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Another mixed-bag weekend saw the UK women’s soccer team lose for the first time at home Sunday 2-1 in overtime to Alabama.
That loss came on the heels of a 2-2 double-overtime draw with No. 6 Texas A&M Friday night. The Cats exit the weekend 8-3-1 (3-2-1 SEC) and unranked, after reaching No. 18 two weeks prior.
Alabama’s first-half goal was netted by sophomore midfielder Theresa Diederich, with sophomore forward Pia Rijsdijk scoring the equalizer. UK’s lone goal came in the second half from freshman forward Cara Ledman.
From the opening kickoff, the Cats looked sluggish. They were late to loose balls and saw little offensive push.
After about five minutes of attack from UK to start the game, Alabama took control and really dominated the match through the halftime whistle.
Diederich’s shot curled its way into the goal after an Alabama corner kick ping-ponged its way to her foot at the edge of the box. The score was her sixth of the season, with the assist going to freshman midfielder Merel Van
Dongen for the initial boot from the corner.
The Cats’ second half began with Ledman recording her third goal of the season 10 minutes in. Freshman forward Courtney Raetzman continued her prolific offensive creation this season with the assist on the equalizer, her fourth of the season to accompany her four goals.
A mixture of swift offense and porous defense culminated in shots aplenty from both sides after Ledman’s goal.
Despite the opportunities, neither squad could keep the game from going to overtime.
UK head coach Jon Lipsitz pulled Ledman after her goal. It appeared that he saved Ledman and junior forward Caitlin Landis for the last portion of the second half. When the two were subbed in at 74 minutes, though, the offensive spark did not come.
“When we sub, we expect to get better. You get to hear what we’re doing right and wrong on the bench,” Lipsitz said. “We had players that ran 8 miles on Friday night, and they needed to get a break. When we give them a break, we’ve got to get better. That’s something that has been a basic tenet of our program: that when we sub, we’re going to get better. That didn’t happen today, so that’s something that we’re going to have to go back and work out.”
After a five-minute break, the first overtime period was under way, with UK looking to put the game away swiftly.
Failed attempts to score by UK at 91 and 92 minutes gave the Crimson Tide the ball with holes in UK’s backfield.
Without much build, Rijsdijk’s unassisted golden goal ended the game at 93 minutes. Her score put Alabama at 7-3-2 (2-2-2 SEC) three weekends into SEC play.
Lipsitz gave shared credit for the loss to Alabama’s hard work and his own team’s lack thereof.
“We weren’t willing to do (the) work today, so we deservedly lost the game. Alabama deserved to win the game,” he said. The fourth-year UK head coach said that his team is going to focus on details and basics in the coming week of practice and training, and that competitive pressure should not be hindering his team the way it did against Alabama this deep into the season.
The Cats will look to put a blemish on Missouri’s 5-0-0 SEC record at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Colombia, Mo. UK will then travel to Oxford, Miss., to take on Ole Miss at 2 p.m. Sunday.