UK Women's Soccer Faces Stiff Challenge Friday at North Carolina
Sept. 4, 2003
The UK women's soccer team faces its most imposing challenge of the season Friday evening when the Wildcats battle consensus No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The match is part of the Nike Carolina Classic and begins at 7:00 p.m. ET. Friday's battle marks the first time the Cats and Heels have met on the pitch, as well as the initial meeting between Kentucky and a top-ranked team in the 12-year history of Kentucky women's soccer.
The Cats enter Friday's match riding a wave of momentum from two strong showings over Labor Day weekend. Kentucky scored ten goals while allowing only one goal in matches against Davidson and Western Kentucky. However, the Cats face a much more formidable opponent Friday in the 17-time national champion Tar Heels.
North Carolina features all-Americans Cat Reddick and Lindsay Tarpley, members of the same U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team for whom UK Head Coach Warren Lipka served as the goalkeepers' coach. Reddick is away from the Tar Heel squad as a member of the U.S. Women's National Team, which begins play in the FIFA World Cup on Sept. 20.
UNC is coached by the legendary Anson Dorrance, who has led the program from the outset of its 25-year existence. At North Carolina's Fetzer Field, Dorrance has led the Heels to an amazing 224-7-4 record. His teams have recorded shutouts in 387 of its 549 games, while UNC itself has been shut-out only 16 times.
"Anson has done everything you can do as a college soccer coach," Lipka said. "He has won a gold medal, national championships and a (FIFA) World Cup. There isn't anything he hasn't done. It's an honor to be invited to Chapel Hill to play in this tournament."
Kentucky will use its versatility to combat the Heels. The Cats can depend on a number of scoring options, as UK's ten season goals were scored by nine different Wildcats. All-SEC striker Elizabeth Ramsey leads the Cats with two goals on the young season. Defender Kara McCue anchors a stingy UK defense along with goalkeeper Liz Butler, a 2002 SoccerBuzz freshman all-American. Lipka said his Wildcats will need a collective effort to knock off the Heels.
"Everyone on the field for us must have a moment where they lift the team. We will need our goalkeeping to be sharp, and everyone must contribute in some way for our team to have a chance to win," Lipka said.
After North Carolina, the slate doesn't get much easier for the Cats. Sunday, UK wraps up its stint at the Nike Carolina Classic with a 12 p.m. match in Chapel Hill against eighth-ranked Duke.