Kentucky Exhibition game

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Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by purple passion on Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:34 am

From Chris Henderson at AWK:

NCAA – AWK’s 2014 SEC Preview

Projections are based on a system incorporating returning starters, returning top players, and recruiting class rankings. Ties broken with recruiting class rankings. Projections are not necessarily how Chris feels the league will finish when all is said and done.

Systemized League Projection:

*1. Florida – 47
*2. Texas A&M – 46
*3. Kentucky – 31
*4. South Carolina – 28
*5. LSU – 26
6. Georgia – 18
7. Arkansas – 16
8. Auburn – 16
9. Tennessee – 15
10. Missouri – 15
11. Alabama – 14
12. Ole Miss – 12
13. Vanderbilt – 11
14. Mississippi State – 5

* = Projected NCAA Tournament Teams

Kentucky’s season has ended in punishing fashion to UCLA the past two seasons, and the Wildcats will likely be hoping to avoid a third encounter with the Bruins despite what looks to be Jon Lipsitz’s best side on paper in his tenure here. That doesn’t separate them from the vast majority of the sides in Division I this season, but the talent on display in Lexington could well divide them from the chaff in 2014. With Arin Gilliland having just one season left with the club, UK will certainly be under pressure to make the most of the presence of their transcendent star.

Though her club and international future likely lies at left-back after this season, Gilliland will unquestionably be leading the dance from the front this year. A twelve goal return last season underlines her importance to the attack, though achieving that in ninety-six shots perhaps shows the limits of her cutting edge up top. Sophomores Zoe Swift and Micaela Dooley, a transfer from San Diego, figure to be Gilliland’s running mates up top. Swift was talented but inconsistent as a rookie, while Dooley will have to show her ability to survive in the wars in the trenches of the SEC, a much more physically punishing league than the WCC. Beyond them up top is largely a litany of questions, making the arrival of Kelly Novak, a terror in the USYS National Championship in 2012, a welcome one.

The midfield will be banking on the healthy return of Stuart Pope, one of the league’s revelations until an ACL injury cut her down late in the season. It was an unfortunate end to a season which had seen her hit double figures while also adding seven assists. A healthy Pope could lead to a torrent of goals from Wildcat offense. Otherwise, the Wildcats could resemble a broken team, with little in the way of a connective force between defense and attack. Junior Courtney Raetzman is undersized for a defensive midfielder but not afraid of the rough stuff, a fact that cost her most of last season through injury. The other returnees in the middle of the park are largely water carriers at this level.

The questions are mostly in defense. The club mostly made do after injuries to the backline going into 2013 and finished solidly in mid-pack after shipping sixteen in eleven league games. Cara Ledman proved a quick study after being converted to left-back from forward and could prove the club’s best asset on a backline that hardly reinforced itself in the offseason. The slew of converts should be more comfortable with another year of experience, but the lack of proven star power will probably keep the club from contending from silverware in the end. The goalkeeping situation is even more worrisome. Returnee Ayanna Parker played less than a full half of soccer as a rookie and may play second fiddle to freshman Taylor Braun. Braun comes in with modest accolades but a great pedigree from the Dallas Texans club. She or Parker will have to perform beyond their years for UK to continue to make progress forward.

The non-conference slate is a mixed bag. Louisville look unlikely to match last year’s feats, while Washington and Pepperdine may need to have big bounces back if UK is to get a hopeful RPI bump with a win. The rest are likely flotsam in the grand scheme of things, wit the home opener against Francis Marion a potential RPI anchor when all is said and done. After a tough opening draw at Arkansas, the schedule eases up before a brutal five game stretch featuring four of the league’s best. Georgia and Alabama are the type of club UK should be beating at this stage though, so a possible late flourish isn’t out of the question. One NCAA Tournament win should be the minimum, and anything less than two may be seen as a disappointment given the sheer talent of Gilliland at the top of the marquee. If anything, the bracketing gods owe UK a little rub of the green, and it’s not difficult to envision a program best season if those breaks go their way.
(end of AWK)
Beginning of my comment: I think this will be a fun event with a real good chance to see what the Freshman Pilots can do...especially in goal.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:43 pm

7:00 pm at Merlo Field, be there!  For some reason, I'm a lot more excited for the season to begin than I was last year.

GO PILOTS!

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by My2cents on Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:01 pm

This team is mostly made up of sophomores and freshmen. Will be interesting to see how good the freshmen are and how many will earn a starting role. Eager to see Very Happy  who will replace Frisbee at center back.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by Harry Redknapp on Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:34 am

More questions than answers after last night.

