Women’s soccer reaches highest ranking in history

By David Schuh

The UK women’s soccer team returned last weekend with the highest RPI ranking in program history.

After beating conference foe Alabama 4-1 two weeks ago, the first RPI of the season debuted with the Cats ranked 12th. Wednesday, the rankings were updated, with UK ranked 10th, eclipsing the record mark of the previous week.

At 9-3, they are the 2nd highest SEC team behind No. 2 Florida. According to a UK Media Relations press release, the Cats are 5-2 against teams in the RPI top-100.

“We knew this trip was going to be difficult,” head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “But, I try to equate everything to the way we play. If there is a strong wind I like to play into it in the first half then make our opportunities in the second. Likewise, I told the team we’ll play ‘into the wind’ on the road then come home and have it behind us. They persevered, and our high RPI shows that.”

Two days after the rankings first emerged, UK won at South Carolina 1-0, the first win over the Gamecocks since 2006. It was the 9th win of the season, one shy of equaling last year’s total.

In a season that has been filled with firsts for this young program, the Cats continue to exceed even their own expectations.

“We talk about not getting caught up on what we’ve done,” said sophomore forward Caitlin Landis, who scored three goals on the road trip. “We can’t let up. If we start fresh and continue to learn every day, that will show up on the field.”

After a loss at No. 2 Florida Saturday, UK has returned home for a four-game home-stand beginning Friday night against Arkansas (4-8-0). Of those four games, three are against teams with eight or more wins. And with all other remaining games against teams with losing records, the Cats don’t plan on slowing their momentum.

“Despite their record, Arkansas is a dangerous team,” coach Lipsitz said. “Then we get three teams with very high RPI’s. It’s a difficult stretch but as long as we work hard and keep getting better every day, we’ll be right there in the end.”