Women's Soccer
UK Women’s Soccer Returns to SEC Play on Thursday at Florida

UK Women’s Soccer Returns to SEC Play on Thursday at Florida

by Chandler Brandes

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Returning to Southeastern Conference play following a shutout in the non-conference finale, the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team is set to play at Florida on Thursday, Sept. 23. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

The Wildcats will arrive in Gainesville with a 6-2-2 (0-1) record on the year, most recently posting a 4-0 victory over Bellarmine at home on Sept. 19. It marked UK’s fourth shutout this season and the third multi-goal game of 2021 for Hannah Richardson, who also netted two against Louisiana and Oakland.

Kentucky hits the road for just the fourth time this season — and the second time to the Sunshine State after playing at South Florida last month — as six of its 10 games thus far have been played on home turf. The Wildcats picked up their first road win in nearly two years on Sept. 9 after a 6-0 win at Eastern Kentucky, which are the most goals recorded in a single game under head coach Ian Carry.

Jordyn Rhodes and Richardson pace UK with eight goals apiece, good enough to rank second in the SEC standings while the dynamic duo’s 0.80 goals per game is tied for third. Additionally, Rhodes’ 21 points on the year sits atop the conference leaderboard and her 2.10 points per game ranks third. 

Between the posts, Laura Nielsen has recorded 41 saves to rank second in the league only behind the 46 Florida’s Alexa Goldberg has made. Nielsen’s 4.10 saves per game also ranks third, and her .820 save percentage is fourth amongst all SEC goalkeepers.

As Kentucky returns to conference play, four Wildcats found themselves on the SEC preseason watch list before the season opener in August. 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.

After back-to-back double overtime draws, Florida enters Thursday’s contest with a 1-5-3 (0-0-1) record. Kit Loferski has a team-high three goals and six points and Goldberg has a .723 save percentage. Loferski, Madison Alexander, and Kouri Peace were all named to the SEC preseason watch list for the Gators, who are led by first-year head coach Tony Amato.

Florida owns the all-time series record at 5-24-3, and the Gators and Wildcats met twice during the 2020 campaign. UK bested UF, 3-1, in the home finale behind goals from Rhodes and Richardson for its first triumph of the year. The two programs then faced each other again a week later in the first round of the SEC Tournament, with Florida pulling off a 6-5 win in overtime. 
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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