KNOXVILLE, Tenn. â€“ The UK womenâ€™s soccer team (7-4-1, 1-2-1 SEC) capped a successful weekend with a 1-0 win on the road over the Tennessee Lady Vols (5-6-1, 2-1-1) at Regal Stadium on Sunday.
After earning a point off a 1-1 tie at No. 17 Georgia on Friday night, the Wildcats picked up three more crucial points with the win in Knoxville, the teamâ€™s first since there since the 2006 season.
The win and tie on the weekend gave UK four crucial points on the weekend in the conference standings, something UK hadnâ€™t accomplished since the 2004 season. Head coach Jon Lipsitz credited the weekendâ€™s success to his teamâ€™s hard fight and courageousness.
â€œ(We were) incredibly courageous, and have done a very good job dealing with whatever issues are thrown at us, whether itâ€™s injuries, or the difficulties the other team presents; whatever it is, we just continue to play,â€ Lipsitz said. â€œIâ€™m proud of us for how hard we played in a very difficult environment, on a Sunday when we were tired. I told the team at halftime, I couldnâ€™t care how less how tired they were; I couldnâ€™t care less about their bumps and bruises; that in 45 minutes when we won the game Iâ€™d be glad to care. But for 45 minutes it was all about how hard we were willing to fight for one another, what kind of teammates we were and then we could be as sore as we want after we win the game.
â€œIâ€™m not sure Iâ€™ve ever taken a team on the road for a weekend and had such a great following that was so incredibly vocal. We couldnâ€™t do this without our fans and all the parents and friends that care so much about these student-athletes. A huge thank you to them for their support.â€
Alyssa Telang had an opportunity to put the Cats in front in the 20th minute. UK had numbers in transition and the ball came over to Telang. She dribbled toward the end line, faked out a Lady Vol defender and had an open look at the goal from 10 yards out, but her shot sailed just left of the post.
UK did get on the board in the 37th minute off a set piece and conversion from Caitlin Landis. Tennessee was whistled for a foul at midfield. Laura Novikoff took the free kick and delivered a ball to the top of the 18-yard box. Natalie Horner dove and flicked a ball to Landis who was flying in from the outside. Landis took the pass and pushed the ball under UT goalie Molly Baird for the score and 1-0 Kentucky lead.
The Wildcats came out firing in the second half, getting a couple shots early on. Landis took the first one, running down a long ball and trying to chip a shot, but it floated wide left of the far post. Horner had the second attempt off a corner kick. Telang took the kick from the far side and found Horner wide open in front of the goal. Horner took a stab with her foot but sailed it over the goal. The Lady Vols threatened to tie with a flurry of action in front of the goal over the final six minutes. It all began with a corner kick that Sydney Hiance deflected away. After that Tennessee produced several shots but each time a UK defender was there to knock the ball the away.
The win marked the fifth shutout for Hiance and the 20th of her career, moving her to a tie for second on UKâ€™s all-time shutout list.
â€œSyd continues to grow every week in our program,â€ said Lipsitz. â€œThis week we did some very specific things about having her take more control of the backline. Youâ€™ve got a senior who is half way through her last year and weâ€™re still asking her to develop and not rest on who she is. Itâ€™s that continued development that makes her such a special part of our program.â€
Hianceâ€™s success on the weekend (one goal in 200 minutes) came just a week after she had one of the most disastrous weekends of her career, allowing seven goals in two matches.
â€œIt tells me how much sheâ€™s matured,â€ Lipsitz said. â€œA year ago, we would have spent a week trying to build her up after a few goals were scored on her and this year there was no time for negatives, there was no time to worry about how Sydney was feeling. We knew she was ready, we knew she wanted to have a big weekend and we coached her totally from positives, giving her more control because she got scored on, not less and putting more challenges on her and thatâ€™s just a sign of her maturity and leadership.â€
The Wildcats play out the remaining two games of their four-game road stretch next weekend, traveling to Baton Rouge, La. and Fayetteville, Ark.
UK Post Game Notes
-Freshman Caitlin Landis recorded her fourth goal of the season moving her into the Top 10 on UKâ€™s all-time freshman goal scoring list.
-Cassie Ransdell saw her first action of the season.
-Laura Novikoff recorded her first point of the season. It was her second career assist.
-Kentucky scored first for the eighth time this season. UK is 6-1-1 in games that they scored first.
-The Wildcats led 1-0 at the half. UK is 5-0-0 when leading at halftime.
-Sydney Hiance recorded her 20th career shutout moving her to a tie for second on UKâ€™s all-time shutout list.
-The last time UK picked up four points on the road with a win and a tie was in the 2004 season when the Cats defeated LSU in Baton Rouge and tied Arkansas in Fayetteville.