Women's Soccer
Wildcats Look to Continue Momentum at Eastern Kentucky on Thursday

Wildcats Look to Continue Momentum at Eastern Kentucky on Thursday

by Chandler Brandes

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Looking to build upon the momentum from a 4-1 victory over the weekend, the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team hits the road for the third time this season as it travels to Eastern Kentucky on Thursday, Sept. 9. The match is set for 4 p.m. at the EKU Soccer Complex and will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

The Wildcats are seeking their first win on the road in two years, the last which ironically came on Sept. 12, 2019, when UK defeated EKU, 2-0, in Richmond. Kentucky enters Thursday’s contest with a 3-1-2 record on the year, most recently posting a 4-1 win over Oakland on Sept. 5 at home. 

UK has 13 goals through the first six matches, just two shy of the 15 goals scored during the entire fall slate in 2020. While four players accounted for the 15 goals scored last season, five Wildcats have already found the back of the net at least once, including Jordyn Rhodes and Hannah Richardson who lead UK with five goals apiece. The team has also recorded 12 assists so far this season, surpassing the eight it registered all of last year. 

Rhodes and Richardson pace Kentucky’s explosive front line, as the juniors are tied for second in the Southeastern Conference in goals (5) and goals per game (0.83). Rhodes ranks fourth in the league with 13 points and 2.17 points per game, also producing a team-high 22 shots and 11 shots on goal. Miranda Jimenez and Rhodes both have three assists to rank fifth in the conference.

Laura Nielsen has recorded a league-leading 35 saves on the year, tallying a career-high 11 saves against Dayton on Sept. 2. Through the first six matches of her UK career, her 5.83 saves per game ranks second in the SEC standings while her .897 save percentage sits in third. Sara Makoben-Blessing, Marie Lynge Olesen, Peyton Rimko, and Caroline Trout join Nielsen on the back line, playing nearly every minute as staples on UK’s defense.

Eastern Kentucky currently owns a 3-2 mark on the year, coming off a 3-1 victory over Ohio en route to snapping the Bobcats’ unbeaten streak. Nerea de Diego and Ali Kirk pace the Colonels with two goals each while Michaela Iacono has a team-high three assists. Both Iacono and de Diego have five points, and the latter leads the team with four shots on goal through the first five games. In net, Marah Krick has registered a total of 25 saves for a .694 save percentage.

The Colonels are led by Matt Cosinuke, who has amassed an 11-19-3 record in his three years as head coach. Eastern Kentucky and all 16 of its athletic teams, including women’s soccer, officially joined the ASUN Conference on July 1, 2021. Previously competing in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Colonels were picked to finish eighth in this year’s ASUN preseason poll. 

Thursday’s match will be the ninth meeting between the two teams in program history, with Kentucky leading the all-time series at 7-1. The last meeting between the Wildcats and Colonels was on Sept. 12, 2019, when UK posted a 2-0 shutout 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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