#28 Kentucky Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats

Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #4 SEC
Kentucky Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Kentucky Team Page


Kentucky reached the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2006. They fell at home to a scrappy Washington State team in penalties. With a huge chunk of Coach Jon Lipsitz’s team returning, the Wildcats have higher hopes than just making the NCAA Tournament again in 2012. And they have the talent to win a game or two in November.

2011 Record: 13-7-1, 6-5-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jon Lipsitz

Besides a few lapses, which mostly came against ranked SEC teams on the road, the Wildcats defense was pretty good in 2011. Seven of the 26 goals they allowed all season came in two games at Auburn and Florida. Other than that, Kentucky held pretty firmly against some very quality competition. With the return of Arin Gilliland, an All-Freshman honoree a year ago, the defense should be improved. Kacie Kumar, Alyssa Telang and Ashley VanLandingham are also back to claim their starting spots in the back line. The addition of freshmen Olivia Jester and Courtney Kobashigawa, who are ranked as the 13th and 14th best defenders in the class of 2012 by College Sports Madness, the defense is loaded with talent. Keeper Kayla Price stepped right into the starting lineup as a freshman last season. And she started off on a high note by recording a shutout against Oakland in her first collegiate game. From there things kept going pretty smoothly for the 5-6 Lexington native, although she would only add five more shutouts to her season total. A year of experience under her belt will only make the overall defense that much better and Price will continue to emerge as a leader of this team.

The loss of striker Kelsey Hunyadi is huge. Not only was she a great goal scorer, but she also set up many of the goals she did not score. Hunyadi tallied 14 goals and ten assists during her senior season and it is highly unlikely that anyone will come close to replacing those numbers. But, of course, there are options. Caitlin Landis netted six goals during her sophomore season and could step into a leadership role up front. Natalie Horner is a big 5-9 senior who is also a dangerous scorer. Molly Huber mostly came in off of the bench as a freshman, but she scored a couple goals and is ready for an increased role as a sophomore. Add 5-9 freshman Kelli Hubly to the list and Coach Lipsitz has plenty of options. But scoring goals is just one part of attempting to replace Hunyadi. After her team high ten assists, four players tied for second on the team with two apiece. So who is going to set up those strikers? Danielle Krohn is one option and the best returning playmaker in the midfield. The rest of the midfield is pretty inexperienced. Kentucky may need to move a freshman like Jester into the midfield, but a large chunk of the rest of the freshmen are midfielders as well. Courtney Raetzman, a speedy 5-0 Illinois native, may be the best of the bunch and is certainly a player to keep an eye on this season.

Final Projection:
Kentucky’s defense will be better this year and that alone will win them some games. However, the obvious issue is replacing Hunyadi and it may take a little time. This is still a relatively young team despite only losing a couple of starters from last year’s NCAA squad. Those young players that performed so well last season as mostly complimentary players will need to step into a starring role. The good news for now and the future is that Coach Lipsitz brought in a superb recruiting class. The roster is full of talent and potential playmakers. They had to take a backseat to Hunyadi last season, but a few will step up and lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Caitlin Landis, Junior, F, 6
Assists: Natalie Horner, Senior, F, 2; Molly Huber, Sophomore, F, 2; Danielle Krohn, Junior, M, 2; Caitlin Landis, Junior, F, 2;
Shots: Caitlin Landis, Junior, F, 57
Saves: Kayla Price, Sophomore, GK, 81

Madness 2012 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#39 Kelli Hubly
#44 Courtney Raetzman
#53 Olivia Jester
#60 Courtney Kobashigawa
#93 Kylie Morgan