Kentucky womens soccer loses 1-0 at South Carolina; remains winless in SEC


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats forward Hailey Farrington-Bentil (0) kicks the ball during the Kentucky vs. EKU womens soccer game on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 4-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky womens soccer (7-7) lost its sixth straight match, coming up short 1-0 against South Carolina (9-2-3) at the Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia on Sunday.

The loss kept the team winless in conference play (0-6) after initially starting the season 7-1.

The Gamecocks believed they had opened the scoring in the 17’ through Corinna Zullo, who had the ball played into her by Payton Patrick before firing it past Kentucky goalkeeper Tallulah Miller, but the attempt was ruled offside to keep the score 0-0 for a little longer.

The Gamecocks had another chance to take the lead 12 minutes later when Catherine Barry found herself one-on-one with Miller after a long run into the box, but she was denied by an impressive save from the UK redshirt freshman. 

Kentucky’s best chance to score for itself in the first half came in the 43’, with Hailey Farrington-Bentil taking a long shot from a tough angle, forcing Heather Hinz to make an acrobatic save to keep the game scoreless going into the half. 

The first half saw South Carolina retain 80% of possession and outshoot the Cats 9-1, a dominant half of play by the Gamecocks.

USC thought it had finally broken through once again just a minute into the second half when Patrick played the ball in toward Barry, who’s shot beat Miller, but it was once again ruled offside.

However, just 10 minutes later Patrick and Barry refused to be denied again after Patrick sent the ball into Barry in the box, which created just enough space to fire the ball into the bottom corner of the goal for what would end up being the only score of the match.

Following the goal, Kentucky found itself creating more chances with Hannah Richardson and Jordyn Rhodes both having opportunities to score, though neither were not able to capitalize on the attempts.

Rhodes nearly scored in the 64’ after she made good contact with a header, but the attempt just nearly missed the target.

She would come close again with just five minutes left on the clock after being played in by a ball from Farrington-Bentil, but play was stopped after Rhodes was called for a foul, colliding with Hinz in goal.

With the loss the Wildcats remain winless thus far into the SEC schedule, with dreams of the SEC Tournament fading with each passing game.

That said, this season seems more about bringing in the culture that first-year head coach Troy Fabiano is hoping to have here in Lexington as opposed to immediately competing for titles.

In the meantime, Kentucky continues to seek its first conference win of the season, hosting Florida on Sunday, Oct. 16.

Kickoff against the Gators is currently scheduled for 1 p.m. EST and will air live on ESPNU.