Wildcats throttled 4-1 by Tennessee at home


Michael Smallwood

Kentucky Wildcats forward Hannah Richardson (8) dribbles past defenders during the Kentucky vs. Tennessee womens soccer match on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Smallwood | Kentucky Kernel

Ali Cetinok, Staff Writer

Kentucky womens soccer (7-4-0) remained winless in the SEC after being defeated 4-1 to Tennessee (6-3-1), a preseason favorite to win the conference, at home on Sunday.

The first 10 minutes of the match resembled a basketball game with both teams attacking with rapid pace, going back and forth down the field.

Tennessee was able to break through with an opener after Ulfa Ulfarsdottir accidentally fired one into her own goal after the Cats were unable to deal with a UT corner in the 12’.

The Volunteers smelled blood in the water and added to their advantage in the 28’ courtesy of Jaida Thomas, who scored off an assist by Claudia Dipasupil to make it 2-0 for the visitors.

Tennessee wouldn’t add to its lead until the second half in the 75’ when Kameron Simmonds took advantage of a failed clearance from Rafferty Kugler and made it a three-goal game.

Kentucky was able to make sure that it wasn’t shutout when Hannah Richardson was able to steal the ball away from the Tennessee back-line after a long ball from Jordyn Rhodes and score the goal with a strike from the top of the box.

Despite the Wildcat goal, Simmonds extended the UT lead back to three goals after being assisted by Taylor Huff, bringing the score to 4-1 and bagging her second goal of the match.

The showing helped secure the win and keep the Vols undefeated against Kentucky since 2014.

Despite the score line, Kentucky’s coaches and players were able to find some positives to take away from the tough match, hoping to apply what was learned in the future.

“We didn’t give up playing and we kept going,” Richardson said. “We keep beating ourselves, so we just need to clean that up. We have seven more SEC games so we need to keep our heads up because we can easily be 7-3. As a leader [I] just keep encouraging the girls and make sure everyone stays positive.”

Head coach Troy Fabiano also had a lot to say after the match, maintaining a positive outlook on the future despite the heavy loss and giving credit to the visiting team.

“Tennessee is a very good team from top to bottom,” he said. “They are athletic, strong and they can play so I give them credit. I think for us we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We are making mistakes that are costing us, but to give ourselves credit the girls didn’t stop. They competed, but in the same sense I’m not here for consolation.”

Looking toward the future, the Cats will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to duel LSU, with Fabiano touching on a few points he hopes to improve upon with his team before the trip.

“The biggest thing is we need to clean ourselves up,” Fabiano said. “We just need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot if we want to get a result.”

Kentucky plays LSU on Sunday, Oct. 2, with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m. EST and streaming live on the SEC Network.