Women's Soccer
Kentucky Begins SEC Play Against Texas A&M on Friday at the Bell

Kentucky Begins SEC Play Against Texas A&M on Friday at the Bell

by Chandler Brandes

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Currently on a three-game winning streak, the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team opens Southeastern Conference play on Friday, Sept. 17 when Texas A&M comes to the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex. 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 Friday’s contest with a 5-1-2 record on the year, most recently besting Murray State in a 3-2 decision behind Hannah Richardson’s golden goal in the first overtime period. UK has posted two shutouts on the year, and the six goals recorded at EKU on Sept. 9 are the most in a single game under head coach Ian Carry.

UK has scored 21 goals through the first eight matches of the 2021 season, surpassing the 15 goals during the entire fall slate in 2020. While four players accounted for those 15 goals a season ago, six Wildcats have already found the back of the net at least once. The team has also recorded 18 assists so far this season, more than double the eight it registered all of last year. 

Jordyn Rhodes has accumulated 21 points and 2.63 points per game to rank first in the SEC, while her eight goals and one goal per game both sit in second in the conference standings. She also ranks third in the league in shots (32) and fourth in shots per game (4), and her five assists are tied for third.  

Joining Rhodes on Kentucky’s explosive front line is Richardson, who is tied for fourth in the SEC with six goals and ranked fifth with 0.75 goals per game. After netting a pair at EKU, Marissa Bosco now sits in third on UK’s roster with three goals and seven points.

Between the posts, Laura Nielsen has recorded a league-leading 41 saves and 5.13 saves per game. Her .872 save percentage ranks fourth in the conference and her career-high 11 saves against Dayton on Sept. 2 is good enough for second in the SEC. 

As Kentucky prepares for conference play, four Wildcats found themselves on the SEC preseason watch list before the season opener last month. Rhodes was tabbed to the watch list for the second year in a row, while Julia Grosso, Maria Olsen, and Úlfa Úlfarsdóttir appeared on the list for the first time in their careers.

The Aggies will arrive in Lexington with a 4-2-1 mark on the year and are coming off a 1-1 draw with Oklahoma State. Texas A&M, who tied with Arkansas as the SEC preseason favorites, received votes in the most recent United Soccer Coaches poll. G Guerrieri is in his 29th year as the only head coach in program history, amassing a 472-142-41 as one of the winningest coaches in NCAA Division I soccer history.

Macie Kolb, Barbara Olivieri, Taylor Pounds, Karlina Sample, and Katie Smith were all named to the SEC preseason watchlist. Led by Macie Hayes with a team-high four goals and 10 points, 11 different players have found the back of the net at least once. Goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell has made 17 saves for a .739 save percentage. 

The Wildcats will look for their first win against the Aggies, who own the all-time series record at 7-0-1. The last meeting between the two teams was on Sept. 26, 2019, with Texas A&M posting a 6-1 win in College Station. Richardson scored UK’s lone goal in the 75th minute. 

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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