Women’s Soccer Opens 2016 UK Athletics Calendar Year at LBSU

LONG BEACH, California. – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team will open the 2016 season on the west coast, as the Wildcats will kick off the year with a match against Long Beach State along the California coastlines at 10 p.m. ET from the LBSU Soccer Complex on Friday night in the Golden State.

Live stats for the match will be available on UKathletics.com and LongBeachState.com during the match. There will be no video service available.

UK had one preseason match, a 2-0 win over the Pitt Panthers in Lexington. The Wildcats got two goals from junior Tanya Samarzich, one a half, en route to the shutout win at The Bell. The shutout was recorded by both freshman goalkeeper, Evangeline Soucie, in addition to senior net minder, Ayanna Parker, who recorded a save in the match, her only shot faced in 13 minutes of action.

The Wildcats return plenty of goal-scoring threats for 2016, with Jade Klump returning up top as a senior, in addition to Samarzich, who is a member of the full Mexican National Team. In the midfield, the key to the season might be replacing All-SEC performer, Courtney Raetzman, who is now with the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League. Junior Katy Keen and senior Kaitlin Miller will look to use their experience to keep the midfield going this season, as both are veterans of Southeastern Conference play.

UK returns three of four starters on the back line, anchored by senior captain Alex Carter and wideback Kelly Novak along the left side. Both Novak and Carter have played along the backline the last two seasons, and have developed a strong chemistry between them.

In net, Kentucky started goalkeeper Evangeline Soucie in its exhibition match on Saturday night, but both her and senior Ayanna Parker saw time, and that competition has been going on all preseason. Soucie was named to the 2016 TopDrawerSoccer.com All-SEC Freshman Preseason Team, the only UK player on the roster

Kentucky opened the 2014 season, which turned out to be the best year in program history, on the west coast - spending the opening weekend of the season against Washington (L, 1-4) and at Seattle University (W, 2-1, OT) to start that season. In 2014, the Wildcats went on to the 2014 NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 with tournament wins over Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and Arizona State before falling to eventual College Cup member, Virginia in the Sweet 16. That was the first time in program history that Kentucky opened up the season in the pacific time zone.

Kentucky has never played Long Beach State before in program history. The 49ers made it to the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament qualifying as an at-large team out of the Big West. LBSU lost to Santa Clara on the road in the opening round.

Match Day 1 - @ Long Beach State

Live Stats: http://bit.ly/2aZtcph

Live Video: http://bit.ly/2bwqwgC

For the latest on the Kentucky women’s soccer team, follow @UKWomensSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.