Kentucky loses 4-1 to Vanderbilt, SEC struggles continue


Kentucky Wildcats defender Caroline Trout (18) chases 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

Cole Parke

Kentucky (6-6-2) came up short 4-1 at home against Vanderbilt (6-5-2) after a stoppage of play in the 78’ for lightning. The loss adds to the Wildcats’ conference losing streak as they fall to 0-5 in the SEC. 

UK led the game in shots attempted, but fell short in nearly every other stat against the Commodores. Wildcat goalie Laura Nielsen allowed four goals while saving two shots, while Vanderbilt’s Kate Devine also saved two shots, allowing one goal. 

A little over an hour after the initial start-time, Vanderbilt quickly got on the board first when Raegan Kelley got one past Nielsen in minute No. 8. She was assisted by Peyton Cutshall.

Though Kentucky started heating up with a strong equalizer attempt, momentum quickly shifted back to the Commodores and in the 28’, Alex Kerr would score off an assist by Amber Nguyen. 

Vanderbilt would continue to pad their lead in the 38’ when Madison Elwell got another ball past Nielsen off an assist by Kelley.

Going into the half, Vanderbilt led 3-0 with saves being the defining metric. For Kentucky, Nielsen failed to secure a save in the half with all three shots on target finding the net for the Commodores. Vandy also entered the half leading the possession battle 61-39.

Out of the half, the Wildcats battled on both sides of the field with shot attempts on offense and steals on defense. Unfortunately for Kentucky, in the 50’ a foul was called on freshman midfielder Lilly Huber, but it was Huber herself who needed to be assisted off the field with an apparent injury to her right leg. Huber did not return in the contest.

The ‘Cats continued trying to dig their way out of the first half hole with another shot attempt, but the Commodores once again found the net in the 53’ to go up 4-0. The goal was scored by Kerr, her second of the game, off an assist by Elwell. 

Kentucky would not go down quietly, though, as they continued fighting to get on the board. They were successful in the 72’ when Maria Olsen found the net off an assist by Gretchen Mills. The goal was Olsen’s second of the season.

Try as they might, a nearby strike of lightning prematurely ended the game in the 78’ and officially ended the Wildcat’s comeback hopes.

The Wildcats hit the road once again this Sunday, Oct. 10, this time travelling to Athens to battle the Georgia Bulldogs. That game will kickoff at 2 p.m. E.T and will air on the SEC Network+.