The Kentucky women’s soccer team heads into its annual Battle of the Bluegrass against Louisville at home Friday coming off its first overtime win in more than three years and with one of the youngest starting lineups in the Southeastern Conference.
West Jessamine star Eva Mitchell has been among the freshmen making an impact, switching from a defensive midfield role in the Cats’ two losses to forward in UK’s two wins.
Mitchell, who helped lead the Colts to their first state title last year, has a goal and two assists for the Cats and has started every game for first-year head coach Ian Carry.
Mitchell got the assist on senior Tanya Samarzich’s game-winning golden goal in overtime Sunday against Wyoming.
Kentucky (2-2) has won the last six meetings against the Cardinals, coming from a goal down for a 2-1 win in Louisville last year. Carry, who served as a UK assistant for the past four seasons before being named head coach, knows the rivalry well.
“They (the players) know what the history is. They know what the stories are. They know all about the games, the wins, the losses, the ties, the atmosphere,” Carry said. “Playing Louisville here at the Bell with a full house, it will be exciting. I’m expecting a really good game.”
Louisville (3-1) is coming off a 2-0 loss at home to Marquette, a team that beat the visiting Cats 2-1 on Aug. 20.
“Every game with this group of young women that we’ve got now is a huge game,” Carry said at a recent practice. “Our emphasis is not going to be any different, regardless of who we play against. ... It’s one of those things, regardless of what the results have been in the past, it’s always been a close game.”
Louisville at Kentucky
When: 7:30 p.m.
Records: UK 2-2; U of L 3-1
Live video broadcast: SEC Network Plus (online only)