Women's Soccer Celebrates Senior Night

Oct. 28, 2010

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Lipsitz Pre-Match Interview | Senior Interviews | Live blog

LEXINGTON, Ky. - As if celebrating Senior Night wasn't incentive enough for the UK women's soccer team (9-7-2, 3-5-3), the Wildcats are in a must-win situation in order to qualify for the SEC Tournament at Orange Beach, Ala., next week.

Prior to the start of Friday's match against Vanderbilt (8-8-2, 4-4-2), Kentucky will send off its three seniors Kelly Browning, Sydney Hiance and Laura Novikoff.

"I'm so proud of them, not just for what they've done on the field, but even more so for their development as human beings and what they've done off the field," UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "They've been tremendous leaders on the field and they've all played extremely well. More than that, they've really worked hard to leave a legacy; they've worked hard to do things with our culture that five and 10 years from now we'll see the difference because of them. That's a huge part of them, the seniors serving the younger players, not the other way around and they've done a good job with that."

Then it will be down to business for the Cats who must win in order to make it to postseason play. A win guarantees UK a spot, but anything other than that will keep them at home. Kentucky can finish as high fifth in the league with the victory and other teams around the conference losing.

While there's added pressure for this match, Lipsitz is extremely pleased with how his charges have kept their composure throughout the week.

"It's been our best week of training, it's really been fantastic," Lipsitz said. "I think there are a lot of times as you get deeper into the year, the teams get tired and it seems like the same old thing every day and the team isn't excited. I feel like we're still just starting the season. We've been out here for months and it's getting better and better every day. I guess that's what you want. You want to see the development from one day to the next. I'm so happy with our training for this week."

The Commodores enter off a devastating loss to Ole Miss on Sunday. The Commodores jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, but then yield three straight goals to the Rebels, dropping a 3-2 match. But Lipsitz admits that while his Cats are prepared for what Vandy will throw at them, his team is more concerned about themselves.

"We're really worrying about ourselves," Lipsitz said. "We've given them a scout on Vanderbilt but very little, we're spending most of the time worrying about ourselves. We've got to be dynamic in the attack; we've spent a lot of time on that. If we get the ball down on the floor and we play and we knock it around, we can be pretty special and that's one of the things we've worked hard on this week. We just want to have fun and go to goal as many times as possible, score as many goals as possible. We love to attack and obviously we care about our defense, but the reason we defend is to then go forward. We want to have some fun in this game, the last home game for these seniors, and advance." The Wildcats are led offensively by junior Kelsey Hunyadi who has a team best 14 points off a team high seven goals. Freshman Caitlin Landis is right on Hunyadi's heels with 13 points on six goals and an assist. The Cats will also look to get some offensive help from Browning who has scored her first collegiate points this season off a pair of assists.

Defensively, Hiance and Novikoff have helped the Cats record six shutouts on the season. Hiance, who ranks second in UK history in shutouts (20), saves (274) and minutes played (5947:01) and fourth in GAA (1.24), recorded a shutout in her first match against the Commodores in 2007 that helped catapult the Wildcats to the SEC Tournament.

Novikoff, who spent her first three years on the front line, was moved to the backline at the beginning of the year where she has blossomed. She's rediscovered her scoring touch of late, netting three goals in her last two matches, including two against Mississippi State.

Vanderbilt leads the all-time series between the two schools, 12-11-0 and curiously enough the two teams have never played to a tie. Kentucky has won three of the last four in the series and eight of the last 10.

Kickoff is set for 7:04 p.m. ET and all the action will be televised live on Fox Sports South (FSS). Senior Night festivities will begin approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the match. Live stats and blog will also be available at UKathletics.com.