Soccer Scores 3-1 Upset over Crimson Tide

Oct. 15, 2010

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Lipsitz Postmatch Interview

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind three second-half goals, including the first of the year from senior defender Laura Novikoff and freshman Natalie Starr, the University of Kentucky women's soccer team (8-6-1, 2-4-1 Southeastern Conference) posted a 3-1 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-4-2, 3-2-2 SEC) at the UK Soccer Complex on Friday.

The Wildcats and the Tide went into the locker room at halftime in a scoreless tie before the UK offense arose, scoring three goals in the final 45 minutes. Novikoff and Starr were joined in the scoring column by freshman forward Caitlin Landis. Landis started the action in the 55th minute with her fifth goal of the year. After Novikoff headed a perfectly placed corner kick in the back of the net to give UK a 2-0 lead, Alabama bounced back, getting a goal from Victoria Frederick. Kentucky would put the game away when Starr netted the ball in the back of the net off a rebound.

"First off this win was dedicated to Christopher Ray (brother of UK junior Taylor Ray), who was wounded yesterday in Afghanistan," said UK head coach Jon Lipsitz. "Tonight was a tremendous effort and we won a game. While that's special, it's nothing compared to the dedication of our troops and what they do for this country and the families of those troops. This win was for him and the entire Ray family.

"I have to credit Alabama, I thought they had tremendous possession in the early part of the game," said Lipsitz. "I didn't think we were shifting well enough to handle their attack, but we made some adjustments at halftime and I'm really proud of our players. They really took all of our adjustments and did a tremendous job."

The win was important for the Wildcats with regards to the SEC standings, as the top eight teams in the league make it to the SEC Tournament.

"It's huge. You need to get points in whenever you can. You want to defend your home turf and i'm proud of the players. We have been decimated by injuries and we can sit here and whine about the crutches on the sideline and the players out but we didn't. What happened was all of our girls played their best."

Kentucky now has seven points with four matches to play.

Alabama had an opportunity in the 23rd minute, but a handball in the box negated the opportunity. Sydney Hiance came off her line to pull in a loose ball. As she made a diving attempt on the ball, a Bama attacker kicked at the ball, dislodging it from Hiance's grip. Victoria Frederick controlled and fired a shot at the open goal, but Novikoff was there to save it away. In the ensuing scramble for the ball, the Crimson Tide was whistled for a hand ball.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute on Landis' goal. Hiance punted the ball just over the midfield stripe, where Danielle Krohn chipped the ball over the Alabama defense. Landis ran the ball down and fired a shot to the right of Alabama goalie Justine Bernier for the score and the Wildcat lead.

UK doubled its lead four minutes later on Novikoff's first goal of the season. Alabama was whistled for a foul just outside the right of the 18-yard box. Alyssa Telang took the free kick and chipped a shot in front of the Alabama box where Novikoff rose above the crowd and sent a header in for the 2-0 Wildcat lead.

Bama cut the lead in half in the 75th minute when Frederick got her third goal of the season off three straight shots on goal. Frederick chased down a ball over the UK defense, fired a shot that Hiance deflected. Frederick gathered the rebound and fired another shot that Hiance deflected as well. Frederick got the rebound a second time and took her third straight shot, out of the reach of Hiance for the goal.

UK pushed its lead back to two at 3-1 in the 81st minute on Starr's goal. Starr took a shot from six yards out that Bernier knocked right back to Starr, who lobbed a shot over the Bama keeper just under the crossbar for the score.The win pushed Kentucky's all-time mark against Alabama to 9-4-1. It was the most goals by UK in SEC play this season and the most goals for the Cats against the Tide since the 2006 season.

The Cats close out weekend action Sunday, hosting the Auburn Tigers in the first of a Kentucky soccer doubleheader at the UK Soccer Complex. The Cats and Tigers are scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff followed by the UK men's team against Memphis at 3:30 p.m.

UK Post Match Notes•Sydney Hiance moved to second all-time among UK goalies for minutes played, pushing her career total to 5647.•Caitlin Landis' goal gave her five on the season, ninth most by a UK freshman in program history.•Natalie Starr tallied her first career goal, while Laura Novikoff scored her first of the season.•UK is now 52-27-8 all-time against the SEC West.