Bat ‘Cats look to avoid sweep

Nick Mingione’s squad has now dropped both games to No. 23 Tennessee on the road this weekend in similar fashion. The first came in a 10-6 defeat on Friday that saw Kentucky fail in its attempt to come back from an 8-1 hole. The second game saw almost the exact same script, with the Wildcats once again going down in an 8-1 hole. But the end result was still the same as UK lost again, only this time with seven runs brought in instead of just six.

The ‘Cats made it a one-run game after back-to-back three-run innings in the sixth and seventh, but the Vols immediately responded with a two-run bottom of the seventh to extend the lead back to three, sealing the 10-7 victory in game two.

Following Saturday’s game, Kentucky and Tennessee now sit at 14-12 in the SEC, with the Vols holding the advantage due to a tiebreaker. A series sweep could possibly be detrimental to the ‘Cats, knocking them all the way to an eight- or nine-seed line. Avoiding a sweep on Sunday would be instrumental, as the ‘Cats may just lose their chance at a Regional with a weekend sweep.

Sunday’s final game of the series is set for 1:00 p.m. EST on the SEC Network.

Softball Selection Sunday

After getting knocked out of the SEC Tournament in just one game, Kentucky softball now turns to the NCAA Tournament, where head coach Rachel Lawson’s group is expected to earn one of the 32 at-large bids. They’ll find out for sure later on Sunday once the 2023 NCAA Softball Selection Show begins at 7:00 p.m. EST on ESPN2.

The Wildcats earned the No. 9 seed in the SEC Tournament but fell (after many weather delays) in their opening-round matchup to No. 8 Florida earlier this week by a score of 6-2. Kentucky will head into the NCAA Tournament sporting a 30-20-1 overall record with a 10-14 mark in the SEC.

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