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Link: Gilliland growing stronger with every test of spirit

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In less than two seasons, Arin Gilliland has become one of the best players on an ascendant Kentucky women's soccer team. Over that time, she's also dealt with more than her share of trying circumstances.

The story of her mother's battle with cancer and her coach's plan to recruit her to Kentucky has been told here before, but on Thursday, Mark Maloney from the Lexington Herald-Leader told her story. It talks about how Gilliland has persevered through her mother's passing and reconstructive knee surgery, and how she's only become a better person and player through it all.

Here's an except:

Gilliland, a sophomore from Wilmore, has helped UK to an 8-3-1 start (3-2-1 Southeastern Conference). An outside back, she is tied for second on the team with 10 points (three goals, four assists).

Her path has not been smooth.

Never mind a torn ACL last year.

About the time Lipsitz was interviewing with UK is when Gilliland's mother, Letita, was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Soon, the cancer spread, taking her life last April.

Arin brought Letita plenty of joy, though.

Rising from second-team all-state as a freshman at West Jessamine, Arin finished her high school career as an All-American and Kentucky's Miss Soccer.

With her mother's health failing, Arin chose to graduate from high school a half-year early.

"We weren't sure of the time frame she had, and I really wanted her to be able to come here and see me play a few games," Arin said. "Because that's what she's always dreamed of. She's always talked about 'I want to be able to watch you play college soccer' and all that. She always thought I was going to go to like UCLA. ... I decided to come here for her."

Link: Gilliland growing stronger with every test of spirit


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