The UK women’s soccer team beat the No. 12 Louisville Cardinals for a second straight season in the first game of the Cardinal Classic on Friday. The 2-0 victory included goals from senior Natalie Horner and freshman Kelli Hubly, as well as a strong defensive showing from UK ‘keeper Kayla King.
“We talk about ‘you never know who is going to be the one’. You look at someone like Kayla King who got herself fit, and found out who she wanted to be. She made a decision to be a great soccer player,” said UK Head Coach Jon Lipsitz.
A season of strong defense, in which the only goal against UK has come on an own-goal, culminated in some great saves from King, including one on a PK in the 79th minute of the game that kept the Cats ahead 1-0.
In a physical first half, the Cats got 11 good looks at the goal, recording two shots on, one of which was a piercing low strike from junior Caitlin Landis that sailed just barely wide. Landis, last season’s second leading scorer for UK, has yet to put the ball in the goal this season. Despite the promising attempts, the Cats entered the locker room scoreless at the half.
As the second half kicked off, Hubly saw her first attack on goal sail just north of the crossbar with a little help from Louisville goalie Chloe Kiefer. Soon after, UK sophomore Arin Gilliland placed a beautiful pass at the feet of freshman Cara Ledman in scoring position, but her shot sailed wide of the goal.
A few minutes later, in the 60th minute of the game, UK’s Danielle Krohn and Natalie Horner continued what has become a trend when a Krohn corner kick found the back of the net via Horner for the third time in three games. The goal set the score at 1-0 UK.
King shined in the subsequent minutes, including a save of a header from Louisville’s Charlyn Corral, and then the magnificent PK save. King’s big game came in her hometown, as she recorded six saves on the night under the lights of Cardinal Park.
With the UK goal under lock and key behind King, all the Cats had left to do was secure the win, and that’s exactly what happened when Hubly scored the first goal of her young college career in the 80th minute. Gilliland placed a pinpoint pass at the feet of Hubly, who found herself onside and in scoring position. A magisterial shot from the freshman darted past the ‘keeper and found the near corner of the Cardinal goal to put some insurance on UK’s lead.
The win put the Cats at 5-0 for a second straight season, and advanced UK to a 3-1 record against the Cardinals under Lipsitz. The win also claimed the fourth win over a ranked team for Lipsitz with the Cats.
On Sunday, UK concluded the Cardinal Classic with a 3-1 loss to Samford. Freshman Cailin Harris scored her first career goal in the loss. The Cats completed non-conference play 5-1. They begin SEC play Friday when they take on No. 24 Florida at UK Soccer Complex. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.