Kentucky Women’s Soccer Set to Open 2017 UK Athletics Calendar
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s soccer team will open the 2017 UK Athletics calendar year on Friday night, as the Wildcats will play the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison with kick-off slated for 8 p.m. ET on BTN2Go. The opening weekend of action will conclude on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET as UK plays in Milwaukee against Marquette.
Friday will mark the beginning of a new era for UK, as Ian Carry takes over as head coach after a four-year stint as an assistant coach within the program. Carry has led the Wildcats through an immensely successful spring season and preseason training – and will take the field Friday for the first time as an NCAA head coach.
The Wildcats return eight starters from a year ago, including both of its All-Southeastern Conference performers from a season ago. Freshman goalkeeper Evangeline Soucie returns in the net as one of the best pure shot-stoppers in the nation. In addition, UK brings back its leading two goal scorers from 2016, including senior Mexican International player, Tanya Samarzich.
It will be a tough test for the Wildcats this weekend, facing two teams that went to the NCAA Tournament a season ago. The Badgers advanced past Marquette in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament – before suffering a second-round loss in double overtime at Florida. The Golden Eagles were the Co-Champs of the Big East in 2016, advancing into the field of 64 with an at-large selection by the selection committee.
Under the direction of Paula Wilkins, who will be entering her 11th year at the helm of the Badgers – the Wisconsin Badgers enter the 2017 season coming off of a NCAA Tournament berth. The Badgers advanced past Marquette in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before dropping a 3-2 double-overtime match to Florida in Gainesville in the second round. For the first time since 2013, the Badgers will be without the midfield service of Rose Lavelle – who was the first overall pick in the 2017 NWSL Draft to the Boston Breakers. Wisconsin has three seniors and no juniors on their roster – making them one of the youngest teams in the nation this season.
Marquette enters the 2017 season off of another NCAA Tournament berth a season ago. The Golden Eagles advanced to the first round, where they lost 1-0 to Wisconsin on the road in Madison. This season, MU has four seniors on the roster, and also return their leading goal scorer from a year ago, Carrie Madden. Madden led the Golden Eagles with 17 points last season including six goals and five assists. The Golden Eagles lost 4-1 in a preseason friendly to Wisconsin last week.
Friday, Aug. 18 – Kentucky at Wisconsin; 8 p.m. ET; Madison, Wisc.
Live stats: UKathletics.com
Live video: BTN2Go ($)
Sunday, Aug. 20 – Kentucky at Marquette; 3:30 p.m. ET; Milwaukee, Wisc.
Live stats: UKathletics.com
Live video: Big East Digital Network
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s soccer team, follow @UKWomensSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.