LEXINGTON, Ky. – A golden goal off the boot of freshman Kelli Hubly in the 93rd minute propelled Kentucky (14-6-1) past Tennesse Martin 1-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Championship. It is the first NCAA tournament win in the program’s history.
“This is a really special moment for this program,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “One of the things that I talk about a lot is leaving a legacy and doing special things while you are here.
“I was brought here four years ago to make it to this moment. This is why I was hired. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Mitch Barnhart having the confidence in me to allow me to have honor to be the head coach here,” Lipsitz said.
The golden goal came off a near-side run down the right wing as the ball was served out wide by sophomore Arin Gilliland from the center of the field. Hubly was one-on-one on with UT-Martin goalkeeper Mariah Klenke and ripped a shot for the game-winner into the far post after cutting back towards the field of play.
The goal was Hubly’s sixth of the season, while Gilliland charted her seventh assist of the season. It is Hubly’s third game-winning goal in 2012, tying her with Gilliland for most on the team.
“I didn’t think it was real life,” Hubly said. “When I got the ball I was like ‘What do I do?’. Every day in practice we work on those. We worked on them [Friday morning] because I wasn’t getting them right. It was really exciting with the whole dog pile and everything. I was just screaming. It is a great feeling.”
The win against the Skyhawks (13-6-3) breaks an 0-7-1 mark in NCAA tournament games.
Kentucky played good possession soccer for most of the game, not allowing UT-Martin to record a shot in the final 56 minutes of the game. Kentucky outshot UTM 15-3 with seven of Kentucky’s 15 shots being on target.
Kayla King was only forced to make one save in the contest, shutting out her sixth opponent of the season, and improving her record to 13-3-0. King has now posted a shutout in five of the last seven games between the pipes.
The Wildcats move on to the second round on Friday to play against the winner between UCLA and Wisconsin.