Following a 3-3 tie in double overtime against Samford last Sunday, Auburn (4-3-1, 1-0-0 SEC) kicked off SEC play against the Kentucky Wildcats (5-2-2, 0-1-0 SEC) Thursday night. This time however, the Tigers did not settle for a draw. Midway through the second overtime, Hailey Whitaker scored the game-winning goal to defeat the Wildcats in dramatic fashion, 2-1.
Seventeen different Tigers got on the field, including four who played all 105 minutes. Getting a big win on the road, early in the season no less, was the key for Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa.
“Any road win in this league is really hard to come by,” Hoppa said. “I was super proud of the team and perseverance they showed. We grew into the game and got better and better as the game went on.”
Similar to the Samford game, things weren’t all smooth sailing for the Tigers. Four minutes into the game, the Wildcats went up 1-0 with a goal off of the corner kick from Hannah Richardson.
“I think the Samford game taught us that we could battle back,” Hoppa said. “It’s a testament to our character, and that’s something we’re going to have to build on as we grow into SEC play.”
With under 10 minutes remaining, Tigers' senior Jessie Gerow scored her third goal of the season after receiving a free kick from Bri Folds. Gerow was able to put a header into the back of the net to tie the game. Gerow also went on to assist Whitaker’s game-winning goal in the second overtime.
After a scoreless first overtime, Whitaker was able to score her second game-winning goal of the season, and the third of her career. The goal came after Whitaker ran down a headed flick from Gerow and hit a right-footed strike that bent inside the left post to secure the Tigers win. The goal was assisted by Gerow and Olivia Dedels, which marked Dedels’ first point of her career.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“It was really exciting,” Whitaker said. “We really faced adversity, so we just had to grit it out, work our hardest and put our best effort in. That’s what we did in the second half, and it showed.”
“Hailey is a goal scorer,” Hoppa said. “Goal scorers have to show up in big moments, and Hailey did that in overtime.”
The Tigers outshot the Wildcats 12-10, with both teams putting up three shots on frame.
Next, Auburn will travel to Old Dominion to wrap up non-conference play on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. CST.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman