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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Kentucky advances with 2-1 win over Auburn

2800 days ago
Sean Cartell | SEC
Photo: Jim Burgess

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Third-seeded Kentucky scored a pair of goals in the match's first 13 minutes and held on for a 2-1 win against sixth-seeded Auburn on Wednesday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Quarterfinals at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.

The 20th-ranked Wildcats (14-5) were quick out of the gates, scoring on an Auburn own goal in the ninth minute before Courtney Raetzman found Kelli Hubly for her second goal of the season fewer than four minutes later.

"It was the key to the game in the end," Kentucky head coach Jon Lipsitz said. "We could tell we were ready to play and we trained really well leading up to it, so I wasn't surprised that we did well. But then we lost the rhythm and we just never got it back. It was a really interesting game. That's a tribute to [Auburn head coach] Karen [Hoppa] and her staff. If you look over time, I don't think anyone has done what Auburn has done here. For us to get a victory over them here at Orange Beach is a great moment for our program."

Kentucky outshot Auburn 12-9 in the match. Auburn goalkeeper Alyse Scott came up with five saves, while Kentucky's Taylor Braun had three saves.

"I didn't think we played well after about the first 20 minutes and I thought the second half was about as poorly as we've played in a long, long time," Lipsitz said. "That's because of Auburn; the pressure they were putting on us was really intense. We knew it was going to be and I thought they were fantastic and they made it difficult for us."

Auburn (11-6-3) responded with Courtney Schell's fourth goal of the season from long range in the 65th minute to cut its deficit to one, 2-1. The Tigers controlled the pace for much of the second half but were unable to connect on a match-tying goal.

"Obviously we had a really slow start and Kentucky came out flying," Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa said. "We gave up two goals that were uncharacteristic for us, but I was really pleased with how my team responded. I thought after the first 15 minutes, we started solving their pressure and I thought we really dominated the match. In the second half, we had them pinned in and on their heels and we were unfortunate not to get the second goal."

Kentucky advances to play 10th-seeded Tennessee at 6 p.m. CT Friday on the SEC Network in the SEC Soccer Tournament Semifinals. It is the first SEC Soccer Tournament Semifinal appearance for the Wildcats since 2006.

"They are incredibly driven right now and relentless," Lipsitz said of Tennessee. "I watched them play Florida and I was really, really impressed by their play and just gutting it out and finding a way. A lot of times, when you get to the end of the year, it really comes down to a decision that your kids have to make. They've made that decision and it's very clear that [Tennessee head coach] Brian [Pensky] and his staff have them ready, so we know it's going to be as difficult of a game as we've played all year."