SEC Soccer Today: August 24 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Soccer Today: August 24

    Kentucky 2, Eastern Kentucky 1
    Alabama 2, Samford 1
    Kansas 1, Georgia 0
    Pepperdine 2, Auburn 1
    Mississippi State 3, UT-Martin 2
    Florida 0, North Carolina 0
    Tennessee 1, William & Mary 0
    Oklahoma State 3, Vanderbilt 1
    LSU 1, Rice 1

    VanLandingham, Gilliland Power UK to 2-1 Win Over EKU
    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team got goals from junior Ashley VanLandingham and sophomore Arin Gilliland Friday night in a 2-1 win over in-state foe Eastern Kentucky to move the Wildcats to 2-0-0 overall for the fourth-straight year.
    “One of the things you have to realize, and I said this before the game, is that EKU is incredibly well coached,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “I thought they did a great job. They played a little bit of low pressure up top and their back line was very high. Tactically, it gave us almost no room to play. We don’t like to play the ball over the top and the end result was that we had too. We had to play a little bit more direct and all the credit is to (EKU) coach (Lindsay) Basalyga and her staff for making it so difficult on us.”
    The opening goal in the game came in the 22nd minute off the foot of Ashley VanLandingham. Standing 25 yards away from goal, the Asheville, N.C., native launched a low, driving ball into the mouth of the goal that found its way into the back of the net on the far post. The goal was VanLandingham’s second in as many games and gives her three career goals.
    Kentucky would extend its lead to 2-0 in the 53rd minute when Lexington, Ky., native Arin Gilliland headed in a Danielle Krohn corner kick on the near post, tallying her first goal of the season and the golden goal for the Wildcats.
    EKU would chart its only goal of the game on an own goal in the 69th minute. Eastern took a ball deep in on the end line, swept it back across goal and hit Natalie Horner’s thigh, before trickling in far post for the goal.
    UK dominated the pace of play, holding most of the possession, outshooting EKU 9-1 and winning the corner kick battle 6-0.
    With the win, UK moves to 4-0-0 in the all-time series with Eastern Kentucky, posting a pair of 2-1 decisions over the Colonels in the last two years.
    “A big part of how we evaluate our team is how coachable we were and the leadership that we had. Quite honestly, tonight we didn’t solve problems well. We talked about that at halftime we (the coaches) were doing a lot of the communicating. I would rather sit down and do nothing, but unfortunately today we had to get up and do a lot more as a staff than we would have liked too. We have to get better,” Lipsitz said.
    Kentucky will play host to the second-annual Tropical Smoothie Invitational at the UK Soccer Complex next weekend. The Wildcats welcome UNC-Greensboro, Southeast Missouri State and Louisville in a tournament that will kick off Friday Aug. 31 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Louisville and SEMO will tangle in the front end of the doubleheader at 5:00, with the Wildcats and Spartans concluding the day one action with a 7:30 p.m. ET scheduled start.

    Alabama Soccer Wins Home Opener 2-1 over Samford
    Tuscaloosa, Ala.- The Alabama soccer team used a late first-half goal from freshman Katie Bourgeois to spark a 2-1 victory over in-state rival Samford, Friday night in front 1,266 fans at the Alabama Soccer Complex. It was the second largest crowd in stadium history.
    “It was the best crowd we’ve ever had in my five years here,” UA head coach Todd Bramble said. “It was the best student section, best group of fans, that we’ve had, and I think we really responded to that tonight.”
    With the win, Alabama improves to 2-0 on the year, while Samford falls to 0-2.
    After dominating for most of the first half, Alabama broke through with under a minute remaining. After holding possession at the top of the box, senior Meghan Duffy slid a through ball down the line to junior Kendall Khanna, who played a ball across the goal for a Katie Bourgeois tap in with 25 seconds remaining. It was the freshman’s second goal in as many games.
    Alabama added to its lead 12 minutes into the second half when a long throw in by Duffy led sophomore Theresa Diederich on a run into the box. After juking two defenders, Diederich buried the shot in the back post to give the Tide a 2-0 lead.
    Samford pulled to within a goal with less than 30 minutes remaining when McKenzie Thomas slipped one in through a scrum in front of the goal. Overall, Alabama outshot the Bulldogs 26-7 on the night, and enjoyed an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. Junior Molly Atherton had six shots on the night for the Tide, while junior goalkeeper Shelby Church made three saves.
    Alabama hits the road Sunday, as they travel to Birmingham to face UAB. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., at the UAB West Campus Stadium.

