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Rhodes, Josephson lead Kentucky to Senior Day win

175 days ago
Kentucky Athletics
Photo: Kentucky Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Jordyn Rhodes continued her march toward history, while Marz Josephson collected her second-straight shutout as Kentucky (4-0-1, 0-0-0 SEC) knocked off Illinois (3-1-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) on a Sunday Senior Day at the Bell Soccer Complex.

The win was Kentucky's third-straight victory over a Power-Five opponent in non-conference play, a streak which began with wins over Purdue and Iowa State last season. It marks the first time the Wildcats have beaten three consecutive power-five opponents outside of the SEC since the 2013 season.

Rhodes scored for the fifth consecutive game, extending her career long goal streak and putting the graduate-student at 42 goals all-time, just two shy of Kim LaBelle's program record. Josephson, meanwhile, posted her third shutout of the season in goal, making a career-high seven saves in the contest. The UNC graduate-transfer was particularly crucial in the game's early stages, totaling four saves in the first 16 minutes of play as the Illini made an early push.

The match's lone goal came in the 27th minute of action when freshman Tanner Strickland carried into the offensive zone before finding Úlfa Úlfarsdóttir on the left wing. Úlfarsdóttir was able to create space and cross a left-footed pass into the box for Rhodes, who gathered while spinning to her right and poked the ball past the Illinois keeper while falling to the turf. Úlfarsdóttir and Strickland were each credited with their second assists of 2023 on the goal.

UK nearly extended its lead on multiple occasions during the second half of play. The Cats' best opportunity came in the 68th minute after Rhodes dribbled past her defender for a clean look on goal that was saved by Illinois keeper, Julia Cili. The rebound popped out to Úlfarsdóttir who also took a crack, but Cili again made the save, keeping Kentucky's lead at one.

Despite being unable to grow the advantage, Kentucky was able to preserve its lead, effectively draining the clock in the latter stages of play. Shots on goal for the match favored the Illini, 7-6, while each team had four corners.

Kentucky improves to 2-0-0 against Illinois all-time. The Wildcats close their four-match homestand this Thursday when they host Belmont at 7:30 p.m. The action can be seen live on SECN+.