Wildcats Impress in Season Opener, Beat Ball State, 3-0
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kicking off the Troy Fabiano era with a bang, Kentucky women’s soccer scored a convincing 3-0 win over Ball State on Thursday night at the Wendell and Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.
Hadley Williams, Madison Jones and Jordyn Rhodes tallied a goal apiece and the Wildcats backline proved staunch, as UK got the 2022-23 Kentucky Athletics campaign off to a flying start in front of a crowd of nearly 400 fans.
“I’m just excited for the first one,” Fabiano, who was coaching in his first game at UK after spending the last seven seasons at Milwaukee, said. “The girls came out and competed. I thought we got better as the game went along.”
Williams, a junior transfer from North Texas, picked up the season’s first goal in the 16th minuute. After Hailey Farrington-Bentil played a ball into the box from the right corner, Hannah Richardson managed to poke a shot on target that was turned aside by Cardinals’ keeper, Bethany Moser. The rebound, however, found Williams in a dangerous position and the Prosper, Texas native proceeded to hammer a low shot that glanced off a Ball State defender before trickling across the goal line.
The score line remained 1-0 for the remainder of the opening half, and the Wildcats headed into intermission with the advantage. At the intermission, UK had not allowed a BSU shot, were outshooting the Cardinals, 9-0, and had three corner kicks to its name.
Kentucky turned up the intensity in half number two, generating numerous chances in transition and twice capitalizing on terrific runs.
In the 66th minute, freshman Madison Jones scored in her first game as a Wildcat, benefitting from a terrific ball by transfer Rafferty Kugler with a one-timer into the back of the net to make the score 2-0. Just under four minutes later, senior Jordyn Rhodes chipped in a goal of her own, gathering a cross from Ulfa Úlfarsdóttir and burying the finish just inside the right post.
In all, Kentucky peppered 12 shots on net and did not allow a single shot on target from the opposition over 90 minutes of action. A total of six Wildcats’ recorded a point on the night, including three newcomers.
The team returns to the pitch on Sunday when they hit the road to take on UT Martin. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. EST on ESPN+.