Soccer: Rodgers’ return a nightmare as Wildcats ease past Bobcats

The Ohio Bobcats had a strong idea of what the Kentucky Wildcats were going to do on Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats were going to attack the Bobcats from the first minute of the game to the last, and the main question facing Ohio was: could the team find a way to stop Kentucky’s offense and create chances on the counterattack?

Ohio became the second school to play at Kentucky’s new Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex, but it was also the second school to leave the stadium with a loss.

Only one team created a significant amount of chances Sunday, and that team was Kentucky. The Wildcats scored an early goal and added two others late in the game as they defeated the Ohio Bobcats, 3-0.

Ohio goalkeeper Nicole Amari was counted on to make big saves during the game, and she was kept busy from the beginning of the game. Michaela Dooley had the first chance of the game for Kentucky, but Amari made the necessary save.

Two more Amari saves and nine minutes later, Kentucky took the lead. Cara Ledman’s shot was saved by Amari, then Dooley unleashed another shot that was also saved by Amari. At the third time of asking, Jade Klump scored her second goal of the season from close range to give Kentucky a 1-0 lead.

Kentucky (3-1-0) continued to put players forward to score a second goal. Arin Gilliland and Danielle Fitzgerald had chances to score, but none of the chances Kentucky created the rest of the first half troubled Amari.

For Ohio coach Aaron Rodgers, this game represented the first time he had coached against his former employers. Early in the second half, he saw Ohio (1-3-0) come extremely close to tying the game.

Carly Manso had enough space to take a shot at goal, but her shot went off the post.

From that moment forward, Kentucky dominated the remainder of the game. On 63 minutes, Kaitlin Miller hit a shot toward goal, but Amari made another save to keep Ohio in the game.

Seven minutes later, Kentucky finally doubled its lead. Gilliland hit another shot at Amari, who saved it, but Courtney Raetzman reacted the fastest as she scored off the rebound to give Kentucky a little more breathing room.

On 77 minutes, Kentucky added a third goal. Alex Carter hit a shot from the top of the penalty box past Amari’s right side.

Ohio will have time to regroup before it plays its next game. The Bobcats will host their first game of the season Friday against Xavier at 4 p.m.

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