Women's Soccer Ends Season in Sweet 16 For First Time Ever

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The best season in University of Kentucky women's soccer history came to an end on Sunday afternoon at Klöckner Stadium, as the Wildcats capped off a 16-7-1 season, which included the program's first-ever birth in the NCAA Sweet 16, as well as an appearance in the Southeastern Conference Championship match for the first time since 2006.

"First off, congratulations to Steve (Swanson) and Virginia. What they have built here is incredible, and they are a fantastic team. We lost 7-0, but I am still so proud of this team and what we have accomplished this season. To get to this point was something that we have never done before, and now the three seniors that are with me have set a new standard for this program. We had a great season, and congratulations to Virginia on a great game today and we wish them the best during the rest of the tournament."

Virginia with the win moves on to play the winner of the UCLA/Pepperdine match on Saturday afternoon for a spot in the 2014 NCAA Women's College Cup in Boca Raton, Fla.

The class of 2014 will go out as the winningest class in UK women's soccer history, collecting an overall record of 59-27-4 in its four years in the Blue and White. The class that consists of Arin Gilliland, Emma Brown, Stuart Pope and Maddie Lockridge made the NCAA Tournament all four years in Lexington, including picking up the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament win in 2012 to push the Wildcats to the second round for the first time in program history.

The senior class also won five All-Southeastern Conference honors, a SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award, a Honda Award, three All-SEC Tournament honors, and contributed over 100 hours of community service to the Lexington area.

The 2014 season will go down as unquestionably the best in program history, as the Wildcats not only advanced past the NCAA Tournament second round for the first time in program history, but also beat three ranked teams in No. 4 Florida, No. 21 South Carolina and No. 22 Georgia, with the win over the Bulldogs coming on the road.

Kentucky finished out the 2014 season winning nine of its last 11 matches, including all three of the ranked wins that were aforementioned.

With the end of the season comes the end of the career of Arin Gilliland, the greatest player in University of Kentucky women's soccer history. In her illustrious four-year career, Gilliland played over 7,000 minutes on the field, scored 30 goals, had 25 assists for 85 career points. Gilliland set new UK records with 278 shots, with 81 of them coming on goal, and a new UK-record eight career game-winning goals.

Gilliland also leaves Lexington with a full trophy case, as she was named All-SEC four times, SEC All-Tournament Team in 2014, the Honda Inspiration Award winner in 2014, a two-time, and soon-to-be three-time All-American, seven-time SEC Player of the Week, two-time team captain, two-time MAC Hermann Award finalist, and much more. Gilliland has spent time on the United States U23 Women's National Team, and is soon to get looks to the full team. She is projected right now to be a top-five pick in January's National Women's Soccer League College Draft, where she will start her professional soccer career in the spring with a club.

The future looks nothing but up for the UK women's soccer team under Lipsitz, as the Wildcats return eight of 11 starters next year, including the entirety of UK's midfield of Courtney Raetzman, Kaitlin Miller and Kelly Novak. The Wildcats will return three of its four backline players, with Cara Ledman, Alex Carter and Olivia Jester all coming back in the Blue and White.

Virginia scored three goals in the first half, including two from MAC Hermann Award winner Morgan Brian, and added another four tallies in the second half to claim the 7-0 win on Sunday night in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers, ranked No. 2 nationally, will advance to play (1) UCLA or (4) Pepperdine on Saturday for a spot in the College Cup.

For continuing coverage of UK women's soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.