LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/19/13) – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team will travel to Auburn. Ala., looking to extend its current six-match win streak on Friday night to open the Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule against the Auburn Tigers at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Kentucky jumped to No. 19 in the Soccer America poll this week after knocking off No. 10 West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. The win was the program’s first top-10 win under head coach Jon Lipsitz in his five years in Lexington. Combined with the 1-0 win over UTSA on Friday night, Kentucky put together its third-straight weekend sweep, and will enter the SEC riding a 6-1-1 record.
Arin Gilliland was honored with many national awards for her seven-point weekend, in which she scored two goals on Sunday afternoon in UK’s 4-2 win over WVU. Gilliland received her first SEC award of the season, taking home SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, was named the CollegeSoccer360 National Player of the Week, placed on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Weekly Team of the Week, and a CS360 ‘Primetime Performer’.
This will be the second time in the last three years UK and Auburn have tangled in the SEC opener, as in 2011, Kentucky traveled to the Auburn Soccer Complex to commence SEC play. In 2012, Kentucky’s Olivia Jester scored off a set piece late in the second half to propel the Wildcats to a 2-1 win over the Tigers and clinch UK’s spot in the 2012 SEC Tournament.
All-time, the Wildcats and Tigers have met 19 times, with each side taking eight wins and three recorded draws. Kentucky is unbeaten against Auburn in three of the last four meetings, and head coach Jon Lipsitz is 2-1-1 all-time against 15th-year Auburn head coach, Karen Hoppa.
“The SEC is a different level,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said on his call-in show Tuesday 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.”
Kentucky’s defense continues to be stifling, as keeper Kayla King has already recorded three shutouts in 2013 and was a part of the team’s shutout vs. EKU playing upwards of 70 minutes in net that match. King’s goals against average has hovered under 1.00 all season, as she is currently sitting on a 0.89 GAA.
Kentucky under Lipsitz is 1-3 in SEC openers, including a major win in 2012 over No 13 Florida at the UK Soccer Complex to open the conference season. Kentucky is and 10-8-2 in program history in SEC openers. UK has not won an SEC road opener since taking a 2-0 win over LSU in 2004.
This weekend will be one of two one-match weekends in the SEC slate, as there will be no Sunday match in the opening week. In addition, the weekend of Oct. 25, Kentucky will only play on Friday night and will have no Sunday afternoon fixture.
The SEC will play an 11-match schedule in 2013, with each team missing out on two opponents. In 2013, the Wildcats will not face Texas A&M or Ole Miss. Also new for 2013, there will be one cumulative SEC table with no Eastern or Western Divisions. The top 10 teams on the final SEC table will advance to the 2013 SEC Tournament to be held in Orange Beach, Ala., from Nov. 4-10.
Information provided by Chris Shoals (UK Athletics)
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