Kentucky Earns 1-1 Draw vs. Texas A&M in SEC Opener
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Kentucky women’s soccer (6-0-2, 0-0-1 SEC) battled for a hard-earned road point against Texas A&M (3-3-2, 0-0-1 SEC), drawing the Aggies, 1-1, at Ellis Field on Friday night. The draw is the first result for Kentucky in its SEC opener since the 2015 season.
After a defensive start to proceedings, the action picked up right before the halftime whistle. In the 40th minute, Mia Bookhard earned Kentucky the team’s first PK of the season when she was taken down from behind in the box by an Aggies’ defender.
Taking the penalty, Jordyn Rhodes’ shot was initially stopped by goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell, but the rebound popped back out to the Kentucky striker, who finished into the open goal with her right foot. The score was the 43rd of Rhodes’ Kentucky career, moving the fifth year within one of Kim LaBelle for the most goals in program history.
The Aggies were able to equalize before the half on a goal from senior Kate Colvin in the 44th minute. Colvin headed home a cross from Sam Smith for her third goal of the season and the teams headed to the intermission level at one.
The second half began much like the first, with few quality chances to be found. Kentucky had its best opportunity in the 76th minute, when freshman Grace Hoytink played a high curling cross that was headed by Rhodes. Caldwell made a sprawling save for A&M, diving toward the right post to make the stop.
Texas A&M had a couple late chances, but the Wildcats held strong and kept a go-ahead goal off the board. In the 86th minute, Kentucky’s Marz Josephson was forced to make one of her two saves on the night, diving to her left to stop a shot from the Aggies’ Mia Pante. Then, with less than a minute remaining, a Texas A&M corner from Pante found its way through the Kentucky defense and across the mouth of the goal before the danger was cleared by Hoytink.
The match finished with shots on goal favoring the Wildcats, 6-3. UK also earned five corners to A&M’s four. Maggy Henschler, Taya Hjorth and Grace Philpotts all saw a full 90 minutes of action on the night, while 10 of the Wildcats’ 11 starters played at least 80 minutes.
Kentucky returns home to take on No. 9 South Carolina on Thursday for its SEC home opener. The match is set for a 7:30 p.m. start at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex and will air on SECN+.