Women's Soccer Into SEC Tournament Final With 3-2 Win
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team defeated the 10th-seeded Tennessee Lady Vols on Friday night, 3-2 after scoring the first three goals of the match, to advance into the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship game on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
“I am so incredibly proud of this team,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “It has been so fun to coach this group and see the players develop into such a great team the last few weeks, and all the credit goes to them. We are excited about the opportunity to play Texas A&M in the championship match on Sunday. They have shown to be the best team all year in the SEC and we have a great challenge in front of us. To be able to be in the SEC Tournament finals on the first year of the new SEC Network is very special, and something we do not take lightly.”
Kentucky jumped out to a 3-0 lead 63 minutes into the match with goals from three different players, as Kelli Hubly, Arin Gilliland and Kaitlin Miller all got on the scoresheet to put the Wildcats ahead by three goals early on.
The Lady Vols, who scored three unanswered goals vs. Alabama on Monday to advance into the quarterfinals on Wednesday, would then score two goals through New Zealand international player, Hannah Wilkinson, in the 75th and 86th minute to decrease the UK lead to 3-2.
The Wildcats would then hold on tight defensively in the waning minutes of the matches as UK would seal up the 3-2 win and lock up UK’s spot in the 2014 SEC Tournament Championship match for the first time since the 2006 season.
Hubly’s goal was scored 27 minutes into the match as Cara Ledman served in a beautiful and dangerous ball to the top of the six-yard box where Kelli Hubly deflected the ball from the right side into the back left of the goal after Tennessee goalkeeper Jamie Simmons fumbled it and allowed it into the net.
The goal for Hubly was her second of the SEC Tournament, after scoring the game-winning goal against the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday afternoon. Hubly’s goal was her third of the season.
Lexington, Ky., native Arin Gilliland scored in the 31st minute on one of the Wildcats most quality goals of the season to put UK up 2-0. Gilliland’s goal was served in from Kaitlin Miller about 35 yards from goal from the right-hand side who played a teasing ball into the box and was finished by Gilliland to the goalkeepers right.
Emma Brown nearly made it 3-0 in the 37th minute as she followed up a Courtney Raetzman bomb from long-range and Brown crashed the goal for a rebound and finished it to the far post, but was whistled for being offside.
In the second half, Zoe Swift was pressuring the UT back line very high and created a turnover along the wide backs that then led to a 1v1 running battle into the box. Swift was then taken down in the box, giving the Wildcats a penalty in the 64th minute already leading 2-0.
Kaitlin Miller, who already had an assist in the match, stepped up and nailed the penalty to the goalkeepers left to put the Wildcats ahead 3-0.
Tennessee would score two times in the last 30 minutes to close the deficit, but UK would hold on.
The win for the Kentucky is its eighth-straight win. UK advances to the SEC Tournament Championship match on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET with the match being televised live on ESPNU with Glenn Davis and former United States Women’s National Team member Julie Foudy on the call.
For continuing coverage of UK women’s soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.