Kentucky Opens Home SEC Slate with MSU, Auburn
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky women's soccer team will look to snap its two-match losing streak on Friday night, as the Wildcats welcome the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers to the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex this weekend for the first full weekend of Southeastern Conference action.
UK will host Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night, with the weekend concluding on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET against Auburn. Both matches will be available on SEC Network+, the WatchESPN app, and ESPN3.com with Dave Baker and JD Stephenson calling the action live from Lexington.
Sunday's match against Auburn will mark UK's annual Kick-Cancer Match, in which UK will wear special gold jerseys in support of the research for Pediatric Cancer. The Wildcats will be auctioning off all of the jerseys following the conclusion of the match, with all the proceeds benefiting the Dance Blue Clinic at the University of Kentucky's hospital. In addition, Honda Manager of Corporate Community Relations, Erik Wedin, will be presenting Arin Gilliland with her 2014 HONDA Inspiration Award, which was given to her in Los Angeles at the formal ceremony on CBS Sports back in June. All of this will be happening in the post-match ceremony.
Kentucky lost its SEC opener last Friday night in heartbreaking 2-1 fashion at Arkansas, as the Wildcats lost their second-consecutive overtime match on the season, just a week after falling to No. 12 Pepperdine, 3-2, in UK's non-conference finale.
UK is led in offensive stats by Arin Gilliland, who in the SEC is 2nd in shots (48), 1st in shots per game (5.71), 3rd in points (14), 3rd in points per game (2.00), 2nd in assists (6) and 2nd in assists per game (0.86). In national stats released this week, Arin Gilliland is 5th in APG, 18th in PPG, 5th in total assists, and 25th in total points in the country.
Mississippi State enters the weekend 3-5-0 overall, and 0-1-0 in the conference after dropping the Magniloa Cup, 1-0, to Ole Miss on Friday night to open up the Bulldogs' SEC action. MSU has wins over Southern Miss (2-1 OT), Arkansas State (5-0) and Louisiana Tech (2-1) so far this season under the direction of second year head coach Aaron Gordon. MSU is led offensively by Shannen Jainudenn, who has five goals and one assist this season for MSU, both team high's . The Bulldogs have scored 11 goals as a team, allowing 13 on the year.
Friday will be the 16th all-time meeting between Kentucky and Mississippi State, with UK leading the series 12-3-0. UK has allowed just one MSU goal in the past three seasons. The Wildcats have scored at least two goals on MSU in every meeting since the 2005 matchup, a streak of nine consecutive matches. Kentucky has won eight of the last nine meetings between the two sides, with the lone exception being in 2009, when MSU bested UK in Starkville, in Jon Lipsitz's first season as Kentucky's head coach.
Auburn enters the weekend at 6-3-0 overall, coming off a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to No. 14 South Carolina in its conference opener on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers scored a 90th-minute equalizer before losing the match on a set piece in the 99th minute to South Carolina. AU has quality wins this season over Memphis, Minnesota, Milwaukee and UC Irvine, with a quality loss to Clemson as well in their resume. AU is led offensively by Kristen Dodson, who has two goals and six assists on the season for a team-high 10 points. The leading goal-scorer for AU is Ellie Leek, a freshman from Whales, who has three on the season, coupled with one assist. The Tigers are under the direction of 16th-year head coach Karen Hoppa.
Sunday will be the 21st all-time meeting between Auburn and Kentucky in soccer, with UK leading the series by one match, 9-8-3. The Wildcats have won the last two matchups between the two sides, and have gotten results in four of the last five fixtures. Kentucky and Auburn have played annually since SEC soccer began in 1992. Auburn has not beat Kentucky in Lexington since the 2006 season, a stretch spanning three matches.
For continuing coverage of UK women's soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.