Women’s Soccer set for weekend conference slate



By Boyd Hayes

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Ten games into the season and nine games away from the SEC Tournament, head coach Jon Lipsitz’s UK women’s soccer team finds itself ranked No. 18, boasting a record of 8-2-0 (3-1-0 SEC), including big wins over No. 12 Louisville, No. 13 Florida and Mississippi State.

This weekend, the Cats will continue their SEC schedule with No. 3 Texas A&M and Alabama at the UK Soccer Complex in Lexington.

The last time UK was at home, Lipsitz saw his team win their first SEC weekend sweep under his charge against No. 13 Florida and previously undefeated Mississippi State. The Cats traveled to Arkansas the subsequent Friday, where they stumbled in a 3-2 loss, though they responded with a 2-1 double-overtime win at LSU the following Sunday. Freshman Courtney Raetzman led the charge to begin the SEC schedule, scoring both UK goals against LSU, one against Arkansas and the first of her collegiate career against Florida.

Friday night’s Texas A&M matchup will see UK take on the current leaders of the SEC West. The Aggies boast a 10-1-0 (4-0-0 SEC) record, having won their first four SEC matchups by a total score of 9-0 against LSU, No. 22 Ole Miss, South Carolina and Auburn. More big wins for the Aggies this year have been over No. 16 Long Beach State and No. 16 Rutgers by scores of 3-0 and 4-1, respectively.

Offense for the Aggies has come in most part from four highly touted sophomores: Annie Kunz (six goals), Kelley Monogue (four goals), Allie Bailey (three goals), and Meghan Streight (one goal, five assists).

The Cats will look to hinder the Aggie offense with their experienced back line of sophomore Arin Gilliland, junior Ashley VanLandingham, and seniors Alyssa Telang and Natalie Horner.

The UK back line, as well as goalkeepers Kayla King and Kayla Price, have allowed less than one goal per game this season, with nine allowed in all (including one own-goal).

Alabama, which saw an offensive explosion in their opening five games, outscoring opponents 19-1, have lulled in scoring and winning over the past five games.

After dropping its first loss of the season to Maryland at home, the Crimson Tide then struggled in its first four SEC matches, having allowed seven goals in five games.

Overall, Alabama is 6-3-1 (1-2-1 SEC) on the season. Scoring has been distributed by nine players for the Crimson Tide, with 13 players tallying assists.

For UK, goals have been recorded by nine players as well, with Raetzman jumping to the top of the tally sheet with four goals in the past four SEC games. Raetzman and the rest of UK’s freshman class have made their presence felt on offense, putting together nine goals and four assists in all. Gilliland has also been impressive this season, providing defensive strength as well as offensive productivity with three goals and four assists.

The Cats take the field against the Aggies Friday at 7 p.m., and then against the Tide at noon Sunday.