ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — The University of Kentucky women's soccer team picked up its first Southeastern Conference Tournament win under head coach Jon Lipsitz on Wednesday afternoon, downing the Auburn Tigers, 2-1 at the Orange Beach SportsPlex to advance into Friday's semifinal round.
Kentucky, the No. 3 seed in the tournament advances to play No. 10-seeded Tennessee in the semifinals on Friday. Tennessee upset second-seeded Florida, advancing in penalty kicks 4-3 over the Gators earlier Wednesday.
"We didn't play our best soccer tonight, but it feels good to win a game in this tournament that we respect so much," Lipsitz said. "I thought we came out and played very well, and then Auburn took over and really pressed us. We know we have a lot of work to do to move on in this tournament. I'm proud of our girls for willing themselves to win."
Kentucky's two goals came early in the match. The first UK score came on an own goal in the ninth minute. Cara Ledman won the ball on a steal from the wide left side of the pitch, cut across back into the middle of the field and served a ball from about 22 yards out into the penalty area. A deflection off a Tiger defender put the ball in the back of the net.
Just four minutes later, UK would double its lead as Kelli Hubly got the ball along the left wing from Courtney Raetzman in midfield and then slotted a shot to the near post from the top of the box past Auburn goalkeeper Alyse Scott. It was Hubly's second goal of the season.
Auburn pulled a goal back in the 65th minute on a long-range shot from Courtney Schell, who scored her fourth goal of the season.
Auburn put the Cats under pressure for the rest of the afternoon, but could not muster an equalizer.
Kentucky ended up outshooting the Tigers 12-9, with Taylor Braun making three saves on the four Auburn shots on goal.
Tennessee 1, Florida 1 (Vols win 5-4 on penalty kicks): Tenth-seeded Tennessee (10-9-2) scored a goal less than three minutes into the match and outlasted second-seeded Florida (14-4-1).
"Our players, right now, their confidence is growing and it's massive, right now," Tennessee Coach Brian Pensky said. "They just believe and that's why we won."
The Volunteers got on the board in the third minute when Hannah Wilkinson found Cheyenne Spade for her fifth goal of the season. Florida answered right before halftime with Annie Speese's third goal of the season to knot the score 1-1 headed into intermission.
After two full overtimes, the two squads went to penalty kicks. It was Tennessee's Spade who knocked in the deciding kick to allow the Volunteers to advance 5-4.
For the match, Florida outshot Tennessee 18-9. UF's Savannah Jordan and Tennessee's Wilkinson had four shots apiece.
Texas A&M 3, Georgia 0: Top-seeded Texas A&M (16-6-2) scored a goal early in each half and cruised over Georgia (10-7-2) Wednesday.
The Aggies, who were presented with the 2014 SEC regular-season trophy prior to the match, out-shot the Bulldogs 16-5.
"I thought it was a well-played game," Texas A&M head coach G. Guerrieri said. "We had some great goals. All three of our goals were high, high class."
Texas A&M got on the board in sixth minute when Annie Kunz fed Bianca Brinson on a breakaway. Out of the locker room, Kunz scored her sixth goal of the season in the 46th minute. The Aggies iced the match when a Meghan Streight header gave Texas A&M its third goal of the night in the 61st minute.
South Carolina 2, Missouri 1: The Gamecocks scored early in the first and second halves and fended off a late push by the Tigers.
Stevi Parker scored her third goal of the season off an assist from Chelsea Drennan in the 24th minute. Sophie Groff found the net in the 57th minute for a 2-0 lead. Missouri's Alli Magaletta broke the shutout in the 87th minute.