LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/18/13) – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team ascended to No. 19 in this week’s edition of the Soccer America top 25, after completing its third-straight 2-0 weekend, taking a 1-0 win at home against Texas-San Antonio and knocking off No. 10 West Virginia in Morgantown, W. Va., on Sunday afternoon.
The ranking is the first of the year for the Wildcats, who enter the poll for the first time since the week of Sept. 17 in 2012. In 2012, UK checked in at No. 18 in the national poll, which was the first time Kentucky had been ranked under head coach Jon Lipsitz.
Kentucky has also been ranked in other national polls this week, including the Bennett Poll, in which Kentucky moved into the top 20 for the first time all season, checking in at No. 20. In the TopDrawerSoccer.com top 25, UK is now ranked No. 22.
Junior Arin Gilliland struck for seven points on the weekend and was involved in all five goals the Wildcats scored on the weekend, and for that, was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week for the first time in her career.
Gilliland scored twice on Sunday afternoon, notching her second goal of the season just 10 seconds into the match to give UK the early 1-0 lead, and then punched in her second penalty of the season to make it 4-1 in the 66th minute when freshman Zoe Swift was dragged down in the box, giving Gilliland the opportunity to take the PK. The Lexington, Ky., native also assisted on three goals this weekend, and now leads the Southeastern Conference with seven assists on the season, and is ranked second nationally in women’s college soccer.
After completing the non-conference schedule 6-1-1, Kentucky will open the SEC portion of the schedule on Friday night at 8 p.m. ET against the Auburn Tigers at the AU Soccer Complex in Auburn, Ala. The Wildcats and Tigers are opening the SEC slate against each other for the second time in the last three years.
In 2012, Kentucky used a flurry of second-half goals to come from behind and knock off the Tigers, 2-1, in Lexington to clinch UK’s spot in the 2012 SEC Tournament. Auburn and Kentucky have met 19 times overall, with each side winning eight matches and three ties.
“The SEC is a different level,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said on his call-in show last night. “We as a staff keep telling our young players that they have never experienced soccer at this level. They all thought the Louisville game was tough, but SEC soccer is another animal. I trust my captains and upperclassmen to guide them along the way, and we are looking for a great challenge from a very well-coached and extremely organized Auburn team.”
The SEC will be playing an 11-team schedule rotation in 2013, as each team will play 11 matches against SEC opponents, while not playing two SEC teams. There will be no divisions in the SEC. The Wildcats do not play Ole Miss or Texas A&M in 2013. Of the 14 SEC teams, 10 will qualify for the 2013 SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala., with the top six seeds earning a first-round bye into the quarterfinals.
Information provided by Chris Shoals (UK Athletics)
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