Women’s soccer prevails in home opener

By David Schuh

The UK women’s soccer fought to a 2-1 victory in its first home game of the season Tuesday at the UK Soccer Complex.

The Cats came out sluggish for the first sixty minutes of the game, trailing 1-0 after a 52nd-minute goal by Eastern’s Sydney Montgomery from 35 yards out.  But, an accelerated offensive pace put the Colonels on their heels.  An 80th-minute penalty in the box by EKU led to a successful penalty kick by UK’s Kelsey Hunyadi that tied the game.

The Cats didn’t stop there.  With just two minutes remaining, Arin Gilliland connected from 15 yards out to send UK to a 2-1 victory.  Just a freshman, it was Gilliland’s first career goal in her second game.

“We knew we had all the momentum after the first goal,” Gilliland said.  “I saw the opening up the right side of the box and Stuart (Pope) gave me a great pass.  Luckily, I finished and we pulled this one out.”

The first half for the Cats was mediocre to say the least.  With only two shots on goal, the offense struggled to maintain possession.  The spacing was also poor, which led to an inconsistent attack and missed opportunities.

“First, give EKU credit for their defensive strategy.  They really confused us,” head coach John Lipsitz said.  “But we also just came out too casual.  We didn’t take advantage of our early opportunities.”

Those opportunities began to materialize in the second half with better ball control and a more aggressive game plan.  Once the Cats started to push forward and play a bit faster, it was only a matter of time before a shot, or two, got through.

“I’d rather teach with a win than a loss,” coach Lipsitz said with a smile.  “We have to get better every day, but tonight we escaped.”

The Cats (2-0-0) return to the field Friday at home against the Ohio Bobcats.  Game time is set at 5:00 P.M.