No. 8 Longhorns trample young Cats

By Alex Risen

The UK women’s soccer team thought they had a chance. But in a matter of minutes, the floodgates opened for No. 8 Texas and the Cats lost 3-1 Thursday night at the UK Soccer Complex.

UK head coach Warren Lipka was optimistic about his team’s defense before the game, and it looked strong in the first half. But three goals later, all in the second half, Lipka wasn’t so confident.

“I thought our back four didn’t organize as well as they should have,” Lipka said. “We need to do better than that.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Hiance bailed the Cats out early, saving a shot in the seventh minute, but the Longhorns attack was eventually too much.

Sophomore Kelly Miller saw early action at midfield when she came into the game in the 23rd minute to keep the Cats fresh. Miller’s impact was felt instantly as her first shot was saved by Texas’ senior goalkeeper Dianna Pfenninger in the 27th minute.

In the 30th minute, Hiance saved an errant Longhorn shot and watched as another shot on goal sailed just above the crossbar with only minutes remaining in the first half. At halftime, the Cats went into the locker room tied 0-0 in their first ever meeting against Texas.

The Cats stormed out of the gate in the second half quickly as sophomore forward Laura Novikoff put one past Pfenninger in the 52nd minute.

“I was just excited to get the first goal of the season and go up on the eighth ranked team in the country,” Novikoff said.

The 1-0 lead was short-lived as senior Texas forward Kasey Moore netted a short shot on Hiance in the 57th minute.

“It definitely felt good to be up on a team for once,” Hiance said.

And while the Cats had positives, they couldn’t string enough of them together to pull the upset.

“We just have to be more consistent,” Novikoff said. “I mean consistency is big and we just lost it for about a ten minute period there.”

The Horns scored two goals in a matter of minutes after tying the game at 1-1. Moore buried her second goal less than one minute after her first. Texas freshman Amanda Lisberger put another tally on the board for Texas in the 60th minute, virtually putting the game out of reach.

Despite the loss, Lipka did see some positives from his young squad.

“It was better than the Ohio State game tenfold,” he said. “I think Texas changed their whole personality after that goal and just came at us. We showed that we can play with the eighth-ranked team in the country. Now we just need to be consistent and organize better.”