It was a thrilling home finale under the lights on Friday night, as the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team defeated Florida, 3-1, at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex to earn its first triumph of the season. The Wildcats advance to a 1-4-3 conference record, collecting a total of six points ahead of the 2020 Southeastern Conference Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama, November 13-22.
Kentucky scored a season-high three goals in the contest to help defeat Florida for the first time since October 19, 2014, and just the fifth time in the all-time series.
Kentucky and Florida tied in shots taken in the game, sending 15 each, as UK aimed five of those 15 shots on frame.
Jordyn Rhodes had an admirable night, scoring the first goal of the game in the 42nd minute, helping Kentucky take a 1-0 lead before halftime. It happened on a penalty kick, as the sophomore sent the ball past goalkeeper Susi Espinoza in the center of the net.
Remarkably, Rhodes is 4-of-4 on penalty kicks this season.
Florida equalized the contest in the 55th minute, as Gator Parker Roberts launched a ball in the top right corner of the net on a long kick from left field.
Kentucky withstood the pressure of a tied game, as Rhodes and fellow sophomore forward Hannah Richardson tag teamed a pair of thrilling goals to finish out the 90 minutes.
In the 67th minute, Richardson used her speed to gun through the Gator defensive line to score her first goal of the season on a header assist from Rhodes. Richardson, who has played limited minutes all season because of a preseason injury, jumped to an impressive nine goals in her career, after being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team just last season. She rallied two shots on goal in the contest, recording five total this season.
It wasn’t more than 12 minutes later, the pair had threatened the defensive line and Espinoza once again. Rhodes taped the ball low in the net in the 79th minute, after a long cross from Richardson in far-left field.
Rhodes continues to lead the team and the conference with seven goals this season, while she also leads the team with 14 goals in her career. Moreover, she is the only player on the team who has scored at least two goals in a game this season, having done it twice this season – in the season opener and in the season closer.
Meanwhile, Kentucky’s defensive line held a threatening forward group to a season-low 15 shots. Brooke Littman in the net rallied nine saves, recording the second-most saves she’s made in a game this season and in her experienced career. The redshirt senior continues to lead the conference in saves this season, making a save a reliable 52 times.
Littman competed for all of 90 minutes in the game, en route to competing every minute of the eight-game regular season. Caroline Trout and Úlfa Úlfarsdóttir join Littman in that club, competing for all 480 minutes of the regular season.
Next up, Kentucky will compete at the 2020 SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama, November 13-22. The Wildcats will make their first conference tournament appearance since 2015, and they’ll look to earn their first conference tournament win since 2014. More information about the tournament will be available at a later date.
– GO CATS –
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