UK Soccer Heads to Dixie
Oct. 15, 2009
LEXINGTON, KY - After enjoying four straight matches at home, the UK women's soccer team (4-6-4, 1-4-1 SEC) hits the road for two important matches in the Heart of Dixie against Alabama and Auburn.
UK enters the weekend riding the momentum gained from last weekend's upset of No. 13 LSU and tie with Arkansas, gaining the Wildcats four huge points in the SEC standings with five matches remaining. Kentucky, which currently sits in ninth in the SEC standings with four points, can make huge strides this weekend against Alabama and Auburn. The Crimson Tide also sits in ninth with four points while Auburn is seventh with six points. The top eight teams in the league advance to the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach in November. Teams earn three points for a win and one point for a tie.
"We know that every game we play is to extend our season," said Lipsitz. "We know that success or failure to reach Orange Beach is in our control. We get to play the teams we're competing against for spots and that's exciting for the players and the coaches. We continue to improve everyday and have had an excellent weekend of training."
The Wildcats head to Tuscaloosa for a Friday night match against the Crimson Tide (5-6-1, 1-3-1) where they take on an Alabama team that appears to be struggling offensively, but not from a lack of scoring opportunities.
"I've watched a lot of film on them and keep wondering how it's possible they haven't scored more goals," said UK head coach Jon Lipsitz. "They're getting in such good positions; then I start thinking of us. We see moments where we could have tapped it in goal and think how did we not score, and I think they're in a similar situation. There's a huge difference between teams that aren't scoring because they're not getting into certain situations and teams that aren't scoring simply because of bad luck, or bad bounces, or very close misses and that's Alabama. They've been all over the goal; I've watched them dominate teams in possession all around the box and just be missing that touch. We know that while they've struggled to score that at any moment they can put three in in five minutes and it's going to happen to somebody, we just want to do our best to keep it from being against us."
Lipsitz said the Tide is able to generate their opportunities because of their ability to possess the ball and circulate it through their midfield.
While Kentucky is having difficulty putting the ball in the back of the net, the Wildcats have no issues on the defensive side of the ball, where they've registered a 0.60 goals-against-average, which ranks 21st in the nation.
Junior goalie Sydney Hiance ranks third in the SEC and 22nd nationally with a 0.60 GAA and her .837 save percentage is 34th in the country.
Offensively, Giuleana Lopez leads the Wildcats in virtually every offensive category, including points (8), goals (3), shots (33) and game-winning goals (2).
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Alabama 8-3-1 and is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings. UK also holds a 50-22-8 all-time mark against teams from the SEC West division.
UK and Bama are set for an 8:00 p.m. ET kickoff. Live stats and blog will be available at UKathletics.com.