Parker's Clean Sheet, Raetzman's Two Goals Power UK Past MSU
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky women's soccer team got two goals from junior Courtney Raetzman, and a goal from MAC Hermann Award finalist Arin Gilliland, as well as a first-career clean sheet from sophomore Ayanna Parker in her first-career start, as UK collected a 3-0 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Friday night at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.
"I was pleased with our possession overall," UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "I thought that our back line continued playing the way that they have been, which is very good defensively, but also setting a lot of play for us. I think it's the first time in a while that once we started getting some control of the game, we kept it. I really respect the way Mississippi State plays. They're trying to knock around like we are and it was nice to play a game where we knew that's what the game was going to be like because there's so many different styles. Not right or wrong, but so many different styles. I think it was a game that will help us both down the road, for sure."
Kentucky (6-3-0, 1-1-0 SEC) got on the board first in the 16th minute as Raetzman, the Elk Grove, Ill., native scored her third goal of the season to put UK ahead 1-0 in the match. Raetzman was fed a through ball from the top-center of the box out to the left flank, and finished it far post, past a diving Tanya de Souza to her left to put UK ahead early. The ball to the flank came from Michaela Dooley, who collected her team-high sixth assist of the season, as well as Stuart Pope, who won the ball out of midfield and played it to Dooley at the top of the box.
The teams went into the locker room with UK hoisting a 1-0 advantage, but controlling the stats and the run of play for a large majority of the half. The Wildcats held a 10-2 edge in shots and 5-0 lead in shots on goal through the opening 45 minutes of play.
Before the hour mark, Kentucky would double its lead in the 51st minute as Gilliland would score her team-high fifth goal of the season to put UK ahead 2-0. Gilliland was served a ball from junior Cara Ledman off of a set piece from the left-hand side, where Gilliland was virtually unmarked in the box and took a high swing at the ball and poked it past de Souza above her outstretched arms to the high side and into the back of the net.
UK would seal its first three points of the Southeastern Conference season in the 76th minute as Raetzman scored her second of the match, and fourth of the season off of a Stuart Pope rebound to put UK up 3-0 and put the match away.
Kentucky finished with a 19-3 edge in shots and 8-0 edge in shots on goal for the match. Friday night's 3-o win marked a career-high tying two-goal match for Raetzman, who tied career-highs in goals (2) and points (4) which were both set back on Sept. 23, 2012 at LSU, when she scored both of UK's goals, including an overtime winner in a 2-1 win over the Tigers on the Bayou.
Parker, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native, got her first-career shutout on Friday night in her first-career start for the Wildcats. The sophomore was not forced to make a save in the match, but recorded her first-career win.
"Well, she had a lot of organizing to do. I've said many times for a goalkeeper, you may not be physically exhausted at the end of the game, but you should be mentally exhausted," Lipsitz said. "You have to see everything, you have to be in tune with everything and she was in tune with the team and really took control right away. That doesn't happen because today on this field she decided to play. It's because she trains so hard every day. We train so that every player is ready and if a player can't play or isn't chosen to play we just say next and the next person should step up and be ready. And she was ready."
Kentucky next takes the pitch on Sunday afternoon at 6 p.m. ET against the Auburn Tigers. The match will be UK's annual Kick-Cancer Match, and Gilliland will be presented with her Honda Inspiration Award by Honda representatives, as well as UK administrators in the post-match ceremony. Sunday's fixture will be broadcast on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
For continuing coverage of UK women's soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.