For the second year in a row, UCLA simply brought too much firepower for the University of Kentucky women's soccer team to handle.
The result was a 3-0 defeat in Los Angeles late Friday night that ended another strong Wildcats season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
UCLA (19-1-2) put the pressure on Kentucky (14-7-1) early on a goal by junior defender Caprice Dydasco in the fourth minute. Dydasco got the ball wide from goal about 30 yards out and fired a rifle high to the far post past a diving Kayla King.
The second-ranked Bruins tacked on two more goals in the second half -- including another by Dydasco -- to block the Wildcats' path to their first NCAA Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. UCLA beat Kentucky 5-0 last season in San Diego, outshooting the Cats 22-4. This time UCLA outgunned Kentucky 20-5.
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"We talked about it at halftime and said we need to put this game away," said UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. "It took a little bit longer to put the nail in the coffin, so to speak, but Caprice had a fabulous game."
Kentucky was playing in front of Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, who caught a flight west to watch the match.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks to Mitch Barnhart," Kentucky Coach Jon Lipsitz said. "I don’t think there is another AD in the country who would travel this way to support these student-athletes knowing he has to be in Georgia for a football game tomorrow. That just shows the unbelievable dedication and support that he and the UK athletic department has for all 22 sports and the passion that he has for this university.” After their early goal, the Bruins continued to pressure Kentucky in the first half, outshooting the Wildcats, 12-2 in the period, with a few near misses and saved shots preventing UCLA from extending its lead. Jenna Richmond missed just wide in the seventh minute, and Sam Mewis had a shot saved on a counter-attack in the 10th minute. The Bruins had two chances in the 24th minute. Abby Dahlkemper headed a free kick toward goal, but it was saved by King. The rebound kicked out to Mewis on the left side, but her shot was cleared off the line by a Wildcats defender.
King continued to make big plays for the Wildcats in the beginning of the second half. In the 47th minute, she made a huge one-handed save on a Mewis shot, and then had saves on three consecutive UCLA shots in a three-minute span.
The Bruins broke through with an insurance goal at 70:14 when Courtney Proctor beat King with a shot to the far post from the right side.
Kentucky challenged in the 78th minute with a free kick at the top of the box, but Arin Gilliland's kick was blocked, and the resulting shot off the corner kick went wide.
Dydasco put the game away at 80:09 with her second goal of the game, a one-timer on a cross from Proctor to the far post to give UCLA a 3-0 lead.
“Congratulations to a well-coached UCLA team that beat us tonight,” Lipsitz said. “They are a fantastic team who we expect to go far in the tournament. ... This was a game where we knew certain details had to go our way. Giving up an early goal changed the game, but we are extremely proud of our effort and what we wanted to accomplish this season. I can’t wait to start preparing for 2014 because the potential of the future of this program is so exciting."
The 2013 season was another for the record books under Lipsitz, as Kentucky won 14 matches and finished in the top five of the Southeastern Conference for the second year in a row. The senior class of Kayla King, Danielle Krohn, Kacie Kumar, Caitlin Landis and Ashley VanLandingham combined for 51 wins in the last four years, making it the second-winningest class in UK women’s soccer history and only the second class to win 10-plus matches all four years.
UCLA moves on to the NCAA Sweet 16, where it will play Pacific-12 rival Stanford. The Cardinal beat South Carolina 1-0 Friday to set up Sunday's match in Los Angeles.