The University of Kentucky women’s soccer program will begin its 28th season this weekend, traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, to compete at Vanderbilt on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. ET. The season opener will be carried on the SEC Network, with Courtney Lyle (play-by-play) and Jill Loyden (analyst) on the call.
Spectators are not permitted inside the Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex for the contest, but fans are encouraged to follow along through live scoring, tune into SEC Network or watch live on the ESPN app.
The Wildcats have returned 19 letter winners and added seven newcomers to start the fall season. The returning players are responsible for 88 percent of goals scored, 83 percent of shots taken, and 73 percent of assists dished in 2019. Furthermore, Kentucky’s top four scorers from just a season ago are back in blue, including the dangerous frontline duo in Hannah Richardson and Jordyn Rhodes.
The then-freshmen tandem combined for 34 points last season, scoring eight goals apiece and dispensing one assist apiece. The pair led the team in goals, points, shots and shots on goal as rookies, allowing them to bring a level of confidence and insight to a strict conference schedule this fall.
Richardson’s and Rhodes’ scoring record, combined with the poise and experience of redshirt-senior Marissa Bosco and senior Julia Grosso, is expected to be a threat for opponents this fall. Bosco and Grosso are returning as the third and fourth leading scorers on the team last season – three goals and two goals, respectively – and team captains.
Rounding out the team captains is the fresh face in redshirt senior and Notre Dame transfer Brooke Littman, filling the role of starting goalkeeper this fall. Littman has won the starting position 33 times for the Irish (2017-19), turning out her best season in 2019. The then-senior earned 13 starts, leading the Navy and Gold with seven wins, six shutouts and 1,230 minutes – all career highs. During that season, Littman logged 1.17 goals against average and 28 saves, allowing just 16 goals to her foes.
Littman will get a quick look at just how strong the Southeastern Conference is this weekend, as she is likely to meet the 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year, Commodore Haley Hopkins. Last season, Hopkins rallied a team-high 30 points, scoring 13 goals and six game-winning goals.
The Commodores were picked fourth in the 2020 SEC Preseason Coaches Poll. Kentucky narrowly leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt, holding a 14-13-2 overall edge, including a 6-5-1 advantage when playing on the Dores’ home pitch.
– GO CATS –
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