No. 19 Kentucky Downs Auburn 1-0 in SEC Opener
Sept. 20, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 19 University of Kentucky women’s soccer team picked up its seventh-straight win on Friday night, as junior Stuart Pope scored her team-high eighth goal of the season in the 28th minute to lift Kentucky past Auburn, 1-0 at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
The win for Kentucky was its first Southeastern Conference road-opening win since UK defeated LSU in 2004 and second straight conference opening victory after taking down Florida in the league lid lifter last season.
“That was obviously on the board in the locker room,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said about breaking the streak. “We talked a lot about wanting to do special things. That means we have to find ways to win.
Pope’s goal came from a rebound effort as the junior netted her eighth of the year in the 28th minute. Fellow junior Arin Gilliland had an initial shot from the right side as she made a nice near-side flank, which was stopped by Auburn keeper Alyse Scott initially. Pope, who was waiting for the rebound at the six, grabbed the ball and poked it past Scott for the game-winner.
The goal for Pope and assist from Gilliland was the fourth time in the last six matches that the duo has hooked up for a goal-assist combination. For Gilliland, she is now tied for the NCAA lead coming into Friday night’s action, as she now carries eight assists on the season.
“Our attack has a lot of fun playing together,” Lipsitz said. “They don’t really care who gets the assist, or who gets the goal. They want to find a way. We are much less structured than in any point in my tenure here. They are very creative players and I don’t want to take that from them. We want them to feel free and make their own decisions.”
Senior Kayla King recorded her fourth shutout of the season on Friday night, as she stopped all 13 of Auburn’s shots, and was forced to make six saves.
Kentucky outshot the Tigers by one shot, at a 13-12 margin, while Auburn had seven shots on goal to the Wildcats six in the match.
“You have to give complete credit to Auburn,” Lipsitz said. “They played a phenomenal game and they were very well organized. They completely disrupted our flow and took away the way we wanted to play. Having said that, we found a way to get a road win in the SEC, so I’m proud of our effort tonight.”
The win for Kentucky pushes its season-high winning streak to seven matches, which ties for the longest winning streak since the 2011 season, when UK started the season 7-0-0.
Kentucky will look to extend its winning streak to eight games on Friday night at home against the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7:30 p.m. ET. Kentucky has not won eight-straight matches since the 2000 season.
For continuing coverage of UK women’s soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.