Kentucky rolls past Oakland 4-1 behind three spectacular goals


Kentucky’s Jordyn Rhodes (30) heads the ball towards a teammate during the University of Kentucky vs. University of Dayton women’s soccer game on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK tied with Dayton 0-0. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky women’s soccer returned to action on Sunday afternoon, mowing over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies 4-1 at The Bell in Lexington. 

The Wildcats bagged three goals in the second half, propelling them to their third victory of the season.

Oakland came into the match having lost their last three, all of which they failed to score a goal.

The Golden Grizzlies started the match off strong, pressing the Wildcats and keeping the ball in UK’s half of the field.

Both teams recorded just one shot in the first 25 minutes of play.

The OU pressure would mount and a UK giveaway resulted in a 27th minute goal for midfielder Macey Wierenga, putting Oakland up 1-0 early.

Kentucky would begin to figure out the Oakland press after conceding in the first half for the first time this season.

A UK counter-attack would see the Wildcats equalize in the 36th minute, as a Jordyn Rhodes pass found the boot of Úlfa Úlfarsdóttir, ending in a quality finish for the midfielders first goal of the season.

Heading into halftime, momentum was on the side of UK. The Wildcats just edged OU in possession, 51 percent to 49. Oakland goalkeeper Noëmi Stadelmann saved two of the three shots she faced on-goal.

The second half would see Kentucky assert their dominance.

Roles would reverse when the teams hit the pitch for the second 45, as UK would apply some pressure of their own on the Golden Grizzlies. 

After five shots were sent towards the OU goal, junior Hannah Richardson would finally capitalize. After dribbling from midfield, the forward would launch a strike from well-outside the 15-yard box that Stadelmann could not save, giving UK a 2-1 lead in the 69th minute.

Once Kentucky gained the lead, the momentum piled up. The 81st minute saw a pass from UK’s Miranda Jimenez find Rhodes, who would nutmeg her defender and loft the ball over the head of Stadelmann, extending the Cats lead to two. 

Rhodes’ superb finish was the fifth goal of the season for the forward.

The deflated Golden Grizzlies would be able to respond, as Richardson would once again find the ball at her feet, then score her second goal of the match in the final minute after sending an OU defender the wrong way in the penalty box. 

Richardson’s second brace of the season matches the goal total of her fellow striker Rhodes.

The final whistle would blow, resulting in an astounding 4-1 victory for Kentucky. 

UK outshot Oakland 17-9, led by six off the boot of Úlfarsdóttir. Kentucky goalie Laura Nielsen saved four of the five shots she faced on-goal. The freshman has conceded just four goals in six matches this season. 

Kentucky will look to build off of Sunday’s performance and attempt to win two matches in a row for the second time this season on Thursday, when they travel to Richmond, Ky. for a battle with in-state foe Eastern Kentucky.

The match is set to kickoff at the EKU Soccer Complex at 4:00 p.m. E.T and will be available to watch on ESPN+.