Clutch Penalties Push Kentucky Into Second Round of NCAA's
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Four clutch penalties from the University of Kentucky women's soccer team and two missed spot kicks from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in a penalty shootout was the difference on Saturday night, as the third-seeded Kentucky Wildcats went four-for-four from the spot in the shootout to escape 4-2 over the Cougars and advance into next weekend's second round of the 2014 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament.
Kentucky advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third year running, a new program record. UK will face Arizona State on Friday at 3 p.m. ET in Charlottesville, Va., as the University of Virginia Cavilers will host the regional.
After the 110 minutes had been played, the match went into a penalty shootout, where the Wildcats' freshman goalkeeper Taylor Braun came up with a save in the fourth round of penalties to deny SIUE after a previous miss from the Cougars.
Kentucky shot first in the shootout, as senior Arin Gilliland stepped up and powered her shot into the left-side upper-90 to give the Wildcats the early 1-0 lead. SIUE forward Michelle Auer then was next for SIUE, who sailed her shot over the net and wide right to give UK the early leg-up.
The Wildcats would hold serve in the second round as both Kaitlin Miller (UK) and Rachael Brots made their spot kicks to make it 2-1 UK after two rounds.
UK's Cara Ledman stepped up and nailed her penalty just right of center to hold UK at three-for-three overall and forcing SIUE to climb out of a 1-3 hole. The Cougars' Cory Levels stepped up and froze Braun in the middle on her line, as she scored to Braun's right to make it 3-2.
Sophomore Michaela Dooley scored to the goalkeepers' right for the Wildcats, as UK took the 4-2 lead in the shootout's fourth round, before Braun came up big. The Colleyville, Texas, native then took a shot from SIUE's Cassidy Sherman, who placed it just to the left of the center line, and Braun stayed on her line, and block saved it to her left, clinching the match for the Wildcats, as UK won the shootout, 4-2.
Kentucky absolutely dominated the match from start to finish, outshooting the Cougars 31-4 overall in the match, including an 18-1 edge in the second half in shots. In shots on goal, the Wildcats outshot the Cougars 9-3, in which UK put two of its six shots on frame.
UK's best chance to score in the match from the run of play was off of a corner kick at the end of regulation, as Kaitlin Miller swung in a ball from the right side, on one of Kentucky's season-high 17 corner kicks and the ball then found the head of senior Arin Gilliland, who placed it right at the keeper, who made a fantastic save to her right keeping the Wildcats off the scoresheet.
In addition, the Wildcats had two shots that were saved off the line by the Cougars on shots that were destined for the back of the net.
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