By Tom Hurley | @TomHurley
UK women’s soccer head coach Jon Lipsitz said there are going to be “some major changes” after watching his Cats tie 0-0 with Utah on Sunday in their 2013 home opener.
“It’s simply not good enough,” Lipsitz said. “We got dominated on 50/50 balls, so we didn’t put in the work necessary to then play soccer.”
The fifth-year head coach labeled his team as “uncoachable” after they picked up one point from their opening two games of the season following a 3-1 loss at No. 15/10 Wake Forest on Friday.
“We made some adjustments at half time and they didn’t happen. We made some pretty major adjustments before overtime and they didn’t happen,” Lipsitz said. “We have to get over that stubbornness in order to be a great team.”
The Cats started the game with junior utility player Arin Gilliland in defense for the second straight game following her two summer call-ups to the USA U-23 development camp.
UK (0-1-1) freshman forward Zoe Swift had the first real chance of the game inside the first 10 minutes when she collected a through ball from sophomore forward Cara Ledman only to be thwarted by Utah goalie Lindsey Luke at close range.
Soon after, Swift was pulled down on the edge of the Utah penalty area but the Cats couldn’t produce a scoring opportunity from the resulting free kick.
Both teams went back and forth as the half wore on, battling for possession in the 85-degree Sunday sun.
Utah (1-0-1) came within inches of opening the scoring shortly before the half hour mark when Baylee Nielsen turned her defender and fired a low drive that smacked senior goalie Kayla King’s post before bouncing to safety.
Lipsitz responded by bringing in sophomore forward Kelli Hubly and senior forward Caitlin Landis and the latter made the most of her fresh legs almost instantly when she went close moments after entering the game.
Utah midfielder Katie Rigby saw a 20-yard effort deflected wide as neither side found a way to break the deadlock before halftime.
More opportunities for the Cats came and went as the second half wore on as the pace of Hubly and Swift, along with the link play of Ledman and Landis, caused problems for the visiting defense.
“It’s good getting in the groove with Zoe (Swift),” Hubbly said. “Zoe’s fast just like me and Cat (Landis) is really good at holding the ball.”
Swift got on the end of a Gilliland cross to force a diving save from Luke, who quickly needed to recover when a Landis shot saw a second diving save to keep the game scoreless 30 seconds later.
Utah’s offense became frustrated on the defensive end, resorting to long-range shots after struggling to find a way past Gilliland and the UK back-line as the clock counted down towards the end of regulation.
UK had the better chances in overtime, including early on when Hubly was unable to do better when Ratezman nodded down Ledman’s long ball into her path.
Several half chances came for each side as the game entered a second overtime session, with two of the best scoring opportunities falling to Hubly and Swift. Neither were unable to turn crosses into the Utah net.
“When we get those chances we’ve got to convert them,” Lipsitz said. “I can tell you … four breakaways that we had; four that we were in behind their defense with no pressure on us. (It) doesn’t matter how much work you do, if you don’t put those away you’re going to have a frustrating day.”
Lipsitz says he will work on a number of things with his squad in practice in the leadup to the next pair of games, beginning with a home game against Eastern Kentucky on Friday. Kickoff at the UK Soccer Complex is set for 5 p.m.