Early offense and strong defense paved the way for Auburn against the Kentucky Wildcats Sunday afternoon, as the Tigers netted a trio of goals and rode their defense to a 3-0 shutout victory.
After a long double-overtime match against Tennessee on Friday night, the Tigers needed to get off to a hot start against a lethal Kentucky squad.
“We knew we had to jump on [Kentucky] quick," Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa said. "They are young and we knew if we came out fast we could get the win.”
The Tigers did not take long to begin their success against the Cats with a deep goal by forward Bri Folds in the second minute to grab a 1-0 lead.
Just 11 minutes later, senior forward Kristen Dodson netted the first of her two goals with a near post finish in the 13th minute to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
“It was very important to go fast from the beginning to keep up the momentum,” Dodson said.
In the 24th minute, Dodson connected again on an unassisted chip over the goalie to get her second goal of the afternoon, bringing her total to five on the season.
With the offense shining early, the defense did their job and smothered Kentucky throughout the match. The Tigers only gave up one shot on goal and that did not come until late in the second half when the game was well under wraps for Auburn.
Auburn moves to 2-0-1 in the SEC with the win and continues to build momentum while moving into the the gauntlet of the SEC schedule. However, the Tigers know they still have a lot of soccer to play.
“This is a great win and a great way to build momentum, but we still have a lot of soccer still to play,” Hoppa said. "Any time you can put away a SEC team in the first half and hold them to one shot on goal, it is a great performance. I thought our team defending was outstanding. It was a complete team performance.”
Auburn will next take on Mississippi State on Friday, Sept. 29 in Starkville, Mississippi at 7 p.m. CT.