Kentucky suffers second SEC defeat; falls to Florida in overtime


Kentucky Wildcats defender Sara Makoben-Blessing (19) prepares to kick 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

Jaron Centers

UK Women’s Soccer suffered their second straight loss in conference play.

A hard-fought match came to a quick end in overtime, as the ‘Cats fell to the Florida Gators 1-0 in Gainesville.

UF’s Julianne Leskauskas ended the match with a left-footer into the top right of the goal, assisted by Maddy Rhodes. 

UK’s Hannah Richardson led all players with five shots, two on goal. Florida goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg finished with six saves on the night. UK falls to 6-3-2 on the season, while the Gators pick up their first conference win, improving to 2-5-3. 

The ‘Cats walked into Thursday’s match seeking their first win in conference play, after falling to Texas A&M last Friday, 0-3. Florida, coming off a rough stretch of back-to-back ties, looked to get their first win in over two weeks—since the Gators’ last victory over Florida Gulf Coast back on Sept. 5th. 

Half No. 1 of tonight’s match got off to a slow start, as neither team would score a goal through the first 45 minutes. 

Despite UK’s offensive efforts, the Gators’ defense remained strong. UF goalie Goldberg had three saves against the ‘Cats attack. Richardson led the ‘Cats offensively with four shots, two on goal.

UK led the shot count 10-4, but Florida kept the ‘Cats defense on their toes with two shots on goal—giving UK goalkeeper Laura Nielsen two saves on the half. 

The second half also proved scoreless despite the persistent UK offensive effort, leading the shot count 19-11, six on goal through 90 minutes. The Gators attempted only one shot on goal. 

The UF defense proved strong once again, as Goldberg gathered six saves in regulation. A stalemate in the scoring column forced overtime, UK’s fourth of the season. 

Overtime proved short, as a left-footer from UF’s Leskauskas sent the ‘Cats back to Lexington at the 91’ mark. Maddy Rhodes was credited with the assist on the goal. The quick ending prevented UK from attempting a single shot in overtime, to Florida’s two. 

The ‘Cats face another conference opponent this weekend, as they look to get back on track hosting South Carolina this Sunday at The Bell. The game will be available to watch on SEC Network+ at 2:00 p.m.