Pilots started in what looked like a 4-2-3-1, with freshman Taylor Luty in goal. Ariel Viera and Ellie Boon outside defenders with Lorielle McKluskie and Devlyn Jeter at center defense. So something of a surprise with DJ. The two holding mids were Parkes Kendrick and freshman Kaycie Young. Danica Evans, Alison Wetherington and Emily Sippell played in front if them and behind the sole forward Rebekah Kurle!

This was an exhibition game so Garrett made lots of substitutions and everyone on the roster except Hanna de Haan played. Pilots stayed with 4-2-3-1 in the first half but switched to 4-4-2 in the second. Impossible to keep track of who played where because there was a lot of changing.

All of the team played significant minutes. With all the changes it was hard to get much of a clear impression of the new players. Taylor Luty had a good debut in goal. She made a couple of very important saves and generally looked confident and solid. She's probably not happy with coming out and not getting to the cross on the second goal but that was the only possible mistake she made, which was very impressive for the first game of her career. Of the outfield freshmen Kaycie Young seemed to be the most reliable and consistent.

It's obviously early days for this season and this is a young team.

The 4-2-3-1 is very popular in Europe these days. And it takes some getting used to. Pilots struggled. Seemed to lack width. They seemed not to use the whole field last night. Outside defenders not getting forward like we are used to. And middle three not sure of their defensive responsibilities.

Kentucky looked good. They were quicker and stronger than Pilots. They used the whole field better. Their passing was crisper. Pilots passing was untypically tentative.

Pilots seemed to be missing on field leaders. Kurle playing forward meant she was figuring out her game and not in the midst of things. Only three of the starters are juniors/seniors. It will be interesting to see if any of the first and second year players can step up this year to lead the team and run the games. I'm thinking if the presence that players like Amanda Frisbie, Keelin Winters, Lisa Sari brought.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by purple haze on Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:52 am

Kentucky came to play and deserved the 3-1 road win. The Wildcats played with skill, physicality and experience, consistently launching dangerous attacks. Pope and Gilliland were impressive on the attack.

Pilots held possession well in the first half but that didn't translate into shots on goal. The offense looked anemic. Sippel's energy and hustle in stealing the ball from a defender led to the Pilots' lone score, which made it a game again at 2-1 with enough time left to equalize, but Kentucky stormed right back for a too-easy score to put it out of reach.

It was a gorgeous evening at Merlo, the first of many more for a season that starts with a big question mark about how the young Pilots will gel. Big tests against top teams come early.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by DoubleDipper on Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:23 am

Harry Redknapp wrote:This was an exhibition game so Garrett made lots of substitutions and everyone on the roster except Hanna de Haan played.
It is my understanding that Hanna has not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA....not because there is an eligibility problem, but because the NCAA Eligibility Center has failed to act in a timely matter to clear her.  scratch

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by Geezaldinho on Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:29 am

Wouldn't be the first time.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by Dan No Yell on Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:04 pm

Really enjoyed the game last night, despite the score.
Liked seeing Jeter and DeGrood (never at the same time) on the back line.
Liked all the freshmen.
Luty I am going to like a lot. Her kicks are line drives with distance.
Jess Kennedy added a great spark, Young and Dieker were other stand outs.

Defense was a low point last night. We need to put pressure on the ball and mark attackers. We also got beat by UK's speed, repeatedly.

I think this is a great freshman class.
2 road games against top teams, then Standford will toughen them up.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by My2cents on Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:53 pm

I, too, liked what I saw with the freshmen. Went back and watched the replay video focusing my attention on the freshmen.

Saw some good things with Luty. She made some really good saves. She has a great kick and her drop kick travels a good 10 to 20 yards past the center line. Great weapon!  

Young, for her first game, was steady in her on field play. Her passes were right where she wanted them to be.  Didn't notice a bad pass on her part. Never saw her lose or have a ball taken away from her.  Defensively, other then the one play early in the game where she got turned around letting a player get around her and serve a ball into the box that could have lead to a score, she covered very well.

I liked it when Kennedy and Dieker entered the game. Dieker could be the kind of player, that just has an instinct about being in the right place for an open shot. They both brought a lot of energy and a new style of play. I expect we'll see both get plenty of playing time and will be an impact on the team.

I, however, was a little disappointed with the play of
some of the veterans. Too many poor passes. Some were right to an opposing player. Lack of patience. Too many rushed passes. Just things you wouldn't expect from experienced players.

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Re: Kentucky Exhibition game

Post by gxm on Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:29 pm

Overall, I liked what I saw last night. I especially liked the play of Dieker, and I can see Luty growing into her role.
My biggest question last night was seeing Kurle as a forward. I love her as an AM or DM. Forward doesn't seem like a great fit for her skills and style.

As an aside, I saw Kurle, Luty, Boon and another pilot (didn't recognize her) walking back from the Thorns game today. Kurle drove them home Smile

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