Jordyn Rhodes, Kentucky, Make History in Win Over No. 9 Alabama
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In front of 2,041 members of Big Blue Nation, the still-unbeaten Kentucky Women’s Soccer program (7-0-4, 1-0-3 SEC) notched a historic, 2-1 win over No. 9 Alabama (7-2-4, 1-2-1 SEC) at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex on Friday night.
Fifth-Year Jordyn Rhodes scored both goals for the Wildcats, shattering the school record for career goals with the 44th and 45th goals of her storied time in Lexington. With her performance tonight, the South Lebanon, Ohio native broke Kim Labelle’s previous mark of 44, set from 1994-1997.
”Honestly, I’m just so proud,” Rhodes said. ”I couldn’t have done it without all my teammates. It means so much. We’ve been so close my whole career and I’m glad to be a part of it trending upward.”
The victory marked a series of firsts for the Wildcats, who tallied all three points in a conference contest for the first time since an Oct. 24, 2021 victory over Mizzou. With the victory, Head Coach Troy Fabiano, in his second year at Kentucky, earned his first career SEC victory. Additionally, the Cats earned their first ranked win since upsetting No. 15 Arkansas in 2016, and the first top-10 win in a decade, a 2014 win over No. 5 Florida at the Bell.
It was a tightly contested contest, with Alabama holding a slight edge in possession, 51 percent to 49 percent. However, Kentucky held the advantage on shots, 12-11, and shots on goal, 3-2.
The Cats raced to a fast start as senior midfielder Anna Young launched a long range, fifth minute shot that sailed just high of the crossbar. The Crimson Tide would eventually build some possession late in the first half, but the Kentucky backline held strong, holding a 0-0 score line at the break.
After the teams returned from the locker room, Kentucky would continue to exert itself on the defending SEC Champions. In the 60th minute, Jordyn Rhodes capitalized on a midfield ball by Grace Hoytink. Played from near the centerline, Rhodes gained possession, dribbled through the defense and rocketed the record-tying goal off the Tide keeper and into the net to place the Cats ahead, 1-0.
Alabama, a College Cup participant from a year ago, responded with urgency, nearly scoring on multiple occasions following a 68th minute corner kick. Two minutes later, Crimson Tide midfielder Nadia Ramadan and Gessica Skorka would play a great give-and-go on a possession started by goalkeeper Coralie Lallier. Ramadan dribbled from near midfield to the 18-yard mark, played the ball wide to Skorka, who then found Ramadan with space in the box, allowing her to equalize the match.
The Cats would not be held down by the concession, earning a fateful corner kick some five minutes later. In the 75th minute, Grace Phillpotts played a wonderful ball into the six-yard box, finding the head of Rhodes, who slotted the go-ahead goal into the top left corner.
With Kentucky leading 2-1, graduate goalkeeper Marz Josephson would make her only save of the night in the 79th minute, denying Itala Gemelli from close-range to preserve the lead.
In the 83rd minute, Rhodes would have a chance at a hat trick on her foot on a transition attempt, but Lallier tallied her only save of the night by coming off her line and corralling the ball. Alabama would respond, playing a ball over the top to Gianna Paul, who launched a shot from 25 yards out which rang off the crossbar. The Cats held strong in the final minutes, not allowing another chance for the Crimson Tide and preserving the 2-1 win.
Kentucky will return to action on Thursday, Oct. 5 with a road match against the Tennessee Volunteers. The border battle will commence at 7 p.m. at Regal Soccer Stadium and will be broadcast live on the SEC Network+.