Feb. 14, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off of another season in which the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team set new program records, beat top-10 teams, returned to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, finished near the top of the Southeastern Conference table and collected 14 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1999-2000, head coach Jon Lipsitz, along with associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Michelle Rayner announced two new signees on Monday afternoon to add to the 2014 roster.
“We are very excited about announcing the signing of Kelly and Taylor to our program here at Kentucky,” Lipsitz said. “We are very specific and extremely selective about the type of player and person that we recruit here and we feel like they fit the mold of a Kentucky women’s soccer player on and off the field. We obviously have done some great things with the program the last few years, and we think these players can take us to that next level that we are so hungry to achieve.”
Kelly Novak from Strongsville, Ohio joins the Wildcats’ roster as a versatile player who has seen time as a midfielder and a forward for Cleveland United Soccer Club. While with Cleveland United, Novak was the 2013 U17 National Championship Most Valuable Player, and was awarded the tournament’s golden boot. Two years prior in 2011, Novak was selected to the 2011 Region II Team. Also with the Cleveland United, Novak was a part of the 2013 National Champions League, crowned Region II Champions in 2012, and MRL Premier League Champions in 2011, 12 and 13.
In her time with Strongsville High School, Novak was on varsity all four seasons, made the Elite Eight all four years, and was a Final Four participant in three of her four seasons. Novak led Strongsville to a state championship in her sophomore season. In her four years, she was All-Conference First Team, Second Team, Conference MVP, First Team All-State, Player of the Year and a four-year letter winner.
Novak has a sister, Eric, and parents Al and Kathy. She intends on majoring in exercise science upon her arrival to campus in August.
“Kelly is a great player and we are so excited that she chose Kentucky to continue her career,” Lipsitz said. "Kelly obviously gets a lot of attention for winning the Golden Boot at nationals last year, and deservedly so. She is a dynamic, creative goal scorer that is calm in front of goal. As far as her versatility and ability to play in the midfield, Kelly in a lot of ways will remind you of Stuart Pope, who has had a tremendous amount of success here at Kentucky.”
Colleyville, Texas, native Taylor Braun joins Kentucky as a standout goalkeeper for the Dallas Texans U18 team under the direction of Sean Bubb. In her time with the Texans, she was a member of the 2013 ECNL National Training Camp, part of international trips to Germany and Costa Rica, participated in ODP training and led them to the National Qualifiers. She was a member of Premier League champion teams, regional champions and was elected a team captain in the process.
In her four years with Grapevine High School, Braun has been a captain for two seasons and is currently in the midst of her senior season. She has lead Grapevine to three-straight district and bi-district championships, and area championships in two of the last three seasons. She has been awarded First Team All-District honors with Grapevine, as well.
The president of the National Honor Society, member of student council, PTA member and president of ‘Students Standing Strong’, Braun is a strong all-around addition to the UK roster. She has one brother, Jackson, and her mother and father, Bob and Shannon. Bob played football and hockey at the United States Naval Academy. Braun intends on majoring in chemical engineering.
“Taylor is one of those players that we identified early in the recruiting process as a special player in this class,” Lipsitz said. “We ask a lot out of our goalkeepers with their hands and their feet to set play from the back and serve as a leader on the field. Taylor has had a lot of success everywhere she has been in her career and we are excited to see her develop into a great goalkeeper here at UK.”
The Wildcats are currently performing offseason conditioning drills and spring workouts under the direction of the UK strength and conditioning staff, as well as Lipsitz, who will be entering his sixth season at the helm of the UK women’s soccer program. The Wildcats will play a spring slate of five games beginning March 14 before breaking for the summer.
“We are still looking to add a couple of players into this class and help bring other tremendous players to Lexington during this signing period,” Lipsitz said. “This is an exciting time for the women’s soccer community here in Lexington, and we are excited to welcome Kelly and Taylor to the family.”
For continuing coverage of UK women’s soccer, log on to UKathletics.com.