October 3, 2004
“We talked this weekend about creating your own luck,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “We matched up evenly with them and went at it. We started using the space that we had and found the net today.”
Kentucky came out strong to start off the half with a few good chances, but Auburn goalkeeper Megan Rivera came up with the saves. Just 12:45 into the game, Tiger defender Ashely Eason blocked a shot off a corner kick that nearly made it into the Auburn goal, keeping the game at 0-0.
Just over two minutes later, however, Auburn gained momentum, and the match lead as Chrissy Culver took a shot that was blocked by Kentucky goalkeeper Liz Butler. The shot continued to roll past Butler and into the goal at the 15:00 mark.
At the 20:00 mark, Kentucky head coach Warren Lipka was given a red card and ejected from the remainder of the game.
Sophomore Kristin Stewart earned her first goal of the season with 9:09 left in the half, giving Auburn the 2-0 lead. Forward Jac Schwarz dribbled the ball down the middle and sent a perfect pass to Stewart, who was attempting to beat a defender down the right side. Stewart picked up the pass and sent a long shot past Butler, who had come out to challenge the shot.
“This is where my mom’s family is from so they all came out and it was great to have them here,” Stewart said. “We have been talking about finding the gaps and I found Jac and she sent the perfect pass right back to me. I had to take the shot on that one. We have found that it is all about composure and finishing your chances.”
At the conclusion of the first, Auburn edged the Wildcats 7-6 in shots and Kentucky had three corner kicks to Auburn’s one.
In the second half, Kentucky again came out strong, but the Auburn defense kept the Wildcats out of the game. The Tigers put the game away at the 73:32 mark when Courtney Crandell sent a long shot over the head of Butler for the 3-0 lead. Crandell took a pass from Sarah Steinmann, who found the open field for Crandell, and earned her second goal of the season.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Auburn survived a Kentucky chance, that would have nullified the shutout as Elisabeth Jones appeared to cross the ball, but it went over Rivera’s head and hit the post before it was cleared.
Auburn’s three goals on the day are the most since the Tigers’ 3-0 win at Samford on Sept. 2. Auburn goalkeeper Megan Rivera picked up her fifth shutout of the season, adding to her career total of 31.
The Tigers will return home Friday and Sunday for matches with Mississippi State and Ole Miss respectively.