Kentucky falls 2-0 to Tennessee in final match of season


Kentucky Wildcats forward Emilie Rhode (10) defends the ball during UK’s game against Bellarmine on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 4-0. Photo by Jackson Dunavant | Staff

Scott Clarke

Kentucky women’s soccer dropped their final match of the season on Thursday, falling 2-0 to No. 12 Tennessee in Knoxville.

The loss meant the Wildcats finished SEC play with a record of 1-9-0. The Lady Vols improve to 15-2 on the season and are 8-2 in league play.

Tennessee got off to a strong start, pressuring the Wildcats in their own half of the pitch. In the 7’, Volunteers forward Mackenzie George put Tennessee on the board first with a strike just outside the box that UK keeper Laura Nielsen could not stop, giving UT a 1-0 lead.

UK forward Marissa Bosco had all three shots on goal for the Cats in the half.

The increased pressure from UT would provide them another goal in the 31’ when a cross from the right side of the box from midfielder Taylor Huff found the right foot of forward Jaida Thomas just in front of goal, which Thomas sent into the back of the UK net, giving Tennessee a 2-0 lead.

UT would hold the lead into halftime.

Kentucky would start the second half more aggressive, sending multiple players forward and pressing the UT defenders.

UK would begin to create chances at goal but were unable to capitalize. In total, The Cats had eight shots, with five of them on goal. Jordyn Rhodes would tally four shots on goal in the second half alone.

Tennessee goalkeeper Ashley Gabor was on her game, as she turned away all seven shots she faced in 90 minutes. For Kentucky, Nielsen had six saves on eight shots on goal.

UT would preserve the 2-0 lead and win the game. With the win, they clinched the SEC East Division Championship.

The loss meant that Kentucky did not reach the point threshold required to qualify for SEC Tournament play.

This is the fourth time in five years that Kentucky women’s soccer has not qualified for postseason play.