    Georgia Soccer Suffers First Loss At Kansas
    LAWRENCE, Kan. - The Georgia soccer team suffered its first loss of 2012 in its first road game of the season, falling 1-0 to host Kansas in KU Invitational action Friday night at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex in Lawrence.
    Georgia surrendered the go-ahead goal in the 22nd minute and would be unable to answer as the Bulldogs’ record slipped to 2-1 on the early season. Kansas improves to 2-1 with the win.
    “Kansas is a very good team,” said head coach Steve Holeman. “They’re very well-coached, very organized. It was a great battle out there tonight. I thought last weekend we didn’t play particularly well but got two wins, and tonight we battled incredibly hard from start to finish. If we get that performance from our team every night we’re going to win a lot of games. We’re obviously disappointed with the loss, but at the end of the day we can walk away with our heads held high.”
    The Jayhawks’ goal came with 22:59 on the clock in the first half on a loose ball in front that was finished up by KU’s Caroline Kastor into the bottom left corner past keeper Ashley Baker.
    The Bulldogs had their chances at the equalizer in the first, including a play where Alexa Newfield fired in a cross that Meghan Gibbons got a head on but sailed just wide. With 18 minutes left in the first, Susannah Dennis placed a header on frame after a Nicole Locandro free kick, but it was pulled in by Kansas goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau.
    At halftime shots were even at 6-6 with Georgia still searching for their first tally. The Bulldogs continued to keep the pressure on as the second half got underway, but the Kansas defense – anchored by center back Madi Hillis – was able to keep the Bulldogs at bay and guard the lead on their home field.
    With 18 minutes to go in the contest, Newfield had a great shot that set up a UGA corner kick chance and another one just after it, but Georgia couldn’t find the finish.
    Then with six minutes remaining Nikki Hill had a long free kick go in to Dennis, whose touch on it went wide. And with under two minutes to go and Georgia scrambling for the equalizer, Newfield fired a rocket at the top right that the keeper punched out to set up a corner, but Georgia couldn’t convert on it.
    The final score went 1-0 in favor of Kansas, with shots 11-9 in KU’s favor. Liebetrau finished with three saves for the Jayhawks while Baker stopped two for Georgia. Newfield led the Bulldogs’ offense with three shots on the night, with sophomore Tori Cooper adding three off the bench.
    This marked Georgia’s first loss to Kansas in history, now with an all-time record of 3-1 vs. KU and 6-4-1 all-time vs. Big 12 foes.
    The Bulldogs will be back in action in Lawrence on Sunday, taking on South Dakota State in neutral-site action beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. Live audio and the live blog will be running on beginning just before kickoff.

    No. 21 Auburn Falls To No. 8 Pepperdine, 2-1
    MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 21 Auburn soccer team lost for the first time in the 2012 season, falling 2-1 at No. 8 Pepperdine on Friday afternoon. The loss drops Auburn’s record to 2-1-0 while Pepperdine is now 2-0-0.
    “I think this is a game we are going to be able to learn a lot from. Pepperdine is a great team and they are deservedly a top-25 team,” Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. “We made a lot of young mistakes. It’s early in the season and we are relying on a lot of young players and a lot of players in different positions. I think if we made a few less mistakes I think we would have had a chance to win the game.”
    Facing a two-goal deficit just three minutes into the second half, Auburn got within a goal in the 55th minute on Alexa Allen’s second goal of the season but Auburn was unable to find the back of the net the rest of the way as Pepperdine, which took 15 shots to Auburn’s 12, controlled the pace of the play late.
    Pepperdine struck first in the 35th minute when Anisa Guajardo fired a shot in high that Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard was able to put the mitts on but was unable to stop. The goal came with just 10:02 remaining in the first half off of a Lynn Williams cross, a lead it would hold into halftime and Auburn’s first deficit of the season.
    Pepperdine wasted little time coming out of the break to take a two goal lead as Amanda LeCave beat Howard with a shot to the post in the 48th minute.
    Auburn answered in the 55th minute to make it a one-goal game, 2-1. Natalie Donaldson found herself deep in the corner and crossed one through the box that Tatiana Coleman one-touched back to Allen, who buried the ball in the back of the net.
    Auburn had two quality chances in the first but was foiled by a pair of Pepperdine defenders. Tori Ball put a shot on frame following a Mary Coffed corner in the 11th minute but her shot found the chest of a Pepperdine back just in front of the goal line. Coleman’s scoring chance in the 28th minute was also stopped by a Pepperdine defender as her sharp-angle shot on frame was past Pepperdine goalkeeper Erinn Middo but found a Pepperdine defender, who headed out the clear.
    Each goalkeeper finished with five saves in the match.
    Auburn remains in California for its next match, Sunday at 5pm CT at UC Irvine.

