Gilliland's Career-Best Match Leads UK Past No. 10 West Virginia
Sept. 15, 2013
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - The University of Kentucky women's soccer team got a career-best game from junior Arin Gilliland on Sunday afternoon, as the Lexington, Ky., native struck for two goals and two assists for a six-point match as the Wildcats rocked the No. 10 West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown, 4-2.
"I learned that what we have been working on everyday, and our commitment to being a possession and attacking team are continuing to get better," UK head coach Jon Lipstiz said. "I thought that we were ready from the opening whistle to press when we pressed, and to attack with numbers. This is a great win for our program and the goals that we have."
Gilliland wasted no time in scoring, as she scored just 10 seconds into the match, capitalizing on a WVU defensive miscue off the kickoff. The ball was played to Gilliland who then rifled a shot from atop the outside box past the keeper to the right. The goal for Gilliland was her second of the year in the first minute.
Kentucky (6-1-1, 0-0-0 SEC) added to its lead in the 23rd minute when junior Stuart Pope notched her team-high seventh goal of the season, giving UK the 2-0 lead. Gilliland played Pope a ball into the central defense, in which she ran on, took a touch and split two defenders to score.
West Virginia (4-2-2, 0-0-0 Big XII) answered in the first half and to close the gap to 2-1 on a goal from leading scorer Kate Schwindel. The ball was stolen from the UK defense and she went low-left of UK goalie Kayla King for the goal.
After the halftime break, Kentucky came out on fire offensively, as freshman Zoe Swift rifled a ball from 25 yards out into the back of the net to re-up Kentucky's lead to 3-1. Swift's sixth tally of the season was a long strike in which she was played a ball from Gilliland. Swift took a few touches around the box and launched the goal to give UK the 3-1 edge.
"I actually said at the half to (UK associate head coach) Michelle (Rayner) that we needed four goals," Lipsitz said. "We understand that as soon as we scored the third goal in the second half, it gave us the opportunity to sit in and defend long-range. Once we got up 3-1, we weren't going to expose ourselves."
UK put the game away in the 66th minute when Swift was taken down inside the box, earning a penalty for Kentucky. Gilliland stepped up and calmly knocked in her second goal of the match and third of the season to the keeper's right. The goal for Gilliland was her second penalty of the season, as she is now 2-2 on the year in penalty tries.
The win for Kentucky is its first over a ranked team on the year and the first win over a top-10 team in the Lipsitz era. After starting the season 0-1-1, UK has rattled off six-straight wins leading into Southeastern Conference play.
Kentucky ended up scoring on all four of the shots on goal it recorded, while only allowing WVU to record five shots on goal in the match.
Kayla King continued to impress in the net, as the Louisville, Ky., native picked up her sixth win of the season to move to 6-1-1 on the year. King was only forced to make three saves on the afternoon.
The six-straight wins for Kentucky is the most since the 2011 season, where UK started the season with six-straight wins.
"I have said to people what (WVU head coach) Nikki Izzo-Brown and her staff have built is one of the most special things in the country," Lipsitz said. "I think one of the things that means the most to our program is to come in and not just play well, but play well against a team that we respect so much. They're just aren't programs that we respect more than WVU and I know they're going to have a great year."
The Wildcats will next travel to Auburn, Ala., as the SEC portion of the schedule begins on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. ET.
For continuing coverage of UK women's soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.