Wildcats Open NCAA Tournament Play
BOULDER, CO ? From the beach to the mountains, the Kentucky women?s soccer team will open play in the 2006 NCAA Tournament on Friday when they take on the Denver Pioneers.
The Wildcats (14-6-3) and Pioneers (15-2-1) have never met on the soccer field and both will be looking for their first NCAA victory.
Kentucky earned its NCAA trip by winning the SEC Tournament Championship and claiming the league?s automatic bid. Denver won the Sun Belt?s automatic bid by continuing its domination of that conference. The Pioneers were perfect in the regular season against conference foes going 11-0 in Sun Belt play followed by three straight wins in their league tournament. DU outscored their conference rivals 62-9 in the regular season and 9-0 in the postseason.
The Wildcats will counter the Denver offensive attack with senior All-SEC goalie Anne Ogundele. Ogundele ranks seventh in the nation in save percentage (.894) and 17th in GAA (0.54). Her GAA also ranks first in the SEC as do her 14 shutouts this season, which ties the SEC single-season mark for clean sheets in a season.
Offensively, All-SEC freshman Giuleana Lopez leads the Wildcats with 25 points and 10 goals, both team highs. However, Megan Jones has been the catalyst of late for UK scoring three goals in the SEC Tournament including two in the championship game against Florida.
The winner of the Kentucky/Denver match will play the winner of the Colorado/Colorado College match on Sunday. That winner will advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 next Friday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET and live stats will be available at www.ukathletics.com.