Kentucky Hosts Two Ranked Teams in Home Opening Weekend
LEXINGTON, Kentucky – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team will open its 2016 home slate of matches this weekend at the Bell Soccer Complex. On Thursday night, UK will play the No. 23 South Florida Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET in its home opener before a Sunday weekend cap off against the No. 25 Northwestern Wildcats out of the Big 10 on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.
Both games can be seen live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Neil Price (pxp) and Stuart Pope (color) calling the matches.
Thursday’s match against No. 23 South Florida will feature free pizza for all UK students that are in attendance for the match. Sunday’s promotion is “Dollar Dog Sunday”, where fans can bring well-behaved dogs on a leash and get in for $1.
Kentucky went on the road to start the 2016 season and went 0-1-1 with a result at Long Beach State in a 1-1 draw to open the season, before suffering a 3-0 loss to the Pepperdine Waves in Malibu. Katy Keen scored Kentucky’s only goal of the weekend in the 30th minute against Long Beach State to put UK up 1 0 before LBSU equalized a few minutes later and hung on for a draw.
The Wildcats went with freshman goalkeeper Evangeline Soucie in net for both games, as she made two great saves on Friday night, and one great save as part of her two in Sunday’s match. This marks the third time in the last four seasons that UK is starting the season with a true freshman in goal.
Kentucky has had a great deal of success in home openers, having gone 6-0-1 under Jon Lipsitz, and unbeaten in the last 18 years - since 1997 in a home opener. Last year, UK beat Sweet 16 team Washington on opening night 1-0 off a Courtney Raetzman direct corner kick.
South Florida enters the weekend 2-0-0 on the year with wins over Louisiana Monroe (2-0) and Florida International (3-2, OT). The Bulls are coming off of a 15-4-3 season a year ago that saw them advance to the championship match of the 2015 AAC Tournament, and the first round of the NCAA Tournament, where they were upset at home by Florida Gulf Coast. This weekend’s matchup marks the first all time meeting between UK and South Florida.
Northwestern is 2-0-0 on the year with two wins on opening weekend against VCU (1-0) and James Madison (3-0). The Wildcats pitched shutouts in both matches, behind goalkeeper Lauren Clem. Clem was only forced to make two saves in NU’s 3-0 win on Sunday over James Madison. This weekend’s matchup marks the sixth all-time meeting between UK and Northwestern. The two teams first met in 1996 in Lexington 20 years ago, as UK won 1-0. Kentucky leads the all-time series with Northwestern 4-1 with the team’s last meeting coming in 2006, when UK won 2-1 in overtime. UK leads the all-time goals count with NU 10-5, and is 2-0-0 against the Wildcats at home.
Match Day 3 – vs. #23 South Florida (SEC Network+, ESPN3, WatchESPN app)
7:30 p.m. ET, Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex
Match Day 4 – vs. #25 Northwestern (SEC Network+, ESPN3, WatchESPN app)
1 p.m. ET, Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s soccer team, follow @UKWomensSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.