LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 25 University of Kentucky women’s soccer team scored three unanswered goals in the 64th, 72nd and 74th minutes to cap off a 3-1 comeback win over the LSU Tigers on Senior Day at the UK Soccer Complex.
“We talk a lot here about wanting pressure,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “You want pressure. Let me tell you, if you lose all your games, you don’t have any pressure. We’re in a situation now where we’re fighting for an NCAA bid and a place in the SEC Tournament. There is pressure on us. That’s what we want. We want players that love that, and we all know nobody loves that moment more than Arin Gilliland. She’s our leader on the field.
“We do Senior Day a little bit differently here. It’s about our seniors being servant leaders and teaching our younger players that this is what we have to do to win. For them to lead us the way they did today and all have a huge impact on that was very special.”
LSU scored first in the match, charting the game-opening goal in the 51st minute as Rebecca Pongetti netted her second goal of the season, beating Kayla King far post for the early strike. Pongetti received the entry ball into the penalty area from Emma Fletcher, and then flung the ball far post for the goal.
Just 13 minutes later, Kentucky’s MAC Hermann Award finalist Arin Gilliland struck in the 64th minute for the equalizer on a counterattack that started from the center circle. Gilliland got the ball on a near-side run from senior Caitlin Landis, who then flicked it once possessing it to Gilliland down the left side. Gilliland then cut central and rifled a right-footed shot past a diving Megan Kinneman for the equalizer.
Eight minutes after UK equalized, the Wildcats scored their first set-piece goal of the season in the 72nd minute to gain the late lead, 2-1. Kaitlin Miller recorded her first point of the season, as she launched in the set piece service from 38 yards out and hit the crossbar on the initial service. The ball then caromed off a few players inside the box and the rebound was buried by Zoe Swift for her sixth goal of the season.
Just two minutes after, in the 74th minute, the Wildcats converted on another long-range set piece goal to give UK the 3-1 lead late in the match. Millerstruck for her second assist of the match, floating in a ball from the near-side flank about 35 yards from goal. Freshman midfielder Alex Carter got her boot on the end of the ball and flooded it into the back of the net for the two-goal advantage.
“When a game gets physical like that, you have a decision,” Lipsitz said. “Do you want to take it and let it effect your possession or do you want to tackle harder and win more balls. I thought we had a more physical presence, and therefore our possession was good. You have to have the ball first in order to possess it.”
LSU committed 20 fouls in the match, which led to Kentucky gaining a lot of setpiece opportunities. Kentucky outshot LSU 18-9 and had more corner kicks than the Tigers by a 6-2 margin.
With the win, Kentucky clinched a first-round bye in the 2013 SEC Tournament andwill play sometime Wednesday afternoon.
Kentucky concludes the regular season at No. 15 South Carolina on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. ET in Columbia, S.C.