TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Kentucky women’s soccer team found itself three goals down in less than a half hour, but fought back with three goals in 13 minutes to make it a close contest in the second half. After each side scored in the second half, Alabama walked away with a 4-3 win over UK on Thursday night in Tuscaloosa.
Senior forward Tanya Samarzich scored the first two Kentucky goals of the match in the 43rd and 45th minutes, both off of corner kicks, one each side to pull the Wildcats to within 3-2 at the intermission. The two goals scored by Samarzich are the first in her comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Alabama got a 3-0 lead in 26 minutes with goals by Christina Maartensso, Casey Wertz and Taylor Morgan.
In the start of the second half, Alabama scored against the run of play – which Kentucky had full control of until the goal off a goal kick that was gutted through the UK defense and then placed past Payton Woodward to reinstate the Tide’s two-goal lead.
Just 47 seconds later, Kentucky would strike and pull within a goal yet again, as Gretchen Mills scored the goal of the season for the Wildcats on 55 minutes. Mills got the ball on the left flank, took a touch to shake an oncoming defender and then beat the keeper into the upper 90 far post with pace from 23 yards out for her first-career goal.
Eva Mitchell was served a great ball from a central area by Samarzich in the 70th minute and was 1v1 inside the box with the keeper, but missed the conversion to equalize as Alabama keeper Alex Pavin came up with the biggest of her four saves on the night.
Kentucky outshot the Tide 9-7 in the second half and had three corner kicks in the match, scoring on two of them. There were 30 fouls in the match, 15 assessed to each side.
Woodward made a career-high six saves in the match, including two critical saves in the 72nd and 84th minutes to keep Kentucky in the match late, down just a goal.
UK will look ahead to a Sunday match against No. 6 Texas A&M at the Bell Soccer Complex. Kick-off is slated for 2 p.m. ET and it is Kentucky’s annual Kick-Cancer Match.
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s soccer team, follow @UKWomensSoccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.