    Pair of Sullivan Goals Rallies MSU to 3-2 Win Over UT-Martin
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Elisabeth Sullivan scored a career-best two goals, and freshman Honeye Heydari added her second in as many matches as the Mississippi State soccer team rallied in the second half to down UT Martin 3-2 in the Bulldog Classic at the MSU Soccer Field.
    Sullivan gave MSU a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute. After UT Martin equalized in the 79th, she struck the game-winner a minute later.
    “It was amazing. We never gave up, and we kept pushing through,” Sullivan said of her two-goal effort.
    Heydari assisted State’s second goal, giving her three points on the night. In her first two college matches, the Jackson, Tenn., native has five points on two goals and an assist.
    “Honeye and Elisabeth were outstanding in the second half. We talked at halftime about giving quality balls to Honeye’s feet and everyone else playing off her,” Neil Macdonald said. “In the first half we knocked the long ball, but Honeye is much better with the ball at her feet. That was one of the major factors that changed the pace of the game in the second half.”
    State improved to 2-0 with the win, and advances to Sunday’s championship game against South Alabama at 2 p.m. The first 50 fans to that game receive free sandwiches from Hardee’s.
    “We had another fantastic crowd tonight. We really thank our fans for coming out, and we need them back out here Sunday,” Neil Macdonald said. “We really want to win the Bulldog Classic for our fans, so we need a big crowd out here supporting us.”
    The Skyhawks struck first as, 11 minutes in, Kendyl Wilson lined a cross that deflected off MSU goalie Skylar Rosson, bounced off the underside of the crossbar and went into the goal.
    Heydari and senior Zehra Syed had equalizing opportunities, but the two were unable to beat UTM keeper Mariah Klenke as the Skyhawks took the 1-0 advantage to halftime.
    “We were caught in the first half,” Macdonald said. “We hadn’t played a game at that speed since the SEC last season. They played Vanderbilt last weekend, so they were used to a faster speed of play. I think we took too long to adjust to the speed of play tonight, but by the second half we started to dictate the tempo.”
    Mississippi State came out re-energized in the second half. Three minutes into the stanza, Amy Hoover found Heydari down the left side. The Jackson, Tenn., native dribbled toward goal and hit a shot that beat Klenke to the top shelf for the tying score.
    Sullivan gave the Dawgs the lead in the 66th minute. Dana Forbes hit a pass to Heydari, who then flicked a pass to Sullivan. The Memphis native dribbled by her defender and slotted a ball by into the back of the net.
    The Skyhawks wouldn’t go away though. In the 79th minute, Hannah McGowen worked down the right side of the field and served a ball into the box that Saphyr Coombs-James headed past Rosson.
    Mississippi State kept applying the pressure, though, and struck the winner a minute later. Syed delivered a pass through the defense to Sullivan. The junior had her initial chance blocked by Klenke, but she stayed with the play and tapped home the rebound to seal the win.
    UT Martin out-shot MSU 12-11, but the Dawgs were the more-accurate side, putting six attempts on target.
    Rosson saved a pair of shots, while Klenke turned away three Bulldog chances in the contest.

    Gator Soccer Ties No. 14 North Carolina 0-0

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The University of Florida soccer team (0-1-1, 0-0 SEC) and No. 14 North Carolina (0-1-1, 0-0 ACC) recorded a 0-0 double overtime time tie Friday evening in front of a Fetzer Field crowd of 4,125.

    It was the second overtime match in the 10-match series between the two teams and Friday's result was the first tie. The only other overtime went to the Tar Heels 2-1 in front of a James G. Pressly record crowd of 5,222 on Oct. 11, 1998. Florida last recorded a tie in its final match of the 2010 season, as Florida and Duke tied 0-0 2OT in NCAA Second Round play.

    Both teams had their chances Friday. Twice the Tar Heels hit the hardwood - once hitting the post in the first half and another shot deflected off the cross bar in the first overtime. The Gators had one shot recorded as on frame, but there were several chances that were just a shadow away from goal opportunities.

    Perhaps the Gators' best chance of the opening half came in the 32nd minute. Sophomore Lauren Silver, deep the Tar Heel half, sent a cross to the other side of the box. Fellow sophomore Havana Solaun had space, but couldn't get a shot off before a UNC foot poked the ball away.

    In the 55th minute, the Gators had a nice buildup of passes to move the ball through the midfield. Freshman Claire Falknor ran onto a ball played into the left side of the box, but she couldn't get a foot on it before UNC goalkeeper Anna Sieloff made a stop on it and the two collided in a heap just above the six-yard box.

    A set-play nearly resulted in the goal the Gators were looking for in the first overtime period. Florida was awarded a free kick just inside the Tar Heel half in the 96th minute. Freshman Christen Westphal sent the ball into the box where senior Holly King headed it across the face of the goal. Solaun was at the far post. She couldn't get a play on the ball before Sieloff made the stop.

    In the second overtime, senior All-American Erika Tymrak brought the ball into the box in the 105th minute. She took a shot, but it was blocked by a UNC defender. The final shot of the match came off the foot of North Carolina's Hanna Gardner with just 25 seconds remaining. Sophomore Gator goalkeeper Taylor Burke recorded her fifth save of the evening to record a clean sheet.

    Florida continues play in Chapel Hill on Sunday with a match versus No. 2 Duke (3-0, 0-0 ACC). Duke posted a 5-1 win over the University of Montreal Friday in the opening match of the Carolina Nike Classic. Match time is 1 p.m. the match can be heard on ESPN 850/900, by simulcast on Cox Channel 946 (Gainesville/Ocala) or on<> with Adam Schick calling the action.

    Brown Lifts Tennessee to 1-0 Double OT Win Over William & Mary

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Caroline Brown scored a penalty kick in the second overtime period to lead Tennessee to a 1-0 victory over William & Mary to start the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic at Regal Stadium.

    Brown drilled the free kick into the right corner outside the reach of the goalkeeper to end the match with 3:26 left in overtime and help Tennessee to a 3-0 start for the first time in program history.

    William & Mary dropped to 0-2.

    Tennessee certainly had its chances - and many near misses - before Brown's winning strike. The squad outshot William & Mary 31-5, almost twice as many shots as the team had taken in its season-opening wins against WKU (17 shots) and Samford (16).

    The first half was a scoreless battle with UT enjoying a 14-1 shot advantage. William & Mary applied some early pressure in the first 10 minutes, keeping the Lady Vols on their heels. Tennessee responded with a with attacking runs mostly on the left side of the field with Ashlee Burt firing four shots (one on goal) off the bench before the break.

    Sophomore goalkeeper Julie Eckel had three saves to record her second shutout of the season, both of them coming at home. She has given up just one goal in three matches this season.

    In the first match of the Lady Vol Classic, Akron defeated VCU 2-1.

    The tournament picks back up Sunday with the Lady Vols playing VCU at 3 p.m.

    Vanderbilt's Williams' first not enough vs. No. 4 OSU

    STILLWATER, Okla. - Vanderbilt mounted a second-half charge against Oklahoma State, but freshman Cheyna Williams' first career goal was not enough and the Commodores fell to the fourth-ranked Cowgirls, 3-1.

    The opening minutes of the match were played primarily in the center of the pitch, with neither team able to mount much offensive possession. The game's first shot did not come until the 18th minute--a chance by VU senior Dana Schwartz that sailed high.

    The Cowgirls broke the scoreless tie in the 31st minute when Allie Stephenson scored her first goal of the season. Stephenson dribbled her way into the 18-yard box and beat Commodore keeper Alexa Levick to give OSU a 1-0 lead.

    "In the first half we were not finding the feet of our wide forwards," VU Head Coach Derek Greene said. "That was our plan in the second half. We got them more involved and put more pressure on their side of the field."

    The game opened up in the second half, and it was again Vanderbilt that mounted the first attack when Williams fired a shot over the crossbar in the 48th minute. Four minutes later, Oklahoma State mounted another attack. This time, Stephenson played through ball to Megan Marchesano--whose speed got her behind the Commodore defense--and Marchesano's first touch sent the ball low and just inside the far post to make the score 2-0 OSU.

    In the 64th minute, the Commodores broke through when three freshmen combined for a goal. Andie Lakin collected a ball near midfield and dribbled through two OSU defenders toward the edge of the 18-yard box. Lakin's low pass from right to left was deflected by classmate Lina Granados before ending up at Williams' feet. The Hampton, Ga., native struck a bending ball toward the back post that OSU goalkeeper AD Franch deflected but could not keep out.

    "Andie Lakin was fantastic for us at center mid," Greene said. "She earned her first start tonight because she was a calming presence for us when she came in against UT Martin, and we saw more of that tonight with her technical abilities."

    Vanderbilt had a number of good chances in the game's final 15 minutes, but could not capitalize. After junior Abby Carr won a VU free kick from 22 yards out, freshman Jamie Kator struck a ball that was just deflected wide of OSU's far post. On the ensuing corner kick, sophomore Brittney Thomas had a chance for a header just outside the six yard box but could not re-direct the ball on frame.

    With Vanderbilt pushing numbers ahead, OSU mounted one final counterattack in the 82nd minute. After a Stephenson shot was knocked wide by Levick, Cowgirl Makenzie Kahan scored on a header off the ensuing corner kick.

    Oklahoma State held a 14-10 advantage in shots on the evening, though Williams' four shots led all players. Levick was credited with four assists on the night.

    "I felt good about the way the team performed, especially to bounce back the way we did," Greene said. "Oklahoma State is a great team, so to come into their house with this big crowd, I'm please with our performance. But now we have to put this loss behind us and get ready for Oklahoma."

    The Commodores next travel south from Stillwater to face Oklahoma in Norman on Sunday, Aug. 26. The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT kick-off.

    LSU Soccer Draws Rice in Front of Record Crowd in Home Opener, 1-1
    BATON ROUGE – A record crowd of 2,624 fans packed the LSU Soccer Stadium to witness the LSU Tigers play the Rice Owls to a 1-1 draw as sophomore striker Kaley Blades scored the equalizer in the 74th minute in Friday’s home opener for the 2012 season.
    With the Tigers trailing the Owls by a 1-0 margin late in the second half, Blades drew the Tigers level at the 73:10 mark when she buried a rebound from inside the six-yard box after an initial shot by freshman winger Fernanda Pina was parried down by Rice goalkeeper Amy Czyz. Blades opened her account when she cleaned up the loose ball to tie the score at 1-1.
    Blades set a career-high with six shots on the night, including a team-leading three shots on frame. She nearly delivered the knockout blow two minutes into the first overtime when she rifled a strike off the crossbar from the penalty spot.
    “Fernanda (Pina) was creating chances for us all night, and Kaley’s (Blades) work rate was rewarded with a head’s up play to tie the score for the team,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “Student and fan support was fantastic tonight. Friday nights in Baton Rouge are special, and it was a lot of fun for us to play in that type of environment in our home opener. I know our student-athletes and support staff appreciate our supporters for their impact on the game.”
    Senior midfielder Natalie Ieyoub also had an opportunity to net the game-winner in the second overtime period after making a run into the right side of the area and ringing a shot off the left post from 12 yards in the 105th minute. Pina then whistled a volley over the crossbar and out of play for a Rice goal kick.
    Rice midfielder Holly Hargreaves broke the ice in the 16th minute of play and gave the Owls an early 1-0 lead against the run of play when she took possession past the midfield stripe, picked up her head and fired a 35-yard laser inside the left post over the outstretched arms of LSU’s junior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman.
    After Blades netted the equalizer in the 74th minute, the Tigers were given a man advantage when Rice midfielder Lauren Busansky was booked with her second yellow card of the night in the 86th minute of play, but were unable to capitalize with a winning goal over the final 24 minutes of action.
    The Tigers were dominant throughout the match as they finished with a 28-13 advantage in total shots with a 12-6 edge in shots on goal. They also led with a 6-2 margin in corner kicks on the night.
    The Tigers continue their 10-game homestand on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the NC State Wolfpack to Baton Rouge for a match that is set to kickoff at 1:07 p.m. CT at the LSU Soccer Stadium. LSU will make its television debut as Cox Sports Television will broadcast Sunday’s match to a regional audience across the Southeast.
    “It’s going to be just like an SEC weekend,” Lee said. “We go through it every year where the Friday night game is up and back, and then the Sunday game is a real test of fitness and mental toughness for our team. It’s part of the determination of how well you take care of your body between Friday night and Sunday afternoon that can help decide the game.”