Cats’ defense shines in 1-0 women’s soccer victory

The UK women’s soccer team wasn’t electric versus Evansville Wednesday night, but the defense provided the necessary spark for a 1-0 win.

Most soccer teams look to get a shot in the first couple minutes of a match; Evansville (1-5-1) was only able to muster up two shots in 90 minutes of play. This can be contributed to UK (5-2-0) shutting down the Purple Ace’s offense.

“It’s really important. That’s big for us to not let them get a lot of shots off,” junior midfielder Natalie Homer said. “I think we did well stepping and pressuring them.”

The shutout marked the 18th career shutout for senior goalkeeper Sydney Hiance. Hiance said she doesn’t care about clean sheets, just wins.

And UK only needed 18 minutes to get the winning goal, with a header from Homer, her second goal of the season.

“It was a bunch of players running into the box and it was just a really good service,” Homer said. “We crashed the box and finished it.”

The assist came from a cross-delivery by freshman forward Taylor Parker, her fifth assist of the year. That assist moves Parker into a tie for sixth on UK’s all-time freshmen assist list.

“I have a better vision of the field than going for a goal,” Parker said. “I’m more used to passing it off, but I want to work on scoring.”

UK’s offense had a lot of opportunities against Evansville. They fired 26 shots and nine were shots on goal. However the Cats were only able to connect on one of those chances.

“It’s about a lot of missed opportunities — we have to get more width in our attack,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “We are getting shots but they are difficult attacks and we need to get more creative.”

UK’s offense will have one more game to warm up before Southeastern Conference play, where the Cat’s finished last in the East last season.

“(SEC play) is going to be a completely different level, it’s going to be really fast,” Homer said. “We just need to be on our game as far as playing quick and no rest. I think we are getting there.”

The Cats improved to 4-0-0 at home and have three remaining games in its current home stand. The combination of winning at home and dominating defense should help the Cats be more competitive than last season.

“We are all getting used to playing together,” Homer said. “Having so many freshman on the field is a change but they are doing really well playing on the college level.”

With the combination of the freshman, stellar defense and home-field advantage the Cats put away the Purple Aces and get their fifth win of the season, tying last season’s total.