Wildcats Begin SEC Play With No. 13 Florida, Undefeated Miss. St.

Sept. 13, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off a weekend in which the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team knocked off No. 12 Louisville in its road opener, UK now turns its attention to Southeastern Conference play as the Wildcats open up against No. 13 Florida and undefeated Mississippi State at the UK Soccer Complex on Friday and Sunday. The Cats and Gators will play Friday at 7:00 p.m., while the Bulldogs will collide with UK at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

“Our attitude is, ‘let’s get after it’,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said about the SEC opening slate of games. “That’s the attitude that we have to have. We have great respect for Florida. They are the team to beat in the conference. They have been for many, many years. They play an ingressive style that is very possession oriented and they try to score a lot of goals. They are a great attacking team.”

The Gators come in with a 3-2-1 record and have tallied wins in its last two games against New Mexico and Florida International. Under the direction of head coach Becky Burleigh, the Gators have played a strong schedule, including games with North Carolina, Miami (FL), Florida State and Duke. Florida is led by Erika Tymrak and Havana Solaun, who have each tallied two goals in the opening six games of the season.

Florida leads the all-time series with the Wildcats 18-2-2, including victories in each of the last six meetings with UK. The last time the Cats captured a win over the Gators was in the 2006 SEC Championship game. This is the fourth-consecutive season the Cats and Gators have faced off in the opening weekend of SEC play.

“What we have to do is possess the ball better than we have in the past. I think it is a good challenge to find out where we are today,” Lipsitz said.

Kentucky will then play host to Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs come in undefeated in their non-conference schedule, tallying a 7-0-0 record. MSU has scored 19 goals through seven games and only allowed three. Head coach Neil Macdonald is in his ninth year at the reigns of the Bulldogs. Kentucky leads the all-time series with Mississippi State 10-3-0, including a 6-1 record over the last seven meetings. Last season, UK used a Kelsey Hunyadi PK to power past MSU 2-0 in Starkville.

Sunday will also serve as the ‘Kick Cancer Match’ for 2012. One dollar from every ticket purchased will go towards cancer research in the pediatric unit. In addition, similar to 2011, Lipsitz will address the crowd in a post-match ceremony that will include laying flowers in the mouth of the goal.

The Wildcats enter the weekend with a 5-1 overall record after the non-conference season. The Cats have had great defense all season, only allowing more than one goal in one game. UK has used set pieces to do its damage as senior Natalie Horner and junior Ashley VanLandingham have both notched game-winning goals off set pieces so far in 2012.

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