Wildcats Drop 1-0 Match at No. 12 USC
Sept. 28, 2009
COLUMBIA, SC – The UK women's soccer team (3-4-3, 0-2-0 SEC) continued to struggle on the offensive end managing only two shots in a 1-0 loss at No. 12 South Carolina (10-0-0, 2-0-0).
UK looked more in-sync offensively in the first half than they did Friday night, earning two scoring opportunities based off of freshman Kirsten Robinson's speed.
“Kirsten is a great example of what can happen to a season when you decided to do what the team needs you to do and be coachable and play to the best of your abilities,” said UK head coach Jon Lipsitz. “Kirsten came to us unfit and not prepared to be a collegiate soccer player. But since the day she's arrived on campus she's dedicated herself to fixing those issues and prepared herself to be a player that can contribute to our success. I look forward to more great things from her in the future.”
In the 11th minute, Robinson controlled the ball and took off down the near sideline blowing past the USC defense. She fired a shot towards the near post, but Gamecock goalie Mollie Patton made a diving stop to knock the ball away resulting in a UK corner kick.
Robinson was at it again in the 19th minute when she took a pass at the top of the box, made a little move and flew to the other side of the box away from the USC defense. She centered the ball towards the goal that was knocked out by USC for another UK corner. On the ensuing corner kick, Giuleana Lopez's header went wide left of the goal.
The Gamecocks had a few opportunities in the first half, but their most serious threat came with 12:48 left in the first frame. Kira Campbell controlled the ball entering the top of the 18-yard box and split two UK defenders where she fired off a shot from about 15 yards out. However, Sydney Hiance was there to gather the ball in and preserve the scoreless tie.
South Carolina finally broke the ice in the 55th minute when Christine Watts stole the ball from Taylor Ray at mid-field and dribbled all the way to the 18-yard box where she fired a shot that knocked off the far right post and deflected in for a 1-0 USC lead. The goal was the first surrendered by UK in the second half this season.
Kentucky looked to tie the game in the 75th minute. Robinson sent a beautiful pass over the top to Lopez who centered the ball in front of the USC goal to Novikoff. However, Novikoff was just a second late getting to the spot for a header.
The Wildcats were outshot for the fifth time this season, but managed to stay in the game until the final horn.
“South Carolina is having a banner year,” said Lipsitz. “They're extremely well organized; they know who they are and they play to their strengths extremely well. Their coaches have put them in a spot where they can win these tough games 1-0. As you go through the SEC, such a competitive conference, winning games just like this define your success.”
The Cats concluded their first weekend of conference play and possibly the most difficult portion of their schedule, having played the two top ranked teams in the league.
“We have to learn from this weekend and two very difficult losses and get better,” said Lipsitz. “At the same time we went on the road to start the SEC, against two highly nationally ranked teams and we're greatly disappointed the results, but we pushed them to the limit. If we continue to do that we'll find some success.”
UK returns home next weekend to open its home portion of the SEC schedule, hosting the Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Lady Vols.