Preview: Kentucky women’s soccer kicks off season at Purdue on Thursday


Kentucky women’s soccer players celebrate a goal by freshman forward Jordyn Rhodes during the game against Western Bowling Green State University on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. The game ended in a tie with a score of 3-3. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky women’s soccer will kick off their season on Thursday, August 19 as they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. 

Thursday’s match is the first of 19 in the Wildcats regular season. Last season, the Cats finished just 1-6-3 in their COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign. UK has not had a winning season since 2015. 

This season the Wildcats return almost every bit of production they received in 2020, including 100 percent of goals scored, shots on goal and assists, as well as 98 percent of shots taken. Head coach Ian Carry has also added 11 newcomers to the 2021 squad to go alongside the 21 returnees. 

Leading the way for Kentucky is Jordyn Rhodes. The junior from South Lebanon, Ohio lit up the competition in her sophomore season, earning All-SEC First Team honors after bagging 10 goals and 21 points 

Accompanying Rhodes on the attacking side is Hannah Richardson, who scored twice in the 2020 season. The pair accounted for 87 percent of goals scored last year. 

Maria Olsen, an SEC All-Freshman a year ago, returns to the squad for her sophomore season. Olsen was all over the pitch last season, recording 22 shots along the way. 

Rhodes, Olsen, fifth-year attacker Julia Grosso and Olsen’s midfield partner Úlfa Úlfarsdóttir were all tabbed to the SEC Preseason Watch List on Wednesday. 

On the opposing side of the ball, Purdue finished the 2020 season with a 4-6-2 record. Led by seventh-year head coach Drew Roff, the Boilermakers return ten starters and 22 players overall. 

Three Boilermaker seniors were named to the Big Ten Preseason Watch list. Goalkeeper Marisa Bova, forward Sarah Griffith and midfielder Grace Walsh all also earned All-Big Ten honors last season.  

The Boilermakers are 6-0 in home openers at Folk Field under coach Roff, a streak that the Cats will look to break on Thursday.  

This will be just the second time that Kentucky and Purdue will meet. In 2007, the sides played to a scoreless 0-0 draw. 

Thursday’s match is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. E.T. and will be carried on Big Ten Network+