Women's Soccer
UK Women’s Soccer Set to Host Dayton on Thursday Night

UK Women’s Soccer Set to Host Dayton on Thursday Night

by Chandler Brandes

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Looking to remain undefeated on home turf this season, the University of Kentucky women’s soccer program returns to the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex on Thursday, Sept. 2 for a matchup against Dayton. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.

Admission to all matches at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex will be free to the public for the 2021 season. For those unable to attend in person, the game will be carried on SEC Network+ with Dave Baker on the call.

The Wildcats enter Thursday’s match with a 2-1-1 record, coming off their first loss of the season at No. 15 South Florida on Sunday. After a 1-1 draw in the season opener at Purdue, Kentucky posted back-to-back shutouts over Marshall and Louisiana at home. UK’s five goals recorded against the Ragin’ Cajuns is the most in a regular season game under head coach Ian Carry.

Jordyn Rhodes leads the Wildcats’ offense with four goals, 10 points, 16 shots, and 10 shots on goal. She notched all three goals against the Herd for the second hat trick of her career, becoming just the second UK player to ever record more than one. Through the first four matches, she is tied for second in the Southeastern Conference in goals (4), goals per game (1), and points (10), also ranking fourth in shots (16) and shots per game (4).

Joining Rhodes on Kentucky’s explosive frontline is Hannah Richardson, who recorded the first multi-goal game of her career versus the Ragin’ Cajuns. Marissa Bosco and Sara Makoben-Blessing both have one goal on the year while Miranda Jimenez, Maria Olsen, Rhodes, and Úlfa Úlfarsdóttir all have two assists. 

Coming off a career-high seven saves at South Florida, Laura Nielsen has recorded 20 total for a .870 save percentage to rank second in both categories in the SEC. Makoben-Blessing, Marie Lynge Olesen, Peyton Rimko, and Caroline Trout join Nielsen on the backline, playing nearly every minute as staples on UK’s defense.

Dayton will arrive in Lexington with a 3-1 record on the year, most recently dropping a 1-0 decision at Toledo. The Flyers were picked to finish second in the A-10 preseason poll behind three-time defending champion St. Louis, and sophomore Itala Gemelli was also recognized by the league as a preseason all-conference performer. The forward was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year in 2020 after leading both the team and the conference with nine goals.

Junior midfielder Marlee Taylor paces the Flyers this year with four goals and eight points, taking 12 shots with eight on target. Five different players have tallied five goals so far this season while six players have recorded one assist. Goalkeeper Madelyn Dewey has made five saves for a 0.714 save percentage, and Dayton’s backline has limited opponents to just 19 shots through the first four matches.

The Flyers are led by head coach Eric Golz, who has amassed a 37-35-8 record in his five years at the helm. He has guided Dayton to A-10 championship appearances all four years thus far, and the 2020-21 season marked the 24th consecutive time the program has earned a tournament berth. 

Thursday’s contest will be the eighth meeting between the two teams in program history, with Kentucky leading the all-time series at 4-2-1. The last meeting between the Wildcats and Flyers was on Sept. 8, 2013, when UK defeated Dayton, 3-1, on the road.

For the latest on the Kentucky women’s soccer program, follow @UKWomensSoccer on Twitter and on Instagram, on Facebook, and on the web at UKathletics.com